Maintaining Healthy Weight a Several-Step Process

Arguably the most difficult thing about losing weight isn't losing the weight itself, but keeping it off once it's been lost. Those who have struggled with their weight often admit their weight fluctuates regularly, illustrating the struggle that maintaining a healthy weight can present.

While every person is different, there are ways to keep weight off, and many of them are relatively minor. What these methods all have in common is the commitment level they require. Making a long-term commitment to each of the following changes can not only help lose weight, but keep that weight off as well.

* Closely monitor fat and sugar intake. Reduce consumption of foods high in fat and sugar, or substitute with reduced-calorie and reduced-fat foods and beverages. The fat in your diet should be limited to 30 percent or less of total calories each day.

* Get daily exercise. Exercise comes in many forms, and it's best to determine what type of physical activity best suits each individual and each lifestyle. Initially, you should work your way up to regular aerobic exercise, such as brisk walking, jogging or swimming, since it is a key factor in achieving permanent weight loss and improving health. For maximum benefits, most health experts recommend exercising 30 minutes or more on most, and preferably all, days of the week.

* Be aware of your eating habits. Negative eating habits can include overindulging, eating when bored or looking to food for comfort. Many times people don't even realize they are routinely treating food in these ways. Keeping a food diary, in which you write down when you eat, what you're eating and why you're eating is a good means to discovering just what your eating habits are and determining if they are healthy or not.

* Remember the value of balance when planning a diet. Mom, Dad and no doubt school teachers extolled the virtues of a balanced diet, and for good reason. Don't forget the five good groups (milk, meat, fruit, vegetable, bread) when planning a diet. If you have a specialty diet, due to an existing condition (i.e., diabetes) or lifestyle (i.e., vegetarian), consult with a physician as to how to best balance your diet, as there will no doubt be certain foods that are off limits.

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