Getting your body weight in a healthy range is important for good health. It can help prevent and manage many chronic diseases and conditions such as high blood pressure, cholesterol problems, heart disease, gallbladder disease, female health disorders, arthritis, sleep apnea, and certain types of cancer.
Maintaining a healthy body weight involves a combination of diet and exercise. Eating a balanced, low-calorie diet that includes lots of fruit and vegetables, lean protein, whole grains and healthy fats is the key to maintaining a healthy body weight.
Avoid processed foods, which are often high in sugar and salt. Instead, choose unrefined foods, such as fresh fruit, vegetables, whole grain breads and cereals, beans, nuts and seeds.
Eat regularly and keep track of what you eat. This will give you a sense of how much you’re eating and how your body is responding to your meals and snacks. It will also help you to decide when to eat and how much to eat.
Measure your weight and waist circumference accurately. This will allow you to determine whether your body weight is within a healthy range and if there is room for improvement. A BMI over 25 or a waist circumference over 94cm is classified as overweight, while a BMI over 30 or a waist circumference of more than 80cm is classified as obese.
Consider a fitness program that includes aerobic and strength training exercises. This will help to build muscle, which in turn burns more calories at rest.
Aim to get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity each week, or an equivalent mix of both. This can be done a variety of ways, including walking for 15 minutes at a time, running, swimming or playing tennis.
Make physical activity a regular part of your day. Even a few short bursts of activity can make a difference. If you’re unable to fit in a long session, try doing short walks around the block or from the car park up the road to your place of work several times a day.
Avoid fried food and takeaways, cakes, biscuits and pastries, which are usually high in saturated fats. Limit your intake of these and replace them with moderate amounts of unsaturated fats such as extra virgin olive oil, avocado, nuts, seeds, oats, fish and other seafood.
Consume enough water, which helps to control hunger and regulates your metabolism. Drinking plenty of water can aid weight loss as it helps to remove fluids and toxins from your body.
Before exercising, eat a snack that contains carbohydrates to provide energy to fuel your workout. This should be consumed about an hour before your workout and may include a bowl of whole-grain cereal, skim milk with cut up fruit, toast or a bagel with cream cheese or butter.
To ensure optimal muscle recovery after an intense workout, athletes should consume a carbohydrate-rich snack such as a piece of fruit or a small amount of high-quality yogurt immediately after exercise (Smith & Collene 2015). It can also be a good idea to use a liquid or bar supplement that has carbohydrate, protein and fat in equal portions shortly after exercise to maximize muscle glycogen replacement.