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Cookies and cakes and pies—oh my! Enjoying the holidays without packing on the pounds poses a tough challenge for most folks, never mind the difficulties that face those hoping to lose a bit of weight this time of year. Stay on track, the healthy way, by following our top tips for weight management throughout this festive season and beyond.
Talk with your doctor to determine the right amount of calories needed daily for you to maintain your current weight. To lose at a healthy rate of one to two pounds per week, subtract 500 to 1,000 calories from your daily maintenance amount. Just don’t go below 1,200 per day, which is considered too few calories no matter what your weight.
Renovate your plate by replacing high calorie items with fruits and veggies; these should make up half of each meal. Substitute low fat proteins, like grilled poultry or fish, for red meat and opt for 100-percent whole grain cereals, breads and pastas whenever possible. Avoid processed foods and select water over sugary drinks to eliminate empty calories. In addition, switch to skim or 1 percent dairy products, which deliver the same beneficial nutrients as fuller-fat options.
Journaling what you eat each day creates accountability for what goes in your mouth and an awareness of good and bad habits. Keep a food diary to record everything from meals to munchies, noting when you eat and how you feel. Review it nightly to track successes and identify ways to improve.
Exercise, combined with lowering your calories, helps generate the “calorie deficit” required to lose. While daily moderate exercise, such as walking or gardening, is vital for maintenance, more vigorous exercise, such as swimming or jogging, is necessary to shed pounds. Slowly increase activity until you’ve reached 150 minutes of moderate activity and 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week. Avoid burnout by altering your routine frequently.
Consistency is a key component of reaching and maintaining a healthy weight. Ditch the notion of dieting and instead, embrace a healthy eating plan for life. Remaining committed on a daily basis allows you to indulge in a holiday treat (or two!) this season and still achieve your weight-related goals.
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