Maintaining a Healthy Weight
For many of us, the New Year means a time to make resolutions. Consider this an opportunity for you to make a change that will lead to a reduced chance of heart disease, stroke and other serious health problems – lose weight and learn how to maintain a healthy weight.
According to the American Heart Association, between 60 and 70 percent of U.S. adults are overweight or obese. There is no magical way to drop the pounds, but there are several lifestyle changes that you can make that can lead to weight loss. Check out these tips provided by health experts at Bronson.
Healthy Weight: How do I know what my ’healthy weight’ is?
“A healthy weight is a weight that lowers your risk for health problems,” said Missy Hurst, RN, BSN. “A great starting point is to learn your body mass index (BMI). BMI is an indicator of the amount of body fat for most people. It is used as a screening tool to identify whether an adult is at a healthy weight. By knowing your BMI, it will help you identify how much weight you may need to lose to reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke. You can find a BMI calculator on the American Heart Association’s website at aha.org.”
Exercise: How much and how often?
“You should have a general goal to exercise for at least 30 minutes most days of the week,” said Steve Lewis, manager of fitness and personal training at Bronson Athletic Club. “If you are getting less than 150 minutes a week of exercise, you need to increase your activity in some form. An easy way to do this is by going for walks or taking the stairs. I recommend that you keep an activity diary. This will help you keep track of how active you are from day-to-day, as well as other health information as it relates to your overall health status. The American Heart Association has a printable version available at aha.org.
Diet: Where do I even start?
“It is important to remember that eating the right amount of healthy foods can help with weight loss,” said Julia Ridenour, dietitian at Bronson Outpatient Nutrition Services. “You need to reduce calories in and increase calories out. That means if you eat fewer calories than you burn, it will help you lose weight. A great tool to figure out calorie consumption is a calorie calculator. This is a great starting point to help you figure out the estimated amount of calories you should be consuming on a daily basis. The calculation is based on your age, height, weight and activity level. Another good tool to help you be mindful of what you eat is to keep a food diary. This will keep you be more aware of your food intake and whether you’re eating out of habit instead of real hunger. Once you know the types and amounts of foods you are eating, you may be able to improve the quality and reduce the amount without having to count every calorie.”
Once you have a clear picture of your habits, set a realistic goal. Remember, the weight didn’t show up overnight, so plan on losing it over several months. Make healthy eating choices and exercise in a way you can sustain for the long run.
For more information on how to lose weight in a healthy manner, speak with your primary care provider.
The Bronson Heart & Vascular team is committed to heart and vascular disease prevention, and sharing easy steps you can take to live a healthier life. Looking for a Bronson doctor to help you? For a complete list of providers at Bronson, visit bronsonhealth.com/find-a-doctor or call Bronson HealthAnswers at (269) 341-7723.