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Nutrition Tip – The Basics of Weight Management

This article, entitled Nutrition Tip - The Basics of Weight Management, comes from Libby Lovig, RD, VP Dairy Council - Nevada Dairy Council UT/NV

As we head full speed into 2013 with the best intentions for healthier eating habits, weight loss and a commitment to exercise more take a critical look at your history. Have you lost and found the same pounds several times? If you answered yes it might be time to go back to basics.

Remember the basic advantages of weight loss or maintenance:

• Prevention of weight gain or stopping recent weight gain can improve your health.

• Health can improve with relatively minor weight reduction (5 percent to 10 percent of body weight).

• Adopting a healthy lifestyle – eating smarter and moving more – can improve your health status even if you don't lose any weight at all.
Unfortunately there is no magic bullet to help with weight loss. If you want to maintain a healthy weight for the rest of your life, it's all about balance. Here are three basic steps for success:

Make Smart Choices from Every Food Group

Your body needs the right fuel for your hectic, stress-filled schedule. The best way to get what you need is to enjoy a wide variety of nutrient-rich foods that are packed with energy, protein, vitamins and minerals from all the MyPyramid food groups.

Where do you find these smart choices? When you go shopping, look to the four corners of your supermarket:

• Fruits and vegetables from the produce aisles

• Whole grains from the bakery

• Low-fat milk products from the dairy case

• Lean proteins from the meat/fish/poultry department

Get the Most Nutrition from Your Calories

The biggest nutrition problem for most Americans is posed by high-fat, high-sugar foods and drinks, such as snack foods, candies and soft drinks

• You can make a big difference in your calorie intake by just eating and drinking smaller portions and by making empty calorie choices less often.

• The key is to moderate, not eliminate. Watching portion sizes is an easy way to cut back without cutting out.

• Include healthy snacks like low fat yogurt or whole grain crackers with low fat cheese and a piece of fruit.

Balance Food and Physical Activity

What you eat is just one part of the energy balance equation. The other is your physical activity. Most of us take in more calories than we spend on our daily activities.

Finding a healthier balance means fitting more activity into your day. The minimum for good health is 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity each day. To reach a healthy weight, you may need to be physically active longer (60 minutes a day) or participate in more intense activities. How much activity do you usually get now? If it's only 15 minutes, try adding a 15- or 20-minute walk during your lunch break. If you have not recently participated in exercise check with your health care professional for guidelines to keep you safe and healthy.

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