Scientific research shows that healthy eating and regular physical activity have positive effects to maintain a healthy body weight in the long run. According to experts, on the subject, weight control lies in achieving a balance: balance the number of calories you consume with the number of calories your body spends or “burns”. The caloric balance is similar to a scale. To be in balance and maintain your body weight, the calories consumed (from food) must be balanced with the calories you expend (for normal bodily functions and physical activity).
– Calories consumed = food and drink.
– Calories spent = body functions (breathing, digestion, metabolism) and physical activity.
How do I know if I have a caloric balance?
If your body weight remains stable, you have caloric balance. If you need to gain weight or lose weight, to achieve your goal you will need to tip the balance in one direction or another.
To get close to knowing how many calories you are currently eating, start noting the foods and drinks you consume each day. By noting what you eat and drink, you will be more aware of everything you consume and will create more awareness. It is also recommended to write down the physical activity you do each day and for how long you practice. Look for pencil and paper to start using these simple and useful tools
Some dietary recommendations
– Variety in food helps the balance and health. No food provides all the nutrients the body needs. In your food list check the variety: how many different types of food you are consuming.
– The number of calories you consume in the day is important, every food counts.
– The foods that provide the most calories are those with higher fat and sugar content. To maintain a healthy weight avoid foods that are calorie-dense. And avoid sugary drinks.
– Portion size also counts. Larger portions of foods bring more calories.
– Saturated fats and trans fats are harmful to health. Limiting this type of fats helps control the calories in your diet and reduce disease risks. Among the foods rich in saturated fat are red meats and whole dairy products, coconut oil, and palm oil. Trans fats are found in hardened vegetable fat, shortening, margarine and processed products like biscuits, frozen pies, cakes.
– An increased amount of fruits and vegetables in the diet helps the caloric balance because they are low in calories but have a high content of fiber and water that help to feel satisfied.
– Limit the amount of salt and fat when cooking meals. Opt for herbs and spices that enhance the taste of foods using for example lemon, basil, cilantro, bay leaf, mint etc.
Physical activity and healthy weight
The body requires calories for normal functioning and for physical activity. The latter is defined as any bodily movement that makes the body work. Your daily physical activity is divided into several areas: the activity that you realize in your working day, the one that you carry out like moving, the activity that you perform at home as part of your daily tasks and the recreational activity that you do in your free time.
It is important to reflect on the physical activity that you are doing in these different areas and to propose a plan to increase the level. For example using more stairs and not the elevator in your workplace, already represents a change and a greater expenditure of calories.
Each person will choose the activities that they like and can do. Physical activity in any of the areas of everyday life contributes to tipping the balance by increasing the calories you spend daily. It is good to choose something that is pleasant and feasible to do so that you do not give up easily.
In general, it is recommended to do 150 minutes or more per week of moderate physical activity or 75 minutes per week of vigorous physical activity, in addition to muscle strengthening exercises twice a week.
A healthy lifestyle requires balance, in the foods you consume, in the drinks you take, in the way you carry out your daily activities and in the amount of exercise you include in your daily routine. For best results, consult your doctor or nutritionist to advise you on this process.
Tips for a healthy weight in the family
– Share healthy weight information with family members
– Promote recreational plans and activities that allow you to increase physical activity in family: walks, jogs, and cycle paths,
– Have breakfast at home every day and if possible with family.
– Eat at home, limit fast foods in restaurants and look for family meals at the table.
– Encourage your children to stay hydrated, promote water consumption. Avoid soft drinks and sugary drinks.
– Participate in the purchase and preparation of meals. Allow children to participate in the choice of menus, fruits, vegetables and their preparation.
– Control the time that children spend in passive activities: use of the computer, video games, and television.
– Periodically monitor the growth and weight of your children. If you have questions or concerns about your child’s weight, consult your healthcare provider for appropriate counseling and treatment.