Maintaining your ideal weight is a crucial aspect of maintaining good health and preventing disease. Regular exercise and a healthy diet are essential when it comes to controlling your weight, whether you need to gain weight or lose weight.
How does your Weight Status affect your Health Risk?
Assessing your weight through Body Mass Index (BMI), waist circumference and risk factors for chronic diseases associated with obesity are all useful and meaningful ways to assess your health risk.
Calculate your BMI
BMI is a number calculated from your height and weight and can give you an idea of your weight status – the higher the BMI, the higher your risk for certain diseases such as heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and certain cancers.
BMI Limitations: BMI is useful for most people; however it may overestimate body fat in athletes and others who have a muscular build. In addition, it may underestimate body fat in older adults and others who have lost muscle mass.
Waist circumference is one of the most practical tools to assess abdominal fat for chronic disease risk and during weight loss treatment. A high waist circumference or a greater level of abdominal fat is associated with an increased risk for type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and heart disease.
The risk for these conditions increases with a waist size:
- Greater than 35 inches in women
- Greater than 40 inches in men
Correctly measure you waist; stand straight and place a tape measure around your middle, just above your hipbones. Measure your waist just after you breathe out.
Why is a healthy weight important? Overweight and obesity can increase the risk for developing other conditions; if you have the following risk factors it puts you at greater risk for developing heart disease and other conditions.
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- High LDL “bad” cholesterol
- High triglycerides
- High blood glucose (pre-diabetes or diabetes)
- Family history of premature heart disease
- Physical inactivity
- Cigarette smoking
Start with a small weight loss goal that is easy to achieve. Even losing just 5 to 10 percent of your current weight will help lower your risk of developing disease.
Example: Current weight is 220 pounds, 5 percent of this current weight would equal an 11 pound weight loss goal. Healthy weight loss is achieved in 1 to 2 pound increments weekly. You can lose 11 pounds in less than 2 months!
How to use Wellness Factor Tags to find weight control foods in our stores:
Shopping tip: Weight Control Attributes to look for on our Wellness Factor Tags at shelf
- Lean: Represents foods that contain good source of protein and <10g or less total fat,<4.5mg saturated fat and <95mg cholesterol per serving
- 400 Calories or less (meals, main dishes)
- 100 calories or less center store products in select categories
Source of Fiber:
- Good Source: Contains between 10-19% Daily Value per serving fiber; Contains >2.5g Fiber per serving and per RACC* and <4.9g per serving and per RACC and 3g or less of total fat per serving
- Excellent Source: Contains >20% Daily Value per serving fiber; and 3g or less of total fat per serving
- Protein: Contains >10% DV per serving and per RACC*
* (RACC) Reference Amount Customarily Consumed. Source: FDA
Weight loss: One pound of weight is equivalent to 3500 calories. By making small changes such as eliminating 250 calories a day from food and expending 250 calories a day from exercise, you can lose one pound (of mostly fat) per week.
Weight Gain: The same is true for gaining weight, increase your intake by 500 calories daily for approximately 1 pound weight gain weekly.
Your results may vary depending on your age, weight status, chronic disease and genetics.
Following the “Choose My Plate” icon pictured below is an easy and healthy strategy you can use to plan your meals daily.
The plate is easy to understand
Unlike previous icons, the MyPlate breaks good nutrition down to these basics:
- Eat mostly vegetables and fruit
- Some lean protein
- Whole grain
- And lesser amounts of low-fat dairy, which is show to the side of the plate
There’s no place on the new icon for desserts or other snack foods. Instead, these count mostly towards the daily “empty calories” allotment, which includes foods with added sugars and solid fats like butter or shortening.
Using our new Wellness Factor Nutrition Shelf Tag System is an easy way to choose foods that fit your health related goals. For Weight Control, look for this icon and the following attributes on our new tags.
How do I know if I'm eating the right amount of food?
The best indicator of your progress is to weigh yourself and track your progress. Knowing one’s daily calorie needs from a calorie table based on age, gender, height, weight and level of physical activity may be a useful reference point in determining the calories a person eats and drinks are appropriate in relation to the number needed daily. However, monitoring whether you maintain your weight over time by adjusting calories and physical activity is the most helpful.
Balanced meals: ChooseMyPlate Icon
A balanced meal includes a variety of the following food items
- Proteins: Lean beef, poultry, fish, tofu, pork
- Vegetables: leafy greens (spinach, kale, collards), carrots, green beans, broccoli, tomatoes, cucumber, etc.)
- Fruits: Apple, banana, pear, melon, berries, etc.
- Dairy: 1% or fat free Milk and Yogurt, cheese
- Starches/Grains: Brown rice, whole grain pasta, potatoes, corn, quinoa, amaranth, 100% whole wheat bread
- Fats (choose monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats): olive oil, peanut oil, canola oil, plant based oil spreads,
Exercise is probably the most important predictor of whether you will succeed at long termweight loss and weight loss maintenance. In order for exercise to be helpful in weight loss, you should strive for a minimum of five 30 minute sessions per week. Recent research has shown that three 10 minute sessions in a day are as good as one 30 minute session! This helps many people in combating the old "no time for exercise" excuse. Be certain to find something you enjoy. You'll be more apt to stick with it.
2. Pump Iron:
The basic principle here is: the more muscle tissue you have, the more calories you will burn. Muscle is active tissue, fat is not. Thus, muscle "burns" a significant number of calories each day for its own maintenance. While aerobic activity can help burn calories, muscle's where it's at when it comes to giving your metabolism a significant daily boost even at rest.
3. Keep a food journal:
Keeping a food diary can be a huge asset in successful weight loss. Devote some time each day to record what you have eaten and how much, your hunger level prior to eating, and any feelings or emotions present at the time. A food diary provides a benefit of keeping you focused on and committed to your goals. Be sure to list the following: What you ate, where you ate, how it was prepared, how much, beverages, candy, and mindless eating throughout the office counts!
4. Stay focused on being healthy, not becoming thin:
Many people become more successful at long term weight loss when their motivation changes from wanting to be thinner to wanting to be healthier. Change your mindset to think about selecting foods that will help your body's health rather than worrying about foods that will affect your body's weight.
5. Find out what eating you:
All too often overeating is triggered by stress, boredom, loneliness, anger, depression and other emotions. Learning to deal with emotions without food is a significant skill that will greatly serve long term weight control. Chronic over-eaters and "emotional eaters" can be significantly helped by learning new behavioral skills. You can seek help with behavioral and emotional eating issues from a licensed counselor or psychologist in your area.
6. Watch your portions:
With the advent of "super-size" meals and increasingly huge portions at restaurants, our concept of normal serving sizes is a distant memory. Be mindful of the amounts of food you consume at a sitting. When necessary, divide your food in half and ask for a take home bag. It is all too easy to be a "plate cleaner" even when served enormous portions. Learn to pay attention to your hunger level and stop eating when you feel comfortably full, not stuffed.
7. Lose weight slowly with "small changes":
Try to remember that "losing 15 pounds in two weeks" is nothing to celebrate. It is important to realize that the more quickly weight is lost, the more likely the loss is coming from water and muscle, not fat. Since muscle tissue is critical in keeping our metabolism elevated, losing it actually leads to a decrease in the amount of calories we can each day without gaining weight. Fat loss is best achieved when weight is lost slowly. Strive for a weight loss of no more than 1-2 pounds per week. One pound of weight is equivalent to 3500 calories. By making small changes like eliminating 250 calories a day from food and expending 250 calories a day from exercise, you can lose one pound (of mostly fat) per week.
8. Slow Down:
Eating slowly is one method that can help take off pounds. That's because from the time you begin eating it takes the brain 20 minutes to start signaling feelings of fullness. Fast eaters often eat beyond their true level of fullness before the 20 minute signal has had a chance to set in. The amount of calories consumed before you begin to feel full can vary significantly depending on how quickly you eat. So slow down, take smaller bites and enjoy and savor every tasty morsel.
9. Eat less fat, but do it wisely
Limiting high fat foods in the diet can be helpful with weight loss. That's because fats pack in 9 calories per gram compared to only 4 calories per gram from proteins or carbohydrates. Unfortunately, for many people, the message to limit fats implied an endorsement to eat unlimited amounts of fat-free products. Just to clarify, fat-free foods have calories too. In some cases fat-free foods have as many calories as their fat laden counterparts. If you eat more calories than your body uses, you will gain weight. Eating less fat will help you to lose weight. Eating less fat and replacing it with excessive amounts of fat-free products will not.
10. Use the “NO-MEASURE” approach to perfect portions
- Use a 12-in dinner plate. These days some plates can be as large as 15-17"!!!
- Fill 1/2 the dish with vegetables and/or Salad.
- 1/4 whole grains or high fiber starch like beans, corn, peas, brown rice, quinoa, whole wheat pasta, or baked potato w/skin.
- 1/4 lean protein...(skinless chicken, turkey, fish, eggs, round top or loin cuts of beef* and pork.
- *Always trim visible fat BEFORE cooking. If you like fish STRIVE for at least 2x per week and limit red meat to 2x per week.
Physical activity has many benefits beyond burning extra calories.
How many calories are used with exercise?
|Approximate calories used by a 154 pound man|
|Moderate physical activities:||In 1 hour||In 30 minutes|
|Light gardening/yard work||330||165|
|Golf (walking and carry clubs)||330||165|
|Bicycling (less than 10 miles per hour)||290||145|
|Walking (3 ½ miles per hour)||280||140|
|Weight training (general light workout)||220||110|
|Vigorous physical activities:||In 1 hour||In 30 minutes|
|Running/jogging (5 miles per hour)||590||295|
|Bicycling (more than 10 miles per hour)||590||295|
|Swimming (slow freestyle laps)||510||255|
|Walking (4 ½ miles per hour)||460||230|
|Heavy Yard Work (chopping wood)||440||220|
|Weight lifting (vigorous effort)||440||220|
Source: USDA Choose my plate