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Weight Loss is Often on Peoples' Minds During Summer

As people peel off winter’s heavy coats and change into shorts and tank tops, weight management ads seem to appear more regularly. We are surrounded by images of the “ideal,” but remember that health is more important than appearance.

Weight isn’t necessarily an indicator of health. However, if your health-care provider has suggested weight loss, be enticed by warmer weather to enjoy more physical activity and more garden-fresh produce from backyard gardens and farmers markets.

Overweight and obesity remain serious topics related to health risks. About 74 percent of men and 67 percent of women are overweight in the U.S., according to the 2013-14 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data. More than one-third of U.S. adults are obese. Middle-aged adults (40 to 59) have the highest rate of obesity (40 percent) of any age group.

How can I lower my risk?

Adopting a healthful lifestyle can reduce your risk for becoming overweight. Eat a healthful diet, be physically active regularly and get enough sleep to lower your risk of gaining weight. To lose weight, aim to spend more energy (calories) than you consume.

Tips to Reduce the Risk of Becoming Overweight/Obese

  • Keep a food diary to see what you are eating and when you eat. You can rate your level of hunger during eating and snacking in your journal, too.
  • Eat a balanced breakfast that includes at least three of the five food groups.
  • Keep high-fiber, low-sugar snacks, such as fresh vegetables and fruits, on hand.
  • Consider your drink choices. Drink water instead of sweetened beverages when you are thirsty.
  • Get enough sleep. Aim for seven to eight hours of sleep per night.
  • Serve yourself smaller serving sizes or take home part of restaurant meals.
  • Avoid eating in front of the TV.
  • To lose weight, experts recommend 300 minutes of moderate activity per week (60 minutes on five or more days of the week). Walking at a pace of 4 miles per hour can help promote weight loss.
  • Set a goal and track your progress. See www.choosemyplate.gov for a “Super Tracker” to track food and fitness, and tips such as these:
    • Vary your veggies. Aim for at least 3 cups of vegetables daily.
    • Focus on whole fruits instead of fruit juices. Aim for at least 2 cups of fruit, especially whole fruit, daily.
    • Make half of your grain choices whole grains. Try whole-wheat bread and pasta, oatmeal and brown rice.
    • Move to low-fat or fat-free dairy.
    • Vary your protein routine. Choose lean proteins of all types.
  • See www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/weight-management for more weight management tips.

 

By: Julie Garden-Robinson, Ph.D., R.D., L.R.D., Food and Nutrition Specialist

Filed under: fca newsletter

Sponsored in part by the Sanford Health Foundation.

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