Four steps to maintaining a healthy bodyweight

Learn your BMI, caloric intake and other key steps based on the American Health and Dietary Guidelines.

Maintaining a healthy weight is a goal many Americans strive for. To obtain this goal, you first need to understand what a healthy weight is, and then choose some quick and easy steps to take in order to be able to obtain the ultimate goal of maintaining a healthy weight.

Body Mass Index (BMI) is the formula that is used to determine if a person is at a healthy weight. A BMI is a quick and easy measure that can provide an idea of weight status and overall, is a good indication of healthy weight for the majority of adults. It does not measure body fat; however, research has shown that BMI is often similar to body fat levels. You need to know your height and weight to be able to use and understand the BMI charts.

Another key to maintaining a healthy weight is to understand the American Health and Dietary Guidelines. These guidelines provide science based advice for making food choices that promote good health, healthy weight and help prevent disease. The guidelines provide information on how to balance calories, foods to increase, foods to decrease and physical activity guidelines.

Some of the key points to balance calories suggested are to enjoy your food, but eat less by avoiding oversized portions. Another helpful suggestion or tip in maintaining a healthy weight or to lose weight is to eat more fruits and vegetables, whole grains and switch to low-fat (one percent or fat-free/skim) dairy products. The foods to decrease according to the Dietary Guidelines are high sodium foods such as processed frozen meals and canned soups, breads and drinks and foods that are high in sugar.

Besides knowing your BMI and the Dietary Guidelines it is important to know how many calories you need each day. Most adults need an average of 2,000 calories per day. Knowing your age and activity level is needed to understand the chart.

In summary, Michigan State University Extension recommends the four tips to maintaining a healthy weight or to lose weight:

  1. Learn your BMI and set a healthy weight goal.
  2. Eat less by limiting high calorie snacks such as sugary and high-fat snacks, high calorie beverages, or by eating smaller portions.
  3. Keep track or at least think about what you are eating.
  4. Add physical activity.

Remember the key is moderation. Take the time and really consider what you are consuming. With these four tips you will be on your way to a healthy lifestyle.

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