How to Balance Eating and Activity to Lose Weight - dummies

How to Balance Eating and Activity to Lose Weight

By Victoria Shanta Retelny, Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics

Part of Total Body Diet For Dummies Cheat Sheet

An important aspect of health and weight loss is balancing how much you eat with physical activity. Before beginning an exercise program, check with your healthcare provider. Moving more may improve some, if not all, aspects of your health — from blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar, to weight loss and maintenance. The amount of calories you need every day correlates to your age, gender, and how much physical activity you get. How can you balance eating and physical activity every day?

Here are some tips on how to walk the tight rope of balancing eating and physical activity to achieve or maintain a healthy body weight by aiming to get the 150 minutes per week:

  • Take a brisk walk for 20 minutes at least three times a week.

  • Ride your bicycle to and from work.

  • Do yoga or Pilates during your lunch hour.

  • Take a spinning or elliptical class at least three times per week.

  • Wake up and go for a swim in the morning before work.

Activities of daily living — such as vacuuming, sweeping the floor, raking, parking farther away from the store, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, and taking bathroom breaks to get steps in at work — are beneficial, but those should be included above and beyond your planned exercise.

Add variety to your physical activity by choosing both indoor and outdoor activities. A good rule of thumb is to choose activities that you enjoy so that you’ll stick with them. In addition, the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends the following:

  • Set goals for activity that allow you to achieve benefits that you value (for example, weight loss, weight maintenance, or keeping your heart healthy).

  • Keep your goals simple and attainable. For example, you might start taking walks at lunch time three times a week.

  • Make your physical activity social. Walk with neighbors in the morning or co-workers at lunch for 45 minutes three days a week.

  • Know the types of activities that will help you reach your goals. For weight loss, something a bit more vigorous like brisk walking or running are great ideas. If it’s been a while since you’ve been active, check with your doctor to get the green light on the activity you’re interested in. You don’t want to sideline yourself with an injury.