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Tips On Getting To Your Healthy Weight

Your healthy weight is the natural weight you can reach through good eating, regular physical activity and managing stress. Reaching a specific weight is not as important as the lifestyle changes you make to become healthy.

Why maintain a healthy weight?

Weight is only one component of health. Even if you carry some extra weight, by eating right and getting plenty of physical activity, you'll feel better, have more energy, and reduce your risk of weight-related diseases.

Why is it so hard to lose weight?

While a diet helps you lose pounds quickly, following a restrictive diet long-term can be bad for your health. Once you stop dieting and exercising, the weight comes back. This puts you in an unhealthy cycle of losing and gaining weight, which is harder on the body than just being overweight.

It's also hard to overcome the roadblocks to weight loss such as, lack of time for exercise, family and work schedules, large portions at restaurants, holidays that have lots of food, and illness or injury.

A lifestyle change of healthy eating and regular physical activity will improve your health and quality of life, no matter what you weigh.

How do I do that?

Making small changes, such as being aware of your portion sizes, eating more fruits and vegetables, and adding a few more steps to your daily routine, can improvement your health.

Take a daily walk with family members, friends, coworkers, or pets. Keep track of your steps with a step counter or pedometer, which you can buy at Walmart. If you have a desk job, you'll see how little you actually move in a typical day. Wearing the step counter will motivate you to accumulate more steps during the day.

To be successful in your lifestyle changes:

  • Don't do the diet thing. Get rid of the idea that you'll go on a diet and quickly lose the weight. This approach almost always fails. Instead, create a plan to eat healthier.
  • Why and when do you eat? Do you overeat? If so, why? Are you bored, stressed, or sad? Do you rely on fast foods because you don't know how or don't like to cook or don't have the time to cook? Do you use food as a reward?
  • Slowly change the things you eat. Don't follow a particular diet. Instead, includes lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein such as chicken and fish. Some nutritionists suggest a method of filling your plate with one-half vegetables, one-fourth lean protein, and one-fourth whole grains. Or you could set a goal of eating at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. If you make small, reasonable changes, rather than depriving yourself of everything you love, you will be more successful.
  • Establish goals you can reach. Set small goals. Your goals should be specific, within your reach, and flexible enough to break once in a while. A goal to simply work out more and eat better is too general. Instead, make a plan to be active 3 to 4 times a week. For example, start with a goal to walk for 15 minutes three times a week, and then slowly increase it to 20 minutes 4 times a week. When you reach this goal and it has become routine, set a new one. But realize you may have setbacks now and then; it doesn't mean you've failed.
  • Make daily activity a part of your routine. Identify what keeps you from being active or exercising. Are you juggling a demanding job with raising kids? Maybe you can start a walking group at work during lunchtime. Ask your spouse to pick up the kids from day care or soccer practice one day a week so you can make time for physical activity.

How can I fit physical activity into my busy day?

Try to make physical activity a regular and essential part of your day, just like brushing your teeth or going to work. Start slowly and be sure to consult your doctor first if you aren't active at all. Consider scheduling your activity in the morning if you tend to talk yourself out of it later in the day.

Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Park far away and walk to your office or the grocery store. Make a plan to ride your bike to work once a week. Instead of e-mailing a coworker, get up and walk to his or her desk. If you don't have time to take one 30-minute walk, break it up into three 10-minute walks.

If you want a more structured way to get exercise, consider joining a health club or community center that offers fitness activities. Find an activity that you love and feel you can stick with, and then vary it with other activities so you don't get bored. For example, 3 days a week, take a brisk, 30-minute walk with a friend and then lift some weights together. On other days, take a water aerobics class, ride a bike, or take the dog for a hike. Join a softball, volleyball, or basketball league. The more you can find activities you like, the greater your chances for success.

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