weight maintenance program

Healthy Weight Maintenance Program

STRATEGIES FOR MAINTAINING A HEALTHY WEIGHT ARE:

Consume calories based on your age, gender, and activity level
The key to maintaining a healthy weight is eating the number of calories you burn. As you age, there are several reasons you burn fewer calories overall. First, having less muscle, which happens with aging, means burning fewer calories at rest. In addition, most people are less active as they age. Also, women also tend to burn fewer calories after menopause.4 For these reasons, it is important to adjust the number of calories you consume to accommodate changes associated with aging.

Be consistent with your diet

Restricting calories during the week and overindulging on the weekend can lead to weight gain. Being consistent most days of the year and being in a habit of eating balanced, calorie-conscious meals on a regular basis makes it more likely that you will maintain a healthy weight3

Begin with breakfast

Research shows that regularly eating a balanced breakfast can help increase dopamine levels in the brain and reduce cravings and thoughtless snacking throughout the day5

Balanced breakfast options include:

3 large eggs, 1 slice whole-wheat toast with 1 tablespoon almond butter, and 1 cup fat-free milk
1 cup of low-fat cottage cheese, ½ cup of peaches, and 1 whole-wheat English muffin with 2 teaspoons butter
1 cup of plain Greek yogurt, 2/3 cup of Kashi GoLean cereal, 1 chopped apple, and 2 tablespoons of chopped walnuts

Choose high-fiber, low-calorie foods for the majority of what you eat
Foods high in fiber and water such as vegetables and fruit contain fewer calories for their weight whereas foods high in fat and sugar such as candy, cookies, cakes, potato chips, and fried foods contain more calories.6 For example, 1 medium-size orange contains 70 calories compared with 1 snack-sized 160-calorie package of potato chips
Fill half of your plate with vegetables
Choose vegetables and fruit more often for snacks to feel satisfied with fewer calories

Pare down portions

Eating smaller portions can help you lose excess weight and maintain a healthy weight.7 In a study of postmenopausal women, participants who routinely measured their portions lost more weight than women who did not measure portions.
Smaller servings look larger when they are served with a smaller plate, cup, or bowl and help you feel you are getting more food than if your plate has large empty areas
Measure portions using guidelines on Nutrition Facts labels to know exactly how much you’re eating
When eating out, order a smaller portion, eat only half of a regular portion, or share an entrée5

Keep only healthy foods at home. Many calorie-conscious people find it easier to stick with their diet plans when they eliminate tempting foods at home and at work9
Stock your kitchen with healthy, low-calorie foods such as vegetables, fruit, fat-free milk, fat-free yogurt, lean protein such as turkey and chicken, and whole-grain breads and crackers
Do not store high-calories foods such as sweets at home
Establish a just-say-no policy for eating snacks that coworkers bring to the office

Eat at home

Restaurant meals tend to be higher in calories and fat than meals you cook at home.10 In addition, you are more likely to choose smaller portions when eating at home

Exercise daily

Ninety percent of National Weight Control Registry members exercise an average of one hour per day.3 Other researchers found that exercising more than 300 minutes per week (about 45 minutes per day) maintained weight loss nearly 3 times more than people who exercised less than 150 minutes per week (about 20 minutes per day).11

You can exercise to maintain a healthy weight by:
Walking for 15 minutes before work, walking for 15 minutes during lunch, and working out with a 30-minute exercise DVD in the evening
Riding an exercise bike for 30 minutes at lunch and engaging in strength training to build muscle for 30 minutes after work several days a week
Walk for 20 minutes before or after every meal

Weigh yourself regularly

Weighing yourself can help keep you aware of even slight weight gain such as a pound or 2. Seeing the scale can help encourage you to make immediate adjustments in your diet so that you can return to your ideal weight3.

Keep a diary

Studies show that writing down what you eat is one of the most effective strategies for maintaining a healthy weight11.
Writing down when you eat, what you eat, where you eat, and how much you eat
Write down when, at what intensity, and for how long you exercise; adjust your meals according to your level of activity

Replace food with behavioral counseling to manage your emotions

Many people find that emotional issues can result in overeating.12 Behavioral counseling can help you understand what's bothering you as well as give you noneating strategies to manage your feelings