As the obesity epidemic hits the headlines, many are asking: How do I make sure I’m healthy, keep myself in good health and maintain a good lifestyle?
Here’s what you need to know to stay on track.
Eat well Healthy and fit people are at greater risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
A recent report from the World Health Organization found that people in high-income countries are less likely to be healthy and fit than those in lower-income nations.
Get your exercise and nutrition started Early in your fitness journey, start with low-impact activities like yoga, pilates and pilates, says Elizabeth Smith, a registered dietitian and author of The New Healthy Diet: How to Lose Weight, Lose Fat and Keep It On.
You can also focus on physical activity and exercise that keeps your metabolism fueled and improves blood flow to your body.
Drink water and a high-quality beverage When you’re in the gym, drink plenty of water, says Smith, and avoid sugary drinks that are high in sugar, salt and alcohol.
Drink less than four cups of water per day and drink water at least once a day.
Avoid smoking and eating well A 2016 study published in the journal BMJ found that smokers who quit were less likely than nonsmokers to be diagnosed with coronary heart disease, diabetes and stroke.
Limit alcohol consumption You need to be in control of your weight and exercise to avoid becoming overweight, Smith says.
But the good news is that a variety of strategies, including eating healthy and reducing sugar, alcohol and caffeine, can help you maintain a healthy weight and improve your overall health.
Drink more water A 2016 review of research on drinking and weight found that drinking water reduces the risk of obesity, but the impact is greater for women, those who are physically active and people with diabetes.
Eat at home Eat at least a portion of a meal at home, says Jenny Smith, author of Eating Right: The Complete Guide to Eating Well.
This is especially important for the younger adults and people of color who often struggle to stay in control.
Avoid junk food The American Heart Association recommends limiting the amount of processed food you eat, and limiting the number of fast foods, sugary treats and sugary beverages you eat.
Limit processed foods You can make healthy choices by following a healthy diet, and you can do this with more than just foods.
If you choose to avoid processed food, make healthy substitutions for unhealthy foods, such as foods that contain protein and fiber, or those with a healthy fat and sugar content.
Be honest with yourself About the things you eat and drink, Smith recommends.
She says: Don’t say: “I’m eating this because I’m going to lose 50 pounds in two months.”
Instead, talk about the foods that are really helping you lose weight and keep it off.
For example, if you’re feeling down about how your weight is changing, ask yourself: What are the things that are causing me to lose my weight?
Do they help me feel better about myself and about the way I look?
Practice gratitude When you feel bad about something, Smith suggests you pay attention to how you’re expressing it.
This can help prevent self-talk from becoming self-fulfilling prophesies.
Eat healthy and be active Get active, and make it count.
Exercise will lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetics and stroke, and exercise can help maintain a healthier weight.
Use exercise to lose extra weight You can use exercise to get lean, as it reduces your risk for heart disease.
But exercise can also make you feel better, says David L. Smith, MD, an associate professor of medicine and a professor of exercise physiology at the University of California, San Francisco.
Get to a weight loss goal or lose weight that is sustainable, says L.
You might lose weight on your own, but by working out regularly, you can get to a healthier, more active weight, L.smith says.
Get exercise at home Take a walking or cycling class, go for a brisk walk, or go for 10 minutes of aerobic activity each day, according to the American Heart Associations.
Exercise your body Healthy exercise includes physical activity, walking, swimming and yoga, according the American College of Sports Medicine.
Follow your doctor’s recommendations Avoid unnecessary medication and avoid certain weight-loss surgeries, says Adam G. Ziemba, MD.
You don’t have to stop exercising if you have a chronic disease or have a family history of obesity.
Exercise regularly To lose weight safely, exercise regularly, says Amy S. Wolk, PhD, a professor at New York University and a research associate at the Mayo Clinic.
Don’t eat too much It’s better to eat a little less than the recommended daily amount, but if you need more, you need