What is the Key to Maintaining a Healthy Weight?

The key to maintaining a healthy weight is lifestyle changes that include diet and exercise. Making wise food choices and thinking of exercise as fun instead of work changes everything about your life.

Sure, making the changes may feel like a drag for the first few weeks. But seeing healthy weight loss, more energy, increased focus, and heightened moods — makes maintaining this way of life a priority.

The 4 Keys to Maintaining Your Weight

Man giving the key to maintaining a healthy weight
Here are the keys to maintaining a healthy weight

Maintaining your weight starts and ends with balancing calories consumed with calories burned. The balance begins with discovering what a healthy diet consists of and then making it the mainstay of your life. Next, you exercise several times a week at something you love so that it doesn’t feel like work. These are the 4 essentials:

1. Eliminate Empty Calories

Sugar, sugary drinks, bread, processed grains, desserts, pastries, and fast foods provide calories with little or no nutritional value. They cause food cravings, a lack of energy, decreased focus, and quickly convert to body fat. Each of these should be thought of as rare treats and not real food.

2. Make Healthy Eating a Priority

Construct a diet around a variety of meats, fish, poultry, vegetables, fruit, nuts, and a limited amount of whole grains with the least processing possible. Eating fresh or frozen vegetables and fresh or frozen with no sugar added fruit is always preferable to canned foods. Canned and packaged foods have the nutrients processed out of them, leaving only empty calories along with added sugars and chemicals.

3. Exercise Several Times a Week

Humans are designed for physical activity. Regular exercise is a must to stay fit and burn calories to effectively manage weight. Exercising from 30-60 minutes 3-5 times a week tones your body and plummets your risk of most common health issues.

4. Stay Active

It’s easy to think you deserve every evening collapsed in front of the TV drinking beer and eating chips. In fact, your body and health deserve more. Taking care of chores instead of putting them off and getting yourself up and moving goes a long way towards weight maintenance.

Reaching and maintaining the healthiest weight has nothing to do with dieting off a few pounds for the office party. Instead, it’s about a mindset of weight control and a lifestyle built around a healthy diet and balancing calories you eat with exercise. You will naturally enjoy life more when your body is fit and unobstructed by weight issues.

Benefits of Eating Healthy

Young couple preparing a healthy meal for weight maintenance
Eating Healthy and maintaining your weight could keep you young and good looking.

I hate to break the news to you, but what you see advertised as healthful on TV isn’t healthy at all, adds to the obesity crisis and destroys good health. Eating healthy means portion control and eating a large variety of fruits and vegetables, not fast food. It means including fats, lean proteins, fish, and nuts. It also implies that you avoid sugar, corn syrup, and high amounts of salt added to canned and processed foods as much as possible.

Changing your focus from dieting to a healthy diet comes with many advantages:

1. More Energy

Diets comprised of healthy foods makes weight control a natural process and promotes good health and energy. Living on foods with no nutritional value and a lot of empty calories means living fatigued and sluggish.

Eating whole and natural foods provide functional nutrients that increase energy and metabolism without food cravings. Eating a plate full of vegetables and protein instead of “fast food” will eliminate the regular 2 pm slump and keep you energized all day.

2. Maintain Weight Naturally

Refined grains and everything made with them tends to digest very quickly which means they convert to fat quickly. Eating fiber-filled foods and protein digest slowly and helps to maintain weight and appetite. If you want to gain weight, eat a diet that includes potatoes, french fries, sugar, and refined grains.

A consistent diet of whole grains, vegetables, nuts, and fruits protect against heart disease and diabetes along with controlling weight and reducing food cravings.

3. Improved Moods

What you eat and your moods are closely linked. According to this study, not only do refined carbohydrates add fat and overweight issues to your body, but they also result in depression and fatigue.

Changing from foods with a high glycemic load such as soft drinks, cakes, pastries, bread made with white flour, and sandwiches to whole foods and vegetables can keep your moods elevated and even.

4. Better Sleep

Sleep apnea is when you stop breathing for a moment, severely disrupting healthy sleep patterns. Symptoms include tired, fatigued, sleepy, and prone to zone out during the day and is common among overweight and obese people.

Unhealthy diets along with weight gain are often the cause of sleep apnea. Eating a healthy diet is the first step to both losing and maintaining weight and eliminating sleep apnea.

5. Reduced Health Risk

Common but unhealthy diets simply don’t produce enough nutrients to satisfy our bodies. To keep fit and encourage the best health of bones, organs, and muscles a balanced diet full of nutrients your body needs is essential.

According to The Harvard School of Public Health, you need a diet with a lot of vegetables, fruits, a nominal amount of unsaturated fat, and little to no saturated fat to maintain your weight and lower the risk of disease.

6. Eat More

Because it’s hard to get fat on a healthy diet, you get to eat more. Binge eating and obesity are associated with eating junk foods for emotional comfort. Eating foods high in nutritional value means you’re usually satisfied quicker. You’ll seldom worry about portion sizes when you consume foods that satisfy.

In fact, when your diet is healthy, it doesn’t hurt to eat a sweet from time to time without guilt and fear you just gained a pound. It won’t take long to experience the benefits of healthy eating and you’ll never turn back.

How To Start Eating Healthy?

woman with a basket of fresh healthy vegetables to eat to stay slim
Eating a lot of colorful veggies keeps you healthy and slim

Most overweight people today never developed the habit of eating healthy. In fact, because of TV ads, fast food establishments, and our fast-paced society few people know what it means or how to get started.

It’s harder to kick bad habits and erroneous knowledge than it is to know how to start. But making the commitment to manage and maintain a healthy weight hinges on replacing bad choices with better ones.

1. Start Slowly

All habits are difficult to change, and eating the wrong foods can be the most difficult. We’ve trained our tongues to lead the way instead of our brain.

Attempting to make lifestyle changes overnight usually backfires soon after new resolutions. Instead, start adding healthy foods to your diet slowly and eating only when you’re hungry. You’ll find healthier foods satisfy you longer and help cut sweet cravings.

2. Eat Vegetables

The more junk food you eat, the fewer vegetables. But the vegetables are the food with needed nutrients. Vegetables have fiber, minerals, vitamins, and other components to increase health and lower the risk of disease.

Learn to shop for fresh vegetables and Google the best ways to cook them. They are known as whole foods because they haven’t been processed for canning and are good for you. Because most vegetables can be eaten raw, they are easily added to salads.

3. Drink Coffee and Tea Black

If you start your day off with coffee or tea, drink it black instead of adding sugar and creamers. Adding sugar to your coffee sets your body for craving sugar the rest of the day, and most dry creamers have some sort of sugar added.

You may find that you drink less tea or coffee when you stop adding sugar and cream? If you don’t like the taste, try experimenting with new and different brands to find that you enjoy the coffee more than the sugar.

4. Change from Juice to Fruit

Managing and maintaining your weight the right way includes eating plenty of fiber. Fruit juice has none and fruit has a lot.

Even though fresh fruit includes natural sugars, the fiber in it gives it a low glycemic index. A lower glycemic index affects blood sugar levels less and is digested slower. When foods are digested slower, they are slower to convert to fat.

5. Stop Eating Packaged Snacks

Any packaged snacks contain sugar, salt, and an assortment of chemicals. None of which are healthy, and most of which add pounds. Not only that, but the sugar causes more food cravings.

The answer is to either make your own snacks (just search for healthy snack recipes online) or eat raw vegetables or fruit. Not only are they better for you, but they will also quickly stave off hunger without raising blood sugar levels.

Benefits of Exercise

Woman resting and enjoying the benefits of exercise after working out
The benefits of exercise are awesome

We know regular exercise is a good thing and it could help us lose some weight. We know it, but are still reluctant to get out of the sofa and do it?

However, including regular exercise in your lifestyle change is one of the keys to staying at the weight you worked so hard to lose. The Dept of Health and Human Resources advises that everyone get a minimum of 150 minutes a week of moderate exercise.

Benefits of Exercising 30-60 Minutes 3-5 Days a Week
• Reduced risk of dying from heart disease.
• Reduces high blood pressure or the risk of having it in the future.
• Increases good cholesterol while decreasing triglycerides.
• Reduces the risk of diabetes.
• Helps with losing weight.
• Helps with maintaining a healthy weight.
• Improves strength and fitness.
• Improves balance.
• Elevates mood and sense of well being.

What Kind of Exercise Should I Do?

Infographic explaining the benefits of walking for exercise
Any physical exercise can make you healthier and happier

Regular exercise is a must for managing weight and fitness, but it’s important to choose something you enjoy and start out slow.

Most people are amazed at how good they feel after a 1/2 hour walk at the local walking track or around the block. Try a gym membership for company and motivation. Purchasing your own recumbent exercise bike gives you privacy and convenience.

These are the four basic categories of exercise:

Aerobic. These activities increase your heart rate and cause you to breathe deeply. They are also called cardio exercises because the improve and maintain healthy hearts, circulatory system, and lungs. They include walking briskly, running, jogging, stair stepping, rowing, swimming, biking. These workouts are great for losing weight and can be done almost anywhere, including at home with your own equipment.

Resistance Training. Resistance training is for enlarging and toning muscles. Some examples are weight lifting, working with resistance bands, chin-ups, and pull-ups. This form of exercise is indispensable for weight loss because muscles burn more energy than fat deposits. That means the more muscle you have the more calories burned during any physical activity.

Balance Exercises. Balance exercises increase stability during any physical activity, including walking, running, or sports. Increase your balance with Yoga poses, Tia-Chi, or practice balancing on one leg at the kitchen counter.

Flexibility or Stretching. Stretching exercises are often overlooked but keep your body toned, flexible, limber, and free from many muscle aches and pains. Runners warm up and cool down muscles with stretching exercises before and after a workout to prevent injuries.

By no means are these the only way to stay active. Just working in the yard burns calories and helps keep you fit. Playing sports a few times a week or chasing the kids around the park are great ways to get your heart and lungs pumping.

Does Dieting Work?

Dieting does not work for weight management
Dieting for weight management is an unhappy experience

Weighing your self-esteem on the scales sucks! According to studies, less than 10% of diets succeed. The other 90% wind up with is low metabolism, binge eating, weight gain, and another diet.

When we think of weight loss, we usually focus on how much and how quick we can lose it. UCLA researchers found that the majority of people dieting for weight maintenance rarely kept any of it off, and the majority experienced complete weight regain. So clearly, dieting isn’t the answer to staying slim for the long term.

Why is Dieting Bad?

Spending a lifetime going from one fad diet to the next is contrary to health and weight management because it doesn’t work. More importantly, constant weight changes over the years can lead to serious health issues.

  • Physical health. Medical research shows that yo-yo dieting with fluctuating weight is associated with cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
  • Diets end. Diets have a beginning and an end. You decide on a predetermined weight goal and drudge your way through the ordeal of depriving yourself of the foods that got you overweight. Reaching your goal or giving up gives way to going back to the same routines. Lifestyle changes are the answer to weight control, not diets.
  • Diets get you fatter. Your body is pre-designed to hold on to weight and fat for times when there is no food available. Every time you go into a starving mode to shed a few pounds your brain makes it harder for the fat cells to convert to energy.
  • Diets slow down your metabolism. Metabolism is what your body does to convert food to energy. As you diet off pounds metabolism slows because it takes less energy to sustain you. The slower your metabolism, the more difficult it is to lose weight.
  • Diets affect your mind. Depriving yourself of food and nutrients slow down reaction time and focus. Memory is decreased, self-esteem is lowered with failed attempts, and moods change rapidly.
  • Diets cause an obsession with food. Going on a diet to lose weight means you must deprive yourself. You start obsessing over how many calories or carbs a meal or food contains instead of enjoying what you eat. Food is for life and enjoyment, and diets deprive you of both.
  • Diets increase the risk of eating disorders. They may not be the original cause, but eating disorders often follow a series of dieting. Diets have a profound effect on your mind and body, and it’s easy for some to become addicted as a way to escape emotions and life issues.

How to Lose Weight and Keep it Off?

Changing behaviors and ideas about food and exercise are the keys to losing and maintaining weight. Most people set out with the end in mind so they can get back to eating as quickly as possible.

Developing a new way to think about your weight, health, and enjoyment of life is the first step. Research shows that long- term weight loss comes from a slow and steady plan that includes physical activity and unhealthy foods.

Setting Weight Loss Goals

Don’t start without knowing where you’re going.

The first step is setting realistic goals. The weight loss industry has buried the idea of realistic when it comes to diets, but maintaining a healthy diet depends on healthy goals.

Shoot for 1-2 pounds a week. The weight you start with has no bearing on how fast you should lose weight and slow and steady is the long term answer.

Weigh once a week to track performance. Weighing every day raises expectations to unrealistic heights, and heightens anxiety.

Set and keep and maintain an exercise routine. Decide before you start which days and what time you will exercise. Exercise is just as important as your diet, so put the same amount of effort into keeping the schedule.

Balance Calories Consumed with Calories Used

Calories are a measurement of energy and if you don’t expend the energy you eat, it’s stored as fat. Eating healthy means more nutrition and less empty calories and that’s the first step.

However, it’s still vital to balance the calories you eat with physical activity. Without exercise your body suffers, so make it a life priority to put your body to work for a minimum of 150 minutes a week and up to 250 to lose fat.

Don’t become obsessed with counting calories in healthy food alternatives and exercise. It’s best to just get a good idea of what you are eating and burning each day, and obsess on living life.

Develop Healthy Lifelong Eating Habits

Face it, you are what you eat. Eat healthy for a healthy mind, body, and spirit and staying at a good weight will come naturally. As better eating habits take the place of eating useless food you will see your fitness and overall well being soar as risk of health issues decrease.

How to eat for good health?

● Make the bulk of your diet fresh fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and go light on dairy products.

● Eat lean meats, fish, eggs, nuts, poultry, and beans for protein.

● Learn to control portion sizes. Ideally, you should be able to cover the food on your plate with your hand.

● Consume sugar, soft drinks, white rice, breads, pastries, cakes, and packaged snacks only on rare occasions, and preferably never.

Make Physical Activity Part of Life

Any physical activity is better than none, but regular exercise is what you body depends on for optimal weight and health.

The number one excuse for not exercising is lack of time, but it’s just an excuse if you watch TV for 30 minutes a day. Find something you enjoy and get active. Walk with a friend for motivation, join a gym, play basketball, do yard work, or buy a treadmill — just do something. You will:

  • Increase fitness and wellbeing
  • Make your body, lungs, and heart strong
  • Keep your joints lubricated and flexible
  • Build strong bones
  • Have less stress and anxiety issues
  • Maintain your weight after losing it
  • Build self-confidence and esteem
  • Sleep better
  • Get along with people better
  • Balance the calorie intake with the calories burned for energy

Summary

Fad diets that promise results faster than you can eat a candy bar are abundant. However, those diets always limit vital nutrition, set you up to gain weight within the next few months, and fail. The key to getting to and maintaining a healthy weight isn’t a fad or overnight. Instead, it’s about healthy habits and a lifestyle of eating, physical activity, and balancing calories with exercise.

Losing your excess weight is the first step to better life and health. What you do after the diet is the key to maintaining a healthy weight. Making changes that implements a healthy weight maintenance plan keeps you healthy, active and slim.

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