Managing your weight can be a daily challenge. If you’ve tried popular diets only to find that you can’t live with the rigid rules, then perhaps it’s time to try a sensible eating approach to help manage your weight. Following the advice of the recently updated Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide may be just what you need to tip the scales in your favour.
Experts agree that when it comes to weight control, it’s calories that count. Your weight depends on how many calories you eat and how many calories you use up during the day. Over time, this determines whether you lose, gain or maintain your weight. To lose weight gradually, eating 500 fewer calories per day than you normally would may result in about 1 pound of weight loss per week. The best strategy for healthy lasts is eating fewer calories while participating in more physical activity.
When you’re eating fewer calories, you need to pay closer attention to your food choices to be sure you’re getting all the nutrients your body needs to stay healthy. This means choosing meals and snacks that are high in nutrients but low-to-moderate in calories. Nutrient-rich foods give you the most nutrients for your calories, and may even help you feel fuller on fewer calories. Follow these tips for making nutrient-rich choices:
Grain Products: Make at least half of your grain products whole grain each day. Look for breads, cereals, grain-based side dishes and crackers made with whole grains such as barley, brown rice, oats, quinoa and wild rice.
Vegetables and Fruit: Eat at least one dark green and one orange vegetable each day. Choose vegetables and fruit prepared with little or no added fat, sugar or salt. Enjoy fresh, unsweetened canned, frozen or dried fruit more often than fruit juices.
Milk and alternatives: Drink skim, 1%, or 2% milk each day. Choose fat-free or low-fat cheese, yogurt or fortified soy beverages.
Meat and Alternatives: Select lean meats prepared with little or no added fat or salt. Eat at least two servings of fish each week. Try varying your protein routine with more beans (legumes), nuts, seeds, eggs or tofu.
Learn to save calories. Eliminating about 100 calories each day by eating less or doing more physical activity can slowly help you to lose some pounds. Combine calorie trimming with calorie burning, and you can lose weight even faster! Here are examples of some ways to trim about 100 calories from your eating habits.
Skip one of the following:
Add about 30 minutes of physical activity to your daily schedule to use up at least 100 extra calories per day. Walking an extra 2000 steps each day is equal to about 30 minutes of physical activity.
The updated food guide can help you make choices that will put you on your way to a healthy weight.
Enjoy a variety of foods from the four food groups. Within each food group are many different options. Try to mix up your choices from day to day to meet your nutrient needs and to make eating more interesting!
Eat the amount that’s right for you. The new Food Guide outlines the recommended number of Food Guide Servings you need per day depending on your age and gender. Sticking to appropriate portion sizes is key to weight loss.
Take steps to be more active. Besides helping to make you more fit and lowering your risk for some chronic diseases, adding physical activity to your daily routine makes it easier to reach a healthy weight. Canada’s Physical Activity Guide recommends building 30 to 60 minutes of moderate physical activity into daily life. Increasing the time and intensity spent being active will further help with weight loss.
Aim for gradual improvement. Try to make a small changes everyday. Positive results in how you look and feel can be great motivators to stick with your healthy lifestyle changes.
Create a My Food Guide plan. Visit www.healthcanada.gc.ca/foodguide to create a personalized eating plan based on your age, gender and activity level. This interactive tool allows you to select your favourite foods to see how they fit in with food guide recommendations. For a more detailed look at your eating and activity habits, visit www.eatracker.ca. EATracker provides information on your calorie and nutrient intake and compares this to what is recommended for your age, gender, and activity level. It also provides information to help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
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