Eating for Life
Studies suggest it takes 21-30 days to form a new habit. We encourage an active lifestyle and a healthy diet to maintain a healthy weight, prevent chronic diseases, and optimize your quality of life. Weight loss usually requires caloric restriction in addition to exercise. Regular exercise helps maintain weight and blood pressure, as well as decreases the risk of developing diabetes, heart attack, stroke and several forms of cancer. It can strengthen your immune system, promote better sleep and also helps lessen the risks of osteoporosis and falls. Regular exercise decreases symptoms of anxiety and depression, can put the spark back into your sex life and can be fun! Healthy eating and regular exercise are the safest ways to lose and maintain weight, considering that most weight loss medications can increase blood pressure, heart rate and risks related to underlying disease processes.
Recommendations for regular exercise vary among health organizations, but they all agree that healthy adults, ages 18-65, should get at least 30 minutes of moderately intense physical activity at least five days a week. Those over age 65 should build up to 30 minutes of endurance exercise most every day. Sessions can be divided into 10-minute intervals for a total of 30 minutes each day. Choosing activities that you enjoy and having an exercise partner or a class to attend are ways to increase your motivation. It is important to have routines that work for your life and that you can continue over time.
The number of calories to consume each day depends on one's age, physical activity and whether one is trying to maintain, lose or gain weight. Your calories should be full of vitamins and nutrients from fresh fruits and vegetables, unrefined, whole grain foods, low-fat diary products, lean meats and fish. The American Cancer Society recommends eating five or more servings of fruits and vegetables each day and limiting processed and red meats. The American Heart Association recommendations are limiting alcohol intake to no more than one drink a day for women and no more than one to two drinks per day for men.
For more tips on developing a new habit of healthy eating and regular exercise, we recommend the following resources:
- Center for Disease Control - www.cdc.gov
- American Heart Association's No Fad Diet - www.americanheart.org
- American Cancer Society's Great American Eat Right Challenge - www.cancer.org
- American Council on Exercise - www.acefitness.org
- Weight Watchers - www.weightwatchers.com
- U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Pyamid Tracker - www.cnpp.usda.gov/MyPyramidTracker.htm