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Working Toward a Healthy Weight

Like many adults, you may be trying to lose some weight or keep unwanted pounds from creeping up on the scale. If so, focus on good nutrition and physical activity as the basis for your own "can do" healthy living plan.

Get Real About Your Goals

Evaluate your weight. One way is to check your Body Mass Index (BMI). BMI scores weight in relation to height. A BMI between 19 to 25 is a healthy range for most people. At higher BMI levels, some health problems may increase.

If you're at a healthy weight, keep up the good work. Be sure to continue with a healthy living plan that includes a balanced diet and regular physical activity. If your BMI is 25 or higher:

  • First put the brakes on gaining additional pounds. Use the tips below to help you get on track.
  • Then try to lose some weight. Losing even 5% to 10% of your body weight may result in improved blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar control (if you have or are at risk for diabetes).
  • Work with your doctor or a registered dietitian to set personalized weight goals.
  • Aim for a loss of one to two pounds per week.

A Healthful Eating Plan

What we eat over time influences our health and may affect our risk for some diseases. While there is no one "right way" to eat, healthy eating plans include some tried and true principles. Start by following Canada’s Food Guide recommendations and the tips below.

  • Make sure you get appropriate amounts of carbohydrates, protein and fat since all are an important part of a balanced diet. Following the Food Guide generally will provide you with suitable amounts of all three. Choose the appropriate number of servings from each food group based on your age and gender and watch your portion sizes.
  • On average, most adults should be getting between 25 to 30 grams of fibre per day. Make sure to eat the recommended amount of fibre daily. A fibre-rich diet (e.g. vegetables, fruits, whole-grain foods, legumes) helps in the management of diabetes and may help reduce the risk of heart disease. Fibre also helps to reduce hunger by keeping you feeling full longer.
  • Eat plenty of vegetables and fruit. Aim for at least seven servings per day, especially dark green and orange vegetables. Enjoy them steam, baked or stir-fried. Raw fruits and veggies make delicious snacks.
  • Get adequate amounts of calcium. For most people, the goal is two to three servings of milk products each day. Choose low fat milk or fortified soy milk, yogurt or cheese. Tofu with calcium and dark green vegetables can also be calcium-rich sources.
  • Eat sensible portions. Get to know your food and what is in it. Check out the serving size on product packages and read menu descriptions when eating out. Don’t give in to great "super-sizing" deals. When preparing food at home, try using measuring cups and spoons to help you visualize portion sizes.
  • Eat slowly and listen to your body's signals for hunger and fullness. Eating while multi-tasking often means you're not paying attention to what or how much you eat. Busy lifestyles often means reaching for high-fat and sugary snacks. As a result, you may end up eating too many calories and not getting the nutrients you need from missed food groups.
  • Save calories by trying “no”, “low” or “reduced” calorie versions of foods, but be sure to stick to the serving size. Just because they may be lighter in calories or fat does not mean that you should overindulge!

Move More

Move a little more everyday. Challenge yourself:

  • Buy a pedometer and try to add 2000 steps to your daily routine. Aim to eventually take 10 000 steps everyday.
  • Add an additional 5 minutes to your usual activity duration.
  • Park farther away from the office or store and make a commitment to use the stairs.
  • Walk around while you are talking on the phone.
  • Take a quick walk around your building, office or neighborhood after lunch.
  • Take the long route to the washroom, copier or mailbox.
  • Walk over to coworkers instead of using email or the phone.

Small changes in activity can create a significant calorie deficit over time. The more small changes you make, the easier regular activity will become to fit into your usual schedule and lifestyle plan. 10 minute spurts here and there all contribute to the recommended 60 minutes per day you should be aiming for.

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