Watch Your Weight
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 65 percent of US adults are overweight.
Maintaining a healthy weight is especially important if you have had any of the following:
- heart disease
- type 2 diabetes
- high blood pressure
- cancer of the uterus, gallbladder, kidney, stomach, breast, or colon
- a high total cholesterol level
If your weight is not in the healthy range for your height and build, the best way to lose weight is to set a reasonable goal and lose it slowly and gradually. Develop a healthy pattern of eating and exercising that you can follow for the rest of your life.
Follow these nutrition tips for maintaining a healthy weight:
- Remember - a calorie is a calorie. High-fat foods generally have more calories than foods that are high in carbohydrates or protein, but the truth is, the best way to lose weight is to eat fewer calories than you burn each day. While it is possible to eat a larger quantity of foods that are low in fat as long as they are also low in calories, be sure to check labels or read educational materials to make sure.
- Fruits, vegetables, and other foods that are low in fat and calories can also help reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, and cancer.
- Start your day off right by eating breakfast. Drink 100 percent fruit juice (canned, from a carton, or freshly squeezed) with breakfast, or take a can to drink at work. Spruce up your breakfast - a banana or handful of berries will liven up your cereal, yogurt, waffles, or pancakes. Take a piece of fruit to munch on during your commute.
- Use butter and margarine sparingly. Even better, switch to reduced-fat margarine or try jelly on your bread, bagels, and other baked goods.
- Use "lite" or low-fat dairy products (i.e., milk, cheese, yogurt, or sour cream). Use in recipes and/or drink 1% or skim milk. You will still get the nutrients and taste but not the fat.
- When you make or buy a salad, a little bit of salad dressing, about 1 tablespoon, goes a long way. Even better, use "lite" or fat-free salad dressing. The same principle applies when using condiments, a little mayonnaise is all you need. Or use the "lite" or fat-free kind.
- Choose the leanest cuts such as beef round, loin, sirloin, pork loin chops, turkey, chicken, and roasts. All cuts with the name "loin" or "round" are lean. And if you cook it yourself, trim all visible fat and drain the grease.
- Use oils sparingly (try olive and canola oils). Bake chicken without the skin. Substitute a potato for french fries.
- Choose healthy, quick, and easy-to-grab foods such as little bags or containers of ready-to-eat vegetables (i.e., celery sticks, cucumber wedges, and cherry tomatoes). Or, make healthier choices for snacks that are store-bought, such as pretzels. Keep them with you in your briefcase, office, car, and home.
- Substitute low-fat or fat-free baked goods, cookies, and ice cream. They still taste great. Cut down on the portion size and how often you eat these items. Or, choose fruit. It tastes great, is filling, and provides energy.
- Eat when you are hungry and stop when you are full. Take smaller portions. Never go back for seconds.
- Typical restaurant servings are often twice the size of a single serving. When dining out or ordering in, ask for half of a serving or a "doggy bag." That way you will not be as full, and you can have some tomorrow.
- Fast food does not have to be high in fat and calories if you are careful. Try ordering a lean roast beef or grilled chicken sandwich. Keep the portions to regular and small. No "double" anything or "going large." Order items without the cheese.
Exercise is an important way to manage your weight. Aerobic exercises and strengthening exercises burn calories by increasing heart rate. Physical activity need not be strenuous to achieve health benefits. Women of all ages benefit from a moderate amount of physical activity, preferably daily. The same moderate amount of activity can be obtained in longer sessions of moderately intense activities (such as 30 minutes of brisk walking) as in shorter sessions of more strenuous activities (such as 15 to 20 minutes of jogging). Previously sedentary women who begin physical activity programs should start with short intervals (5 to 10 minutes) of physical activity and gradually build up to the desired level of activity. Women with chronic health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, or obesity, or those who are at high risk for these conditions should first consult their physician before beginning a new program of physical activity. Women over age 50 who plan to begin a new program of vigorous physical activity should first consult their physician to be sure they do not have heart disease or other health problems.