- How to maintain a Healthy Weight and prevent Obesity
The best way of reducing the occurrence of lifestyle diseases and staying healthy is being physically active and practicing good nutrition. To maintain weight, you must balance energy intake and energy output. If energy intake exceeds the output, there will be an increase in weight because extra energy is stored as fat in the body. On the other hand, if energy intake becomes less than energy output, there’s weight loss since the body uses the stored fat in the body to provide energy. This however doesn’t mean one should skip meals or resort to starvation in order to lose weight.
Losing weight is best achieved through practicing good nutrition and maintaining adequate physical activity levels. This however doesn’t happen overnight and requires patience and commitment. A total lifestyle change and setting achievable weight management goals is key. 20% of weight loss is achieved through physical activity while 80% weight loss is achieved through proper diet.
If you’re obese or overweight it’s recommended you see your doctor who will identify any potential risk factors and give you advice on how manage them. You can also see a registered Nutritionist/Dietitian who will help you with developing a weight loss management plan. However, be wary of quacks peddling unhealthy regimens as well as fad diets which may end up doing more harm than good.
How to Maintain a Healthy Weight and Prevent Obesity
1. Keep a Healthy Diet
To manage your weight, focus on a balanced diet which features all the major food groups. Some key dietary recommendations include:
- Increase consumption of vegetables, fruits, and whole grain foods.
- Incorporate fibre in your diet by taking fruits, vegetables, pulses and whole grain foods. Foods that are high in fibre are low in calories making them ideal for weight management. Fibre also makes you feel full for long periods reducing your likelihood of overeating.
- Reduce intake of foods that have saturated fat and high cholesterol. Avoid foods with trans-fats. Where possible use low fat alternatives like low-fat dairy products (skimmed or semi-skimmed milk, low-fat yoghurt).
- Increase water intake. Water plays a major roles in the body including metabolism.
- Avoid fatty and processed meat (sausages, smokies, bacon, ham etc.) and instead eat fish, poultry and lean cuts of meat. Always trim excess fat from meat and when taking poultry, remove the skin because it contain large amounts of fat.
- Reduce intake of packaged and processed foods, as they tend to be high in fat and sugar content
- Use more healthy cooking methods that don’t add unnecessary fat and calories to your food. This include steaming, stir-frying, poaching, broiling and grilling, roasting and sautéing.
- Avoid eating out too often. Most of the food found in restaurants and fast food chains tends to contain a lot of fat.
- Reduce intake of alcohol, soft and sugary drinks e.g. soda and sugary juices.
- Avoid foods and situations that make you overeat.
- Avoid skipping meals as it merely increases you chances of over eating when you do eat.
2. Increase Physical Activity
Make sure to exercise at least 3 days a week for at least 30 minutes. If you’re just starting out, you can do moderate intensity physical exercise like brisk walking, dancing or gardening. The benefits of exercising are numerous and not merely for managing weight. Set some time aside to exercise at lest everyday and stay motivated. You can find like minded individuals around your neighborhood and form a fitness group to help you with your exercising goals and for accountability.
3. Regular Weight Monitoring
Monitoring your weight will tell you whether you are losing weight or not. This is key in achieving your weight management goals and its value shouldn’t be underestimated. If it’s within your means, you can get a weighing scale and tape measure to do this right at your home. You can then calculate your BMI using a mobile app or using the one available in our site here.