Maintaining your weight is vital to good health at any age but is even more important as we get older. Being at a healthy weight may lower your risk of chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes and can help you live a long, healthy life.
Here are five tips to help you maintain a healthy weight.
Tip 1: Eat a balanced diet
As you get older, you need to eat less food in order to maintain your weight. However, you still need to ensure that you get all of the vitamins and minerals your body needs.
Eating foods from all the food groups can ensure that you get the nutrients you need each day. Adults aged 51 and over should speak to a nutritionist to discover the best combination of foods, since nutrient needs change as you age.Limit your intake of foods that are not part of the food groups, such as:
- Baked goods: pies, cakes and cookies
- Salty snacks: chips, pretzels
- Deep fried foods: French fries, fried chicken
- Sugary Drinks: Soda pop, artificially flavored drinks
These foods are not a good source of vitamins or minerals. However, they do provide lots of calories, sugar and sodium that may lead to weight gain and other health complications.
Tip 2: Keep track of what you eat
You may find it helpful to keep a diary of what you eat and how much you eat. This can help you see what your portions are and if you are eating a balanced amount of all four food groups.
You can even share this information with your doctor or anyone else who may need to assess your diet in order to maintain your health.
Writing down what you eat can also help you see if there are any eating habits that need to be adjusted.
Tip 3: Be active
Physical activity is vital for your health. Being active helps lower the risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes and other chronic diseases.
Being active can make you stronger and provide you with more energy. Plus, being active can help you maintain strength, balance and coordination.
Try to get at least 2 ½ hours of aerobic activity each week such as walking, swimming and biking. Try some activities to strengthen muscles and bones too. This will help your posture and balance. Try lifting weights or doing yoga. Check with your doctor before starting any exercise program to make sure it is right for you.
Be social while you are active! Find classes in your community, such as dance or Tai Chi or walk with a friend. It’s easier to stay on track when you have support.
Read More: Great Health Tips for the New Year
Tip 4: Make small changes
It is hard to break old habits ‘cold turkey’, so try to make small changes to your eating habits. Over time they can add up to big health rewards.
- Switch from 2% to skim milk, or almond milk
- Put less sugar in your coffee or tea
- Have fruit for dessert instead of pastries, cakes or other sweets
- Choose legumes like beans, peas and lentils or tofu instead of meat for dinner
- Drink water instead of soda
Pick one change each week until you are comfortable with it. Then, add in another one!
You can also work on changing the way you cook your favorite foods, moving from frying to baking or steaming. Changing ingredients can help cut calories. Opting for low sugar, low fat, no sugar and low sodium alternatives can also be helpful.
Tip 5: Make healthy choices when dining out
Dining out is fun and it is nice to have a break from cooking. But some restaurants serve very large portions, or use lots of salt and fat in their meals. It’s important to be prepared before you dine.
Here are 10 tips that will help you make healthier choices when you are dining out.
1. Keep it small Portion sizes at fast food counters and restaurants are usually bigger than what you would normally eat at home. Ask for half portions, share a large meal with a friend, or pack up part of your meal to take home.
2. Divide up dessert If you’re still hungry, finish your meal with fruit or sip on a plain cappuccino sprinkled with cinnamon. If you love rich desserts, order one and ask for spoons to split with your friends!
3. Avoid super-sizing Super-sized meal combinations might seem like a good deal, but they're often high fat, calories, sugar and/or sodium.
4. Ask for more vegetables Ask for extra veggie toppings on wraps, burgers, pizzas and sandwiches for more fiber. Order sides of leafy green salad or cooked vegetables. Substitute your fries with vegetables.
5. Go for whole grains Look for dishes made with whole grains such as quinoa, brown rice, barley or oats. Many restaurants now offer whole wheat or whole grain buns, tortilla wraps, pasta or pizza crust upon request.
6. Get sauce on the side Sauces, condiments, dressings and spreads can add fat and sodium to your meal. Ask for these on the side and then use just enough to get some flavor.
7. Do not add salt Avoid adding salt to your meal to adjust the taste. Explore other condiments that are not high in sodium or sugar to add extra flavor.
8. Skip sweet drinks Drink water or low-fat milk instead of sweetened drinks such as soda pop, ice tea or lemonade. Try sparkling water with lemon or lime wedges. If you drink alcohol, limit it to one or two drinks for the day. Try these tips to put more water into your diet.
9. Ask how food is prepared Order foods that have been steamed, baked, broiled, grilled, or roasted. Fat and calories add up quickly when food is fried, deep-fried or breaded.
10. Plan ahead Ask for the nutrition information or visit the restaurant's website ahead of time. Look for healthier options that are higher in protein, fiber and vitamins and lower in calories, fat, sugar and sodium.
It is important to maintain your weight as you get older since it can help keep you healthy. You can maintain your weight by choosing healthy foods, eating fewer calories and being physically active. Take small steps to reach these goals.
If you need support on your wellness journey or need someone in your home to help you reach your goals, reach out to us at True Care Home Care and ask us about our Home Health Aides and other care programs. You can also sign up for our mailing list so you can get more helpful health information directly in your inbox.