A healthy lifestyle is one that includes healthy eating, regular physical activity, and balancing the number of calories you consume with the number of calories your body uses. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010, a healthy eating plan:
- Emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk products
- Includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts
- Is low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars
- Stays within your daily calorie needs
Focus on foods you CAN eat instead of foods you CAN’T eat!
- Fresh, Frozen, or Canned Fruits ― don’t think just apples or bananas. All fresh, frozen, or canned fruits are great choices. One caution about canned fruits is that they may contain added sugars or syrups. Be sure and choose canned varieties of fruit packed in water or in their own juice.
- Fresh, Frozen, or Canned Vegetables ― try something new. You may find that you love grilled vegetables or steamed vegetables with an herb you haven’t tried like rosemary. When trying canned vegetables, look for vegetables without added salt, butter, or cream sauces. Commit to going to the produce department and trying a new vegetable each week.
- Calcium-rich foods ― you may automatically think of a glass of low-fat or fat-free milk when someone says “eat more dairy products.” But what about low-fat and fat-free yogurts without added sugars? These come in a wide variety of flavors and can be a great dessert substitute for those with a sweet tooth.
- A new twist on an old favorite ― if your favorite recipe calls for frying fish or breaded chicken, try healthier variations using baking or grilling. Maybe even try a recipe that uses dry beans in place of higher-fat meats. Ask around or search the internet and magazines for recipes with fewer calories ― you might be surprised to find you have a new favorite dish!
Some general tips for comfort foods:
- It’s all about balancing comfort foods you love with healthier foods and physical activity
- Eat them less often
- Eat smaller amounts
- Try a lower-calorie version. Use lower-calorie ingredients or prepare food differently.
For more ideas on how to cut back on calories, see Eat More Weigh Less(http://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/healthy_eating/energy_density.html).
Regular physical activity is important for good health, and it’s especially important if you’re trying to lose weight or to maintain a healthy weight. It also helps to-
- Reduce high blood pressure.
- Reduce risk for type 2 diabetes, heart attack, stroke, and several forms of cancer.
- Reduce arthritis pain and associated disability.
- Reduce risk for osteoporosis and falls.
- Reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.
To maintain your weight: Work your way up to 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity, or an equivalent mix of the two each week.
Moderate: While performing the physical activity, if your breathing and heart rate is noticeably faster but you can still carry on a conversation — it’s probably moderately intense. Examples include—
|Moderate Physical Activity||Approximate Calories/30 Minutes
for a 154 lb Person
|Light gardening/yard work||165|
|Golf (walking and carrying clubs)||165|
|Bicycling (<10 mph)||145|
|Walking (3.5 mph)||140|
Vigorous: Your heart rate is increased substantially and you are breathing too hard and fast to have a conversation, it’s probably vigorously intense. Examples include—
|Vigorous Physical Activity||Approximate Calories/30 Minutes
for a 154 lb Person
|Running/jogging (5 mph)||295|
|Bicycling (>10 mph)||295|
|Swimming (slow freestyle laps)||255|
|Walking (4.5 mph)||230|
|Weight lifting (vigorous effort)||220|
|To lose weight and keep it off: You will need a high amount of physical activity unless you also adjust your diet and reduce the amount of calories you’re eating and drinking. Getting to and staying at a healthy weight requires both regular physical activity and a healthy eating plan.