Hi Amy, what would you say the best way to maintain a healthy weight would be?

The first word that came to my mind when I read your question was “balance”. Healthy weight management can be accomplished, but in addition to balance, it also takes other words like “accountability”, “discipline”, and “planning”. For example, one of my co-workers reports to me weekly on her weight loss efforts. She does not expect me to offer words of advice and simply tells me that I hold her accountable. If you are looking to lose or even maintain a healthy weight, it can be helpful to have someone to report your efforts to…whether it is a friend, family member, or a dietitian. This way when you are faced with tempting “junk foods”, you may think twice about eating them, or at least choose smaller portions. You will know that this is something you have to report later, and this may assist you in asking yourself “is it really worth the extra calories?”

Discipline is another word that I mentioned and can be defined as the “training that one gives one’s self to accomplish a certain task or to adopt a particular pattern of behavior”. If you have a weight goal in mind, then you will need to utilize discipline to consume a healthy diet that allows you to achieve your goals. As I have suggested in previous articles, a registered dietitian can greatly assist you in creating a healthy meal plan and helping you have “discipline” to stick to it. You will need to have discipline in situations where you are faced with a lot of unhealthy food choices. Some people have discipline by taking a small amount of your favorite food and chewing slowly/savoring it. Others feel that they have discipline if they avoid the unhealthy food all together. Discipline may be as simple as you telling yourself that you will always get the food you want, put it on a plate, and then sit down while eating it. This discipline will help you to avoid the hundreds of extra calories that you may consume while straightening up the work kitchen. I will say that following a healthy diet may require discipline at first, but it should still include food that tastes good, that is satisfying, and most healthy meal options can include some “junk” food as well.

Finally, planning is one of the most important things you can do to maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle. If you are constantly tempted by sinful foods, start your fight at the grocery store. Avoid purchasing these food items and instead choose an improved counterpart. For example, if potato chips tempt you, choose either baked chips or 100-calorie mini bags of popcorn. If you have trouble with ice cream, purchase sorbet or frozen fruit juice bars. Stock up on good-for-you foods that you can take to work. People are less apt to eat unhealthy foods if they feel full. Pack pre-cut veggies and hummus, fruit salad with yogurt dip, high fiber granola bars, low fat string cheese and flavored rice cakes. But, in addition to taking in healthy foods, remember that food should be “fun” too. Personally, I find indulging on a tasty treat now and again helps me better stick with my nutritious diet. And don’t forget to get some exercise too. Balancing out calorie intake with energy expenditure will definitely assist you with staying at a healthy weight.

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