Maintaining a healthy weight can be hard, especially in today’s world.
But the benefits of doing so are immense – not only will you have more energy and feel great, but you’ll reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, hypertension, as well as many forms of cancer. So, if your goal this year is to shed a few extra kilos, or just to eat healthier – go you! We’re here to help on your journey.
The secret to maintaining a healthy weight is maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
That means eating well, keeping active and getting plenty of sleep. Do this, and you’ll soon find a healthy rhythm that you will be able to stick to over the long-term. When you are thinking about your daily diet, remember the key to maintaining a healthy weight is balancing the energy you are eating with the energy you are using. The science behind this is quite simple. All the food we eat contains energy, usually expressed in terms of kilojoules or calories, and we use this to fuel our bodies. The more we eat, the more energy is available for our bodies to use. If we don’t use it, then it will be stored as fat.
While having a little bit of fat is important for our overall health, if we consistently eat more energy than we use, we will end up storing too much fat and this can cause long-term health problems. So, the trick to maintaining a healthy weight is striking the balance between what we eat and what we burn. We are all different and the amount of energy each of our body’s needs depends on a lot of factors, including our age, sex, height, and how active we are. But as a rule of thumb the average person needs to eat between 2,000 and 2,500 calories every day. If you are wanting to lose weight, you will need to eat fewer calories. But be careful – make sure you don’t drastically reduce your calories as you want your weight loss to be gradual and sustainable.
There are some tricks to help you do this:
Try and eat fresh as much as possible. Different foods have different calories and effect our body in different ways. Fresh and unprocessed whole foods tend to have fewer calories than highly processed foods, which can be stacked with hidden sugars. Fresh foods also tend to contain lots of nutrients that help keep us healthy. So, try and eat plenty of vegetables, fruits and whole grains.
Remember treat foods are for occasions. We all feel like a treat now and then, and the occasional chocolate bar or ice cream is fine! The key is moderation. Be mindful not to let treat foods slip into being everyday foods.
Drink plenty of water. Water is so important to keep our bodies hydrated and functioning effectively. If you find water a little boring, try sparkling water with a slice of lime for a bit of extra zest. If you want to drink something sweeter, reach for a low-sugar drink or kombucha, which contain a lot fewer calories than a normal soft drink. It’s important to still keep these drinks as sometimes drinks, not everyday drinks.
Watch your alcohol consumption. Many of us like reaching for a glass of wine or a cold beer on a hot summer day, and you can maintain a healthy weight with an occasional drink. However, alcohol is high in calories and it is easy to over-indulge. Moderating your drinking can help you move more quickly towards your healthy weight goals.
Keep active. The more active you are, the more energy you burn – providing both short and long-term health benefits. This doesn’t mean you need to rush and join a gym and spend hours on a treadmill. Just try and move for at least 30 minutes a day. The more you move the better! Evening walks are a great idea. Physical activity also works wonders for your mental health and well-being.
Remember to get lots of sleep. We know this can be hard, but sleep helps your body recover and reset. We all know that when we are tired our self-control can weaken and we can find ourselves reaching for the sugary snack foods to try and keep us going. Try and aim for at least 7 hours sleep every night.
But most importantly, do what works best for you. At the end of the day, the success of any lifestyle change is determined by whether you can stick with it. You are much more likely to succeed if you are enjoying the healthy eating lifestyle and the physical activity you are doing.
And best of all, by maintaining a healthy weight you’ll feel better and reap enormous health benefits. What’s not to love about that!