Why maintaining a healthy weight is good for you

Finding a healthy weight that works for you means finding a weight that also works for your health: when your weight is in a healthy range, you are better able to prevent a host of diseases and conditions, including high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke and certain types of cancers. If you currently are dealing with any of these conditions and are overweight, getting back to a healthy weight range can diminish your symptoms.

Finding your healthy weight also can contribute to increased feelings of joy and strength, and to greater self-esteem.

Determining where you're at

Body mass index, or BMI, is a good indicator of where you fall along the weight spectrum, along with your waist circumference. Knowing your waist measurement is important because excess belly fat can put you at greater risk for high cholesterol and triglycerides, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

How to achieve your healthy weight

The solution to achieving and maintaining a healthy weight isn't complex: it's a matter of eating healthfully and moderately, and getting enough exercise. The balance of those things is different for everyone based on body type, family history and metabolism.

Here are some basic guidelines to follow to help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight:
  • Skip the quick food fixes. Fad diets are a dime a dozen, but in the end, they'll only leave you wanting. Eating soup for eight weeks may put you where you want to be for your Caribbean vacation, but chances are that after you return, the weight eventually will, too. The way to a healthy weight is by choosing healthy foods and eating less of them (otherwise known as portion control).
  • Move more. You don't have to train for a marathon to feel active. Short, brisk walks are good. Climbing the stairs is good. An impromptu wrestling match with your children is good. Mowing the lawn, folding the laundry, dusting and vacuuming — all good (though they may not be your favorite). Where you have the opportunity to step it up a notch or several from sitting still — take it. Your body will thank you. And when you can exercise in earnest, do that, too.
  • Exercise your right to feel good. Find what you enjoy — and try to make it a regular part of your life. Walking, running, bicycling, swimming, dancing, playing team sports and doing yoga are all great ways to break a sweat, let loose the endorphins and feel good. Whatever the season, find an activity that suits your personality and schedule, and get your move on.
  • Limit your screen time. This doesn't just apply to your children. Adults, too, can get sucked into gorging on the latest new TV release from their subscription service; lingering a little too long in the social media world; and spending excessive time with their tablet or PC — playing games (Words with Friends, anyone?), reading the news or just mindlessly wandering from one site to the next. Sustained periods of online time can make you more anxious and stressed out, and those feelings can lead to mindless eating and difficulty sleeping — both of which can sabotage your efforts to make healthy food choices.
  • Drink more water. Skip the sugar-sweetened sodas, juices, power drinks and "health" shakes, and quench your thirst with a bottle or glass of water. It's what your body needs to function throughout the day, and best of all — it's calorie-free.