Weight loss or maintenance—a question of habit

The secret to a healthy weight is to adopt a healthy lifestyle. Discover a few tricks to pleasurably reach and maintain a healthy weight.

Excess weight and health

Excess weight hampers the health of many Canadians. It is estimated that nearly half of Canadian adults are overweight. Additionally, children and adolescents are not spared from this trend. This can be largely explained by social changes that affect lifestyle, such as diet and physical activity.

If you are overweight, your quality of life and well-being are compromised. In addition, this negatively affects your health. Your chances of having the following health problems are increased—cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, diabetes, gastroesophageal reflux, osteoarthritis, urinary incontinence, cancer, etc. The list of possible consequences is quite long! These are some of the reasons why you should take charge of your health without delay.

How to lose weight

There is no magic formula to lose weight. Losing weight requires a sustained effort. Maintaining a healthy weight over time has several benefits. The success of your efforts is based on life changes you make for the long run.

If you want to lose weight, it is important to do it slowly, but surely. It is recommended to lose between 1/4 to 1 kg (between 1/2 to 2 lbs) per week. For example, to lose about 1/2 kg (1 lb), you must either decrease the number of calories consumed per day by 500 (2,100 KJ), or burn them by increasing your physical activity level.

However, you must ensure to always eat at least 1200 calories (5000 KJ) per day to keep your body healthy.

How to reduce the number of calories

Wanting to lose weight does not mean not eating. On the contrary! If you often skip a meal, your body will store fat to make up for those periods without food. Therefore, you will not lose weight this way.

Here is some advice to help you reduce the calories you eat every day:

  • Your diet should include plenty of fruits and vegetables.
  • Choose leaner meats (fish, poultry, etc.) and low-fat milk products.
  • Avoid the use of fat to cook your food.
  • Limit your consumption of alcohol and soft drinks, which contain a lot of calories and have very little nutritional value.
  • If possible, drink eight glasses of water or calorie-free liquids per day. In addition to being hydrated, you will feel satisfied.
  • Eat a balanced breakfast every day.
  • Between meals, have healthy snacks that aren't too high in calories—raw vegetables, yogurt, cheese, crackers, nuts, etc. Some people enjoy meal substitutes, which help them manage the number of calories they eat per day.
  • Pay attention to the fats hidden in French fries, donuts, breaded foods, fatty snacks, pastries, and rich desserts. Replace these foods with fruits, vegetables or low-fat grain products.
  • Follow the recommendations of Canada’s Food Guide.
  • Seek the advice of a nutritionist if needed.

Exercise: an essential ingredient

In addition to a balanced diet, it is important to add physical activity to maintain your healthy weight, to lose weight, and to feel better.

Exercise is accessible to everyone. It isn't necessary to go to a fitness centre, you can walk, dance or garden.

Here are a few useful tips:

  • Do at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity at least five days a week.
  • Choose a sport or activity that you enjoy, as it will be easier for you to stick to it.
  • Start your sessions slowly, then progressively increase the intensity. This will prevent you from injury or getting discouraged.
  • Ask the advice and support of a specialist, such as a kinesiologist or a sports trainer.

Speak to a healthcare professional such as your pharmacist to find out the options open to you if you find it difficult to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.

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Weight loss or maintenance—a question of habit

The secret to a healthy weight is to adopt a healthy lifestyle. Discover a few tricks to pleasurably reach and maintain a healthy weight.
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