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Maintaining a Healthy Weight

Aging > Maintaining a healthy weight

Obesity has reached epidemic proportions. If you are counted in those numbers, you can count yourself out with diet and exercise. Maintaining a healthy weight can be more of a challenge with aging, but it can be done.

Your metabolism slows with aging, but aging need not mean spreading. There is no one right weight for every person or even every body type. Talk with your doctor about a healthy weight for you. Once you get the number set the goal. Maintaining a healthy weight is manageable with a little planning and determination.

Diet, exercise and even the amount of sleep you get each day affect your weight. We know about diet and exercise, but what about sleep? Research has shown that inadequate rest can impact metabolism. Generally, you will need to consume about 3,500 calories to gain one pound. Some people burn calories more efficiently than others or have a higher metabolism. The double impact of aging and inadequate sleep work together to slow metabolism, hence the term middle-age spread we are all familiar with.

The most significant determinants of healthy weight are diet and exercise. Regardless of weight loss product claims there is no magic formula, only common sense and activity. One of the most common and successful exercise programs is walking. There has been a great deal of talk recently about 10,000 step programs. 10,000 steps equals about 5 miles. We typically take an average of 6,000 steps with regular daily activities. You can maintain a healthy weight if you step it up to 10,000. Bump it up even more if you are working to lose weight. Get yourself some good walking shoes, comfortable socks, a pedometer if you can, and hit the road. Ask a friend or neighbor to join you for encouragement and companionship.

When we think of diet we often think of deprivation. That need not be so. Diet simply refers to a plan or way of eating. Your diet should include a variety of foods. Take special care to include lots of fruits and vegetables and foods that are high in fiber while low in fat. Try not to eat in front of the television. Slow down and enjoy your food. Notice the taste and texture. You are likely to eat less when you eat more slowly, which will save calories. An added bonus is improved digestion. Contrary to what your digestive system may tell you, heartburn is not an inevitable part of aging.

In addition to the types of food you eat you should also monitor how much you eat if you want to maintain a healthy weight. Portions have become outsized in recent years. As a result, we routinely consume more than is necessary. Make a practice of reading labels to get a good idea of portion size in relation to calories. Put less food on your plate at mealtime. If you think you are still hungry after you have finished remember that it takes about twenty minutes for the brain and stomach to communicate fullness – then go for an apple.

Aging > Maintaining a healthy weight