Managing weight gain
WHAT IS MY HEALTHY WEIGHT?
Maintaining a healthy weight reduces the risk of developing heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Also, maintaining you weight can reduce the risk of developing certain types of cancer.
You can calculate your healthy weight using the BMI (body mass index).
Your BMI lets you know if you are over- or underweight.
- A BMI of less than 18.5 is below normal.
- 18.5 to 24.9 is a healthy weight.
- 25 to 29.9 is overweight.
- A BMI of over 30 indicates obesity.
If you are overweight, it is a good idea to try to lower your weight gradually. Try to lose between 0.5 and 1 kg each week. Your doctor and dietitian can advise and support you.
MANAGING YOUR DIET
Energy is measured in calories. If we take in more calories than our body needs, we gain weight.
To lose excess weight, you must control your intake of calories and stay active. This helps burn off energy.
To your diet, it helps to know about the types of foods:
- Fruits and vegetables are full of vitamins and are low in fat. You should have 5 servings of these a day.
- Starches include bread, grains, and rice. These should make up a third of your caloric intake.
- Sources of fiber include peas, lentils, and whole-wheat bread and grains.
- Fish is a good source of protein and is low in fat. You should have two servings of fish per week.
- Beef is rich in protein, though it is high in fat.
- Dairy products are a good source of protein and vitamins, though they can have a high fat content.
- Fats have a lot of calories, which is why you should consume limited amounts of fat.
- Salt and sugar can be harmful if consumed in abundance.
By learning more about a balanced diet, you will make it easier to maintain a healthy weight.
ADVICE FOR LOSING WEIGHT
Change your habits.
Start the day with a health breakfast; this will help you avoid snacking between meals and will make you feel less hungry at lunchtime.
Eat at the table rather than in front of the TV – concentrating on your food will help you enjoy it more and will make it easier to avoid snacking between meals.
Drink a tall glass of water before meals.
Tell your family and friends that you are trying to lose weight so they can support you.
Reduce your serving sizes.
The amount you eat is as important as the kinds of foods you eat. You are more likely to gain weight if you eat in large servings. There are things you can do to reduce the serving sizes you eat:
- Use a smaller plate – larger dishes require more food to look full.
- Enjoy a healthy appetizer before the main course, such as a low-calorie soup, honeydew, or salad.
- Eat slowly and avoid second helpings. It takes 20 minutes for your brain to tell your stomach that it is full, so take a break before deciding whether you want more.
- Avoid snacking directly from a bag or package; put the amount of food you want on a plate.
FAST FOOD AND EATING OUT
Fast food is normally high in energy and fat. This makes it important to eat it in moderation. Try to plan your meals so that they are healthy and last-minute decisions have minimal impact on the amount of fast food you eat.
Even after changing over to a healthy diet, there may be times when you feel like being more relaxed with what you eat. Everyone enjoys an occasional treat or a meal with friends. If you have take-out food or eat in a restaurant, you can:
- Look for the most health foods on the menu.
- Ask what ingredients are in the food and the smallest portion sizes.
- Share an entrée with someone.
- Order fruit sald for dessert.