Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans’ Hospital
Maintaining Weight Is Not Always Easy
Does this scenario sound familiar? New Year’s Day rolls around and you make a resolution to lose 20 pounds. The first week is a success. You wake up and exercise, you watch what you eat and feel great about tackling that first week of a healthier, new you. Flash-forward a month and your motivation is gone. You’re back to sleeping-in instead of working out, and pizza and chocolate have replaced your healthy food plans.
Motivation is key when establishing healthy habits. We all start out motivated, but then get discouraged when the numbers don’t reflect the effort. It’s important to remember that healthy habits are like running a marathon, not a sprint. It takes time and effort to get into a good routine. In fact, it takes most of us about two months to achieve consistency before something becomes an actual routine.
So, what does a healthy routine look like? The first step is physical exercise. Exercise can be as simple as walking for 20 to 30 minutes a day. It also can be more intense, such as joining a CrossFit gym. The key to the first step is consistency.
The second step is “energy balance.” According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, energy balance is important for maintaining a healthy weight. The amount of energy or calories you get from food and drinks (energy IN) is balanced with the energy your body uses for things like breathing, digestion and being physically active (energy OUT).
Think of this as an exchange. If you take IN more energy than what goes OUT, over time, it will lead to weight gain. Likewise, if you take OUT more energy than what goes IN, over time, it will lead to weight loss. If you have the same amount of energy going IN as what is going OUT, your weight will stay the same.
What are some ways you can maintain a healthy energy balance?
- Limit your portion sizes. Confused on what a good portion should be? Click here for a visual representation.
- Substitute higher caloric snacks with healthier snacks. Check out this article from Heart.org for some healthy snack ideas.
- Get moving. Take a walk, join a gym, or search out options in your own home. The Internet is full of ideas and tools to help you get moving.
- Consult a whole health coach. They can help you figure out how to get healthy and maintain a healthy weight. Contact Truman VA’s Whole Health team by calling (573) 814-6273.
For more resources check out:
MOVE! Weight Management Program Handouts https://www.move.va.gov/handouts.asp
Strive for a Healthy Weight: A Healthy Living Message https://www.prevention.va.gov/Healthy_Living/Strive_for_a_Healthy_Weight.asp