Turn Over a New-Tritious Leaf for the New Year
Provided by the American Dietetic Association: Your Link to Nutrition & Health
Whether you need to lose, gain, or maintain, make health, not appearance, your first priority for the new year. Why not resolve to make a healthy lifestyle for a lifetime?
The key to managing your weight is a positive attitude and the right kind of motivation. If you1re trying to lose weight to fit into a bathing suit for spring break, or to look good for your school reunion, chances are your commitment and efforts will fizzle out over time.
ADA suggests focusing on internal rewards; better health, increased energy, self-esteem and feeling in control. To help achieve this, focus on your current weight or lifestyle and not where you want to be five months from now. The thought of losing five pounds at a time is not as intimidating as losing twenty-five pounds.
Eating for good health can be easy by following the Food Guide Pyramid. To tip the energy balance in one direction or the other, or to keep it level, simply adjust your food choices and number of servings within each of the five major food groups. The Food Guide Pyramid conveys three main messages about healthful eating: variety, balance and moderation.
- For variety, eat different foods from the Pyramid1s five food groups. No one food supplies all the nutrients the body needs. Eating a variety of foods - both within each food group and among the five food groups - ensures that you meet your nutritional requirements.
- For balance, eat appropriate amounts from each food group every day. A balanced diet supplies the nutrients and calories the body needs.
- For moderation choose foods and beverages to meet your energy needs and to control calories, total fat, cholesterol, sodium, sugars and, if consumed, alcoholic beverages. A moderate diet helps you maintain a healthy weight and may help protect you from health problems such as heart disease and cancer later in life.
In addition to eating healthfully, regular physical activity is key in maintaining a healthy weight. You don1t need to be an exercise fanatic with strenuous daily workouts to get the benefits. Step aerobics at a fitness club or 30 minutes on the treadmill may not be right for you - that1s OK. Any physical activity you enjoy can do the job. If you make exercise enjoyable, you1re more likely to stick with it.
For significant health benefits aim toward 30 minutes or more of moderate activity on most, if not all, days of the week. Smaller increments are also OK. They just need to add up to at least 30 minutes. If you haven1t been physically active, then build up gradually. Remember, any increase in your physical activity can make a difference. You don't need an all-or-nothing mentality.