Reaching and maintaining a healthy weight is important for overall health and can help you prevent many diseases and conditions, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and certain cancers. Following a healthy diet and staying physically active are two of the most important elements when it comes to weight management. This section provides an overview about weight management, as well as information about how to achieve lasting weight loss success and develop a healthier relationship with food.
If you often find yourself confused by the contradictory advice on what you should be eating, see Eat, Drink and Be Healthy. Backed by strong scientific evidence, this page explains the seven healthiest changes you can make to your diet.
For tips on how to lose and keep weight off, go to the section Lose Weight and Improve Your Health. Finally, our Self Help Resources can point you to other sources of information to support you on your weight loss and management journey.
Reaching and maintaining a healthy weight is important for overall health and can help you prevent many diseases and conditions, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and certain cancers. But apart from lowering your risk of serious health problems, maintaining a healthy weight helps you feel good about yourself, and gives you more energy to enjoy life. There are three important factors that allow you to successfully manage you weight: following a healthy diet, staying physically active, and modifying negative behaviours or habits.
A healthy diet contains a variety of vegetables and fruits. It also includes whole grains, fat-free or low-fat dairy products, and protein foods, such as lean meats, poultry, seafood, nuts and seeds. Avoid foods that are high in salt, added sugars, solid fats, and refined grains. For more tips, see Eat, Drink and Be Healthy.
Generally, 30 to 60 minutes of moderate activity, such as bicycle riding and brisk walking, per day is recommended. Aerobic exercise, flexibility exercises and resistance exercises are all beneficial for weight management and overall health. To read more about ways to stay physically active, see the section Exercise and Fitness.
Behaviour modification can be a very helpful addition to a weight management plan. This is an approach that assists people to decrease undesirable behaviours and increase positive behaviors through small changes – in this case, by focusing on changing the behaviours that are connected to unhealthy eating.
The following behaviour modification tips will provide you with a starting point on your weight management journey:
If you are overwhelmed by the contradictory advice on what you should be eating, this might be your answer. ‘Eat, Drink and Be Healthy’ is a Harvard Health publication that overturns the dietary recommendations provided by the long-established U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Guide Pyramid to present a new healthy eating guide based on a stronger foundation of scientific evidence.
According to the publication, here are the seven healthiest changes you can make to your diet:
Your weight is a balancing act, however the equation is simple. Eating more calories than you burn means you gain weight, while eating fewer calories than you burn means you lose weight. The key to successful weight loss is a commitment to making changes in your diet and exercise habits that you can keep for the rest of your life. By making smart choices every day, you can develop new eating habits and preferences that will leave you looking healthier and feeling more satisfied.
Research by the Weight-control Information Network (WIN) indicates that those who lose 5% to 7% of their body weight reduce their risk of weight-related health problems, such as type 2 diabetes. Even if weight loss isn’t necessary for you, being mindful of healthy eating and exercise habits will help you stay healthy and prevent weight gain over the years.
A healthy weight loss program requires you to:
If you need more information or self-help tools, check out the following Associations: