Finding and Keeping Your Perfect Weight

Try these suggestions to get your body where you want it

For those of use with lifelong struggles with weight, it can be frustrating every time a new diet fails or lost weight is re-gained. Being happy with the way you look and the way you feel is an important ingredient to a fulfilled life. This article explores lifestyle changes that may help you find your way to a better weight and a healthier, happier you.

Identify a healthy weight
Some people are unrealistic about their weight loss goals. They want to look like the runway models instead of simply finding a healthy weight. When you set out to get control of your weight, choose a healthy weight as a target. Use a BMI calculator to find out a good weight based on your height. Normal BMI’s are between 18.5 and 24.9. You don’t have to be on the lowest end of this spectrum. Focus first on getting into the healthy spectrum before you worry about losing even more weight.

Talk to your doctor
If you need to lose a lot of weight, you should definitely talk with your doctor about the healthiest approach. Crash diets are not healthy for you. Your doctor will be able to make suggestions on what is best for your health.

Find fun ways to exercise
Getting regular exercise is one of the challenges that many people cite when it comes to losing weight. They may feel they don’t have enough time, energy, or commitment to keep up with an exercise program. Here are some tips for making exercise more fun—so that you actually look forward to it. There are also great ways to sneak exercise into your day, so that you’re burning off extra calories here and there.

Find new food favorites
If you are like many people, you fall into the same old routine with the types of food you eat. And if you are overweight, it’s possible that your food choices are contributing to weight gain. Make it a new hobby to find healthy recipes that you enjoy eating. You will be surprised at how good healthy food can taste! One place to start might be the recipe suggestions from the American Heart Association or the American Diabetes Association.

Find substitutes for the danger foods
Certain food items are especially packed with too many calories and not enough nutrition. Find substitutes to help remove the temptation for indulging in these high-calorie foods

  • For high-fat dips, substitute hummus or salsa
  • For potato chips, substitute baby carrots or single-serving baked chips
  • For sugar sodas, try zero-calorie flavored seltzer water
  • For hamburgers, try turkey burgers or veggie burgers
  • Choose mustard over ketchup or mayonnaise
  • For French fries, substitute applesauce or salad
  • For ice cream, try a low-sugar flavored yogurt
  • For cakes and doughnuts, substitute toast with peanut butter

Watch portions
Portion control is one of the biggest culprits when it comes to weight gain. There’s usually room in your diet for small portions of just about anything, but as soon as the portion sizes start getting out of control, your calorie intake goes way up. To control portions, try these tips:

  • Get 100-calorie snack packs, and eating only one a day
  • Use smaller dinner plates
  • Leave serving dishes on the counter, not on the dinner table, to avoid the temptation for having seconds
  • Follow the portion control sizes on MyPlate
  • Allow yourself a small dessert only twice per week
  • If you eat out, ask for a to-go container at the beginning of the meal, and portion out what you are going to take home.

Eat slowly
Life seems to be in a constant rush, but meal times are one time that it’s important to slow down. Eating more slowly allows you to savor the foods that you love. It also gives the food time to process and gives your body a chance to tell you when your hunger is fulfilled.

Eat in
Most restaurants serve very large portions, and unless you check the nutritional value, you may be surprised at the amount of sodium, fat, and calories the can be packed into restaurant dishes. For your health and your wallet, you are better off eating at home.

Go for a daily walk
Walking is one of the easiest exercises to do. It shouldn’t substitute for a good cardio workout (unless you are doing seriously brisk walking), but it should supplement your exercise. If you pledge to take a 20-minute walk every evening after dinner, you will come to enjoy it!

With these lifestyle changes, you may be on your way to reaching your perfect weight and a new level of fitness that makes you feel terrific. Good luck!

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