Keep the focus on fitness

Nearly all of us would like to lose a few pounds. But when losing weight, you should focus on your health and not your pants size. Here are some tips and information that can help you slim down in a healthy way.

Reach your goal weight

Diet and exercise seem simple enough. But during a busy week, it’s not easy sticking with a healthy diet and exercise plan. Most people have to cut 500 calories a day to lose one pound per week. You can cut these calories from your diet by doing simple things like

  • Drinking water instead of soda.
  • Skipping a trip or two to the vending machine.
  • Being more active. This can help you burn an extra 500 calories per day. Do things like taking the stairs instead of the elevator, parking in the back of the parking lot, and taking quick walks at lunchtime and on breaks.

Healthy eating and physical activity tips

  • Start your day with breakfast.
  • Work a 10-minute activity break into each hour of computer time, reading and other non-active tasks.
  • Choose snacks from different food groups.
  • Choose healthy proteins, from vegetables or lean meats and fish. Adult women should get about 46 grams of protein each day. Adult men should get about 56 grams. Avoid the trans fats and saturated fats in red meat and processed meat like hot dogs and cold cuts. These can increase your risk for heart disease and cancer.
  • Drink plenty of water and don’t drink too much alcohol. No more than one drink a day for women and two a day for men.
  • Eat more whole grains, fruits and vegetables.
  • Foods aren’t “good” or “bad.” They just have different nutritional content and need to be pieced together with other foods to get you the nutrition your body needs.
  • Eat mindfully all day long.

Waist size and body mass index (BMI)

There are a few numbers you should know when finding out if you’re a healthy size. Your them. Waist size is another.

Waist size is important because fat can build up around your waist and cause future health problems. Waist size is easy to measure. Wrap a tape measure around your waist, just above your hip bones. Breathe out, then measure. A measurement over 35 inches for women or over 40 inches for men is a sign that you are at greater risk for heart disease or type 2 diabetes.

You should also know your body mass index (BMI). It is measured by dividing your weight in pounds by your height in inches. Then, divide this answer by your height in inches again. Finally, multiply this answer by 703. Or, save time by using the handy calculator on the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute site at nhlbisupport.com/bmi.

Studies have shown that people with a BMI of 25 or more are more likely to die early from heart disease or cancer. The chances are higher for people with a BMI of 30.

Exercises for people who don’t like to exercise

It’s a lot easier to get the exercise you need if you enjoy what you’re doing. Choose an activity from the list below and do it for at least 10 minutes at a time. Your goal is to get 30 minutes of activity each day.

  • Walk the dog, push your child in a stroller or just strike out on your own for a 10-minute stroll.
  • Instead of sitting during your kids’ sports practices, walk up and down the sidelines or around the building.
  • Clean the house, wash the car, or do some gardening or yard work.
  • Ride your bike when you have errands nearby, rather than driving.
  • Mow the lawn with a push mower.
  • Play with your kids. Play tag or follow-the-leader, push them on the swings or have a silly dance party.