How to Control Weight and Live Longer

Controlling weight can help reduce your risk for other health conditions and diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and lung, kidney, liver and arthritis problems.

The best way to control your weight is to be mindful of what you eat and exercise regularly. University of Michigan Health offers a variety of programs to support individuals on their weight control journey.

Monitor Your Weight

Whether you’re losing weight or trying to maintain a healthy bodyweight, monitoring your progress is important. It allows you to know if a meal plan or exercise routine is working, and can help you stay on track toward your goals.

You can use a regular weighing scale, an app, or a smart scale that automatically logs your data. However, keep in mind that a pound or two up or down doesn’t mean much, as body weight fluctuates throughout the day.

Instead, take daily or weekly measurements on the same day of the week and in the same clothing to avoid skewing the numbers. This is a simple way to monitor your progress without spending a lot of time or money.

Another self-monitoring technique is keeping a food diary or food log. This helps you record your daily intake and calorie output, and can help you avoid unhealthy snacking between meals.

Eat a Balanced Diet

A balanced diet is a combination of different nutrients and calories that helps control weight. It contains a variety of vegetables and fruits, starchy foods like bread, dairy products or their alternatives, proteins such as meat, fish, beans or eggs and small amounts of unsaturated fats.

Eating a well-balanced diet also means avoiding foods with empty calories. These are calorie-dense, but low in nutritional value. Examples include soda and energy drinks, cookies and cakes, fries and chips, pizza, ice cream and processed meat.

A healthy diet should be low in saturated and trans fats, cholesterol and added sugars. These are bad for heart health and can increase your risk of diabetes, obesity and certain cancers. Replace these unhealthy fats with healthier alternatives such as olive oil and nuts.

Exercise Regularly

Having a regular exercise routine is one of the best things you can do for your health. It helps you control weight, reduces your risk of heart disease, improves your metabolism and helps you live longer.

Exercising regularly also boosts your energy level and can increase your mood. Plus, it can help you sleep better at night and reduce stress and anxiety.

Strengthens Your Muscles and Range of Motion

Exercise builds muscle mass, which helps your body use more calories when you aren’t active. It also helps to improve the flexibility of your joints, which makes it easier for you to perform everyday activities.

In addition to these benefits, exercise can help you ward off chronic diseases and reduce your risk of certain cancers, such as colon, breast and lung. It can also lower your blood cholesterol levels, which is important for preventing heart disease and high blood pressure.

Practice Mindful Eating

Mindful eating is a technique that can help you control your weight. It eliminates emotional eating and cravings, and can lead to sustainable weight loss.

It’s also been shown to improve your self-esteem and reduce anxiety. It’s not about following a set of rules; it’s about being aware of your feelings, thoughts and physical sensations during meals, says Susan Albers, Psy.D., author of EatQ: The Science and Practice of Eating Well One Bite at a Time.

“It can help you recognize that food is nourishment and you need it to sustain your body and stay healthy,” she says. This can make you more likely to choose healthier foods or to eat smaller portions.

It can take some time to get the hang of mindful eating, so start with small steps. Eliminate distractions like the TV and put down your phone, and slowly build up to eating for longer periods of time. Eventually, you’ll be able to eat without a break and still feel full when your body tells you it’s time to stop.

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