The trim waistlines and tight muscles of youth may be only a happy memory for many of us but aging at home doesn’t have to mean giving in to a growing waistline and the health challenges that come with it.
No matter your age, one of the biggest things you can do to improve your health and keep doing the things you love is maintaining a healthy weight – and you don’t have to give up your favorite foods to do it.
Healthy Weight Week is Jan. 16-22, and it encourages people to develop healthy habits that will last a lifetime to reach and maintain a healthy weight. The first step in achieving a healthy weight, whether you’re receiving health care at home or are a family caregiver, is to check with your doctor. Your doctor can talk to you about any special considerations or safety tips to keep in mind as you get started.
With regular exercise and a healthy diet, many people can make big progress on their weight goals. Remember, the more calories you eat, the more physical activity you need. Realistic diet and exercise plans will involve making smart food choices and getting the appropriate amount of daily physical activity recommended by your doctor.
Problems arise when people start believing that making healthy food choices means they can’t eat their old favorites anymore. The truth is there is room in any diet to indulge in salty, crispy french fries or gooey mac and cheese. The secret is doing it the right way.
Your Favorites as Part of a Healthy Diet
- Start by realizing there are no “good” or “bad” foods. Demonizing a food you love will only make you want it more or feel terrible when you eat it. Understand that while you can’t have your favorite pepperoni pizza every day, it doesn’t have to leave your life for good.
- Stop thinking of it as a cheat meal. Call it an indulgence. If you can’t get cheeseburgers off your mind, turn a cheeseburger meal into a prize for eating well throughout the week. By planning for the indulgence and being thoughtful about its place in your meal plan, you can look forward to it and truly enjoy it.
- Planning for your meal means more than just scheduling it. One way to keep your overall eating choices on the right track is to plan for the extra calories, salt, and fat you will be consuming. In the days leading up to it, be extra thoughtful about the foods you eat and try to “save” calories for your planned meal.
- A good way to make your indulgence feel extra special is to elevate it. If you’re craving a burger, skip the drive through. Instead, find your favorite version of that burger and go for that, whether it’s a smash burger from the diner across town or a gourmet garlic truffle burger from the cool new pub. Choosing the elevated version will make the meal feel more like a treat than a cheat.
While you enjoy your meal, keep the old phrase “everything in moderation” in mind. Don’t overdo your indulgence meal – stuffing yourself is never a great idea. But by giving yourself permission to include your favorite meals as an occasional part of a healthy diet, you can keep enjoying the things you love while watching your health improve.
Do you have questions about what you should or shouldn’t be eating? Email firstname.lastname@example.org and request a call with our Registered Dietitian today!