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Healthy Weight, Healthy Living

Maintaining a healthy weight, as most of us know, is important for good health.

But getting there can be easier said than done. We have busy schedules, generally sedentary lifestyles and an abundance of tempting food at every turn-much of it calorie-laden.

And though there are factors at play that can cause certain people to gain weight more easily than others, the bottom line on weight is this: Burn as many calories as you take in each day and your weight will remain steady. Eat more calories than you burn and you will gain weight.Fiber

Here are a few strategies for maintaining a healthy weight:

Figure out how many calories you should take in. Recommended calorie intake varies widely from person to person depending on factors like age, sex and amount of physical activity. See the Food & Activity Tracker in the middle of this book.

Keep in mind that if you want to lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you take in.

Know what you're eating. It sounds so simple, but you might be surprised at the amount of calories you are eating every day. One easy way to see is to keep a food diary.

Exercise counts. A lot. It makes sense. Exercise burns calories-and it's a proven key factor in maintaining weight loss. Exercise also makes you feel more energized.

Make exercise part of your lifestyle, whether you take gym classes, walk around the neighborhood, dance or swim laps. (If exercise is new to you or if you haven't exercised in a while, check with your doctor before beginning an exercise program).

How much should you exercise?

To maintain your body weight, incorporate about 60 minutes of moderately intense physical activity most days of the week. Just make sure that you stay within your calorie needs. To maintain weight loss, incorporate at least 60-90 minutes of moderately intense physical activity. Again, make sure you stay within your calorie needs.

Moderate physical activity means that your heart rate and breathing are considerably faster than at rest-but not so much so that you can't carry on a conversation.

Know that it's not just exercise that burns calories. Seemingly small activities like yard work, parking further away from the mall when shopping and taking the stairs instead of the elevator add up to more calories burned every day.

FiberDon't be extreme. Don't cut out all the foods you crave. You are less likely to be successful in managing your weight. Try smaller portions instead.

Keep healthy food handy. Keep fruit and vegetables already washed and cut at home and at your work and you will be more likely to eat them.

Watch what you drink. The calorie content of many drinks out there is truly astounding. Many smoothies, coffee drinks and soft drinks add needless calories. Juices can also pack a big calorie punch. If you like soft drinks, choose low-calorie diet options or try flavored seltzer water with a bit of fruit juice.

Choose fiber-rich foods. Not only are they good for you, they help you feel fuller for longer periods of time.

Try lean meat and meat substitutes. Choose chicken or turkey, lean ground beef like ground sirloin, or "vegetarian meat," often made with soy and found in the freezer section.

Add zip without being zapped by calories. Instead of flavoring with calorie-laden butter, try chicken or vegetable broths, herbs, spices and squeezes of lemon and lime. They add zip without adding many extra calories. Check the Internet or cookbooks for ideas.

Eat reasonable portions. In this age of super-sized foods, most of us are used to portion sizes that are much larger than they should be for managing weight. A serving size of meat should be about the size of a deck of cards.

Be sure to check out our helpful eating and exercise tools

HEALTHY EATING PRIMER

Carbohydrates
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Fiber
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Fat
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The Power of Protein
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Healthy Weight, Healthy Living
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