Those who maintain a healthy weight have a common set of habits that we are going to share with you in our 3 part blog. If you wish to reach and maintain a healthy weight and improve your overall health then be sure to read all three parts that will be posted over several weeks. Enjoy reading Part 2.
6. Drink plenty of water
If you stop to ask someone in the street how much water they should be drinking daily, most people will guess about 2 litres. How much we need is dependent on several factors such as age, gender, physical activity levels, where we live, pregnancy and the weather.
The average adult male needs a total water intake of 3.4 litres which includes water from both drinks and food. Fluid intake from drinks alone should be 2.5 litres per day. For the average adult female, the guidelines recommend a total water intake of 2.8 litres per day and 2.1 litres form drinks alone.
A great way to ensure you meet your water needs is to keep a water bottle handy always and get into the habit of setting a reminder to stop for a stretch and a drink throughout the day. Another way is through cooking up nutritious food that not only replaces water but other vital nutrients you may lose through sweating such as sodium. A nice bowl of soup in winter will help to rehydrate you at the end of the day or you can pop some in a thermos and take it with you for lunch. (Read more about water here)
7. Eat more at home and less outside
Did you know that we spend between 40-44% of our weekly food expenditure on eating out each week? That’s a huge amount to spend on food where we have no control over the amount of sugar, fat (especially saturated fat) or sodium in what we are eating. Eaten in excess, these nutrients increase our risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers. Not only that, they tend to be energy dense and nutrient poor meaning that you are getting a lot of extra calories without much nutritional benefit.
Every cell in our body needs a wide range of nutrients in order to function at optimal levels and we get that from a variety of whole foods. If you want to nourish your body and be a healthy weight in to your 60’s, 70’ 80’s and beyond then learn how to shop, cook and eat your way to health. If you need inspiration in the kitchen, then search out a company that offer nutritional cooking classes or visit your local growers market and speak to the growers directly to ask how best to prepare their beautifully fresh and locally grown produce.
8. Make sustainable lifestyle changes
Low fat, Atkins, Paleo, Low Carb High Fat, 5-2 diet, Intermittent fasting, Ketogenic. There are so many DIETS out there! Which one actually helps you lose weight or maintain a desirable weight?
The simple answer is… the one that is SUSTAINABLE in the long-term. Many diets aim to reduce calories by removing entire food groups or changing the ratio of nutrients you consume i.e. carbohydrate, fat and protein. This can leave you feeling confused while trying to choose something on a menu or isolated at the meal table. Often restrictive diets can make your cravings for disallowed foods even worse.
Stop following the fads and choose a healthy dietary pattern that is SUSTAINABLE in your current lifestyle. Choose a variety of foods from the five food groups, including wholegrains, fresh fruit and vegetables, lean meats, and dairy. Choose smaller serves, eat regularly and limit your intake of highly processed foods. Making small, progressive changes are always more effective than trying to overhaul your diet.
9. Track their progress, their food intake
Tracking progress is essential to achieving and maintaining a desired weight. Whether it be tracking the food you eat or how many steps you walk each day, working toward a goal is much easier when you track the small achievements along the way.
Think about what method of tracking will work best for you. Consider if it needs to be portable to follow you everywhere or perhaps stuck to the fridge so you will see it. Will you use a journal to write in each day or a spreadsheet you can tick? Perhaps one of the many new phone apps designed to track calorie intake and exercise habits? Each person is unique, so if the first tracking method you try doesn’t work, try another.
Start by setting yourself a S.M.A.R.T. goal. This stands for:
Specific – detail your goal, don’t make it general. Measurable – can you measure it? Achievable – can you do it even though it is challenging? Rewarding – is it important to you? Time-bound – set a time frame to achieve your goal
Here’s a few examples:
I will drink two litres of water on at least five days of the week.
I will serve half a plate of vegetables every night for dinner.
I will walk for 30 minutes, three mornings before work per week.
If your goal meets the S.M.A.R.T. criteria, you will track and manage your progress more effectively.
10. Do not obsess too much over numbers or over small setbacks
To maintain good health and weight into our senior years it’s important to have a balance of good physical, emotional and nutritional health in the decades before. We all experience bumps along the way where we may stop exercising, suffer from anxiety or grief or not eat well, but always remind yourself of your long-term goals. A few extra kilos over several weeks, months or even a year will not make a huge dent in your health status over 60 or 70 years so ride out the short-term hurdles knowing that you always have an opportunity to get back on track. Everyone has a few bumps throughout life so if you don’t succeed in the short term, then stay positive. You can always try again later to get your nutritional health and weight back on track at a time where life does not throw hurdles at you.
Written by Lisa Stegena, Nutritonist and Christie Austin-Hore, APD, for Diabetes Council USA
Nutrition Force is a Western Australian based company of Nutritionists and Accredited Practising Dietitians that offer weight loss programs, private dietetic consultations, children’s nutrition & dietetics, school nutrition and Corporate Wellness programs. If you would like more information on our Perth Dietitians and the other services we offer call us today on (08) 9385 7755.