How can I best manage my weight?

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Laura Motosko, MSEd, RD
Nutrition & Dietetics
Long term healthy weight maintenance is best achieved with a steady nutrient dense diet plan including whole grains, fruits, vegetables, healthy fats such as olive oil, proteins including lean meat, nuts, legumes, beans, soy or dairy and reduced saturated fat, sodium and sugar. Physical activity daily in which you break a sweat with some resistance training of at least 30 minutes, physician permitting, is equally important to weight maintenance. The next question is how to motivate and plan to include a nutrient dense diet and physical activity into your daily life. Seek ongoing social and professional support such as a dietitian.
Weight management is about consistency and moderation. Healthy food choices, regular activity and getting a good night sleep (at least 7 hours!) will help with weight management.

Another important element is one's stress level ... keeping stress as low as possible contributes to effective weight management as stress not only impacts one's state of mind but one's cortisol levels as well -- both of which can contribute to weight gain or difficulty with weight loss.

Once you reach your ideal weight, keep your eye on the calorie equation -- calories in cannot exceed calories burned! You'll have to adjust your activity levels and/or consumption if that equation is off. Remember, you are in control and have the tools to edit your lifestyle to be successful. Stay aware, be accountable to yourself and you'll manage your weight throughout your life.
Calories in versus calories out.  If you burn more calories than you consume you will lose weight, if you eat more than you burn you will gain.
 
However if you eat too few calories your nutrients will be too low and that is not healthy for your body. Typical dieters will just diet and not exercise. What happens is in order to lose weight they have to decrease calories significantly because they are not burning many calories and their overall nutrient content is low. Low nutrient content affects lean muscle, recovery and bone and joint health.
 
The more you exercise and move the more calories you burn and the more calories you can consume. If you consume more calories you will have more nutrients and your body can have more lean muscle (toned), stronger bones and a better chance at keeping weight off.  
 
It is also important to note that you do not want to be in too much of a calorie deficit. To lose a lb. of fat per week (which is what I recommend) you have to burn 500 calories more than you consume on a daily basis. If you burn 2500 calories (because you are active) you can take in 2000 calories and still lose weight.  
 
More calories equal more enjoyment and nutrients to your body and you still lose weight. If your deficit is 1000 calories or more, you get fewer nutrients, add more stress to your body and although you may lose weight quicker you increase your risk of injury, illness and fatigue.
 
The perfect blend for most is a moderate calorie diet with plenty of exercise.
Rebecca S. Reeves
Nutrition & Dietetics
Weigh yourself at least weekly, control your portion sizes and get regular physical activity. Of course you should be eating a healthy diet including many fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low fat dairy products and lean meats. If the numbers on the scales start to inch upward, start writing down all food and beverages and their amounts that you consume for a week. You should then be able to identify patterns of food intake and understand what foods are causing you to gain. Then adjust what and where you are eating and the amount.

Weight loss and physical activity go hand in hand. Studies show that exercise is an important part of both taking the pounds off and keeping them off. People who keep lost weight off say that daily exercise is an essential part of their lifestyle. They also report eating more fruits and vegetables than before, a healthy habit they hung on to even after they went off their “diet.” 

Dr. Mike Clark, DPT
Fitness
Controlling your weight comes down to one thing: managing calories. Your body is a complex machine that requires fuel to run your metabolism and perform all movement. Calories from the food and beverages you consume provide this fuel. If you burn all the fuel you take in, your weight will remain stable. If you end up with excess fuel that isn’t burned, it will be stored as body fat and your weight will increase. Similarly, if you burn more fuel than you take in, you’ll lose weight, it’s that simple. By managing the calories you take in and the calories you burn, you can successfully control your weight.

Managing your weight really comes down to eating a healthy diet and making sure you are active enough to create the caloric deficit required for weight loss (a deficit of 3500 calories is required to lose one pound of body fat). With that being said, the best way to manage your weight loss is by adopting a healthy lifestyle that you can easily follow everyday. There are so many "fad diets" out there that will leave you feeling deprived. While you may be losing weight at first, it's often impossible to continue these diets for a great length of time.

Start tracking your food intake everyday for at least one week. As you begin to notice how many calories you are actually consuming it will become easier to figure out how your diet may need to be modified to achieve your weight loss goal. Choose nutritious foods that will keep your full for a long period of time. Foods high in fiber and protein are perfect for this. Whole grains should also be included to be sure you are getting adequate nutrition and the energy you need to sustain your activities.

Get moving. Find exercises you enjoy doing everyday. You will be more likely to stick to those activities and make them a regular part of your daily life. Whether you like working out in a gym, taking group fitness classes, or walking your dog - find activities you enjoy and make them part of your lifestyle.

Watch what you eat and start moving. Choose foods that have nutritional value. They will keep you healthy and full of energy. The more energy you have the more you will move. Consider choosing foods from the following food groups: 

  • Grains
  • Vegetables
  • Milk
  • Oils
  • Fruits
  • Meat and Beans

To get more information on different foods within these groups, please visit mypyramid.gov.

Try these activities to help increase your calorie burn throughout the day:

  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator
  • Park farther away from the entrance of a store
  • Try sitting on a stability ball at work instead of a chair
  • Stand while you are watching TV
  • Walk your pet more often
  • Walk or ride a bike to work or school

Making an effort to watch what you eat and staying more active will help you maintain your weight. The more you live a healthy lifestyle the more it becomes a part of your life.

Managing your weight is actually very simple.  First off you want to know how many calories you are taking in a day.  Second you want to know how many calories you are burning in a given day.  Now to know these numbers you would like to use a meal tracking software in which you are recording what you take in food.  There are several out there that you can use however the best one I have found is Dotfit.  It is very easy to use and helps you keep you on track with whatever goals you have in mind.  The second is a calorie tracker.  Also there are seveal companies out there that can help you do this as well.  The best product out there that gives you the best feedback is the Exerspy.  This will track your calories, number of steps you take and can even record your sleep patterns.  Bottom line if you want to manage your weight you must know what you are taking in for calories and what you are burning in the day as well.

Continue Learning about Weight Maintenance

Weight Maintenance

Weight Maintenance

Losing the weight is only one step in the journey to better overall health. After the weight is gone, it's all about maintenance – adopting a lifestyle that incorporates healthy eating, daily exercise and continued goal setting. A...

nd there are lots of different ways to maintain your weight that help make the lifestyle switch easier: eat breakfast daily, load up on fruits and veggies and establish manageable weight loss habits like walking once a day. All of these can be easily incorporated in your healthy weight maintenance plan and keep you from putting the pounds back on.
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.