Tips to lose weight and achieve a healthier lifestyle at any age.

Losing even a small amount of weight can have a big impact on your health.

December 23, 2015 - Author: Diana Fair, Michigan State University Extension

There are many good reasons to set a weight loss related goal. Extra weight:

  • Contributes to a higher risk of developing chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.
  • Puts joints under stress, possibly leading to hip or knee problems.
  • Puts stress on your heart and arteries, forcing them to work harder to deliver blood to all parts of your body.
  • Makes it more difficult for your lungs to send oxygen into your bloodstream.
  • Increases the difficulty of performing physical activity.

The good news is that with even a small weight loss of five to ten percent of your current weight, can lower your risk of developing the health problems listed above. So whether you have 10 pounds to lose or 100, here are some steps you can start taking today to help make living at a healthier weight a consistent part of your lifestyle:

  • Keep a food diary. This can be done in a small notebook, on your computer or on your phone if it has a notes section. The important step here is to write down everything you eat from the time you get up until you go to bed. This will help you notice when you eat more than you should and the types of food you choose most often.
  • Plan your meals and snacks every day. Follow the MyPlate recommendation and make ¼ of your plate lean protein, ¼ of your plate starchy foods including starchy vegetables, ¼ of your plate non-starchy vegetables and ¼ of your plate fruit. Your plate should only be about 9” across; anything larger increases the portions of your food. In addition to your plate foods, you should also include a serving from the dairy food group.
  • When you’re tempted to eat a food or snack that’s higher in fat, salt, sugar or calories, try to keep to one modest-sized portion and get back to your healthier plan at the next meal.
  • If you aren’t already physically active, start taking small steps towards becoming more active. Your goal should eventually be 30 minutes a day of moderate activity. But if you currently do nothing, start with baby steps. Try some activity for five minutes a day and each week add a few minutes. You can also break that 30 minutes up into two 15 minute sessions or three 10 minutes sessions. It doesn’t have to be done all at the same time.

Start today by making a commitment to yourself to make one small change. You’ll be amazed at the difference these changes will make to your quality of life!

Tags: chronic disease, msu extension, nutrition, violence prevention, weight management

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