Weight Management for Everyday Life
For many women, weight management seems like a constant battle with the bathroom scale. Ironically, chasing a number on the scale may be part of why weight management can seem so difficult — in many cases, it’s not the number on the scale that is important, but whether you’re carrying too much body fat that can lead to other problems such as heart disease and diabetes.
How do you determine what’s healthy for you? Start with a physical exam. Your physician can give you a “healthy” weight range and let you know if you need to lose weight. If you do — and even if you don’t — these guidelines can make weight management easier and help you live a healthier lifestyle.
Many women find they don’t need to eat less to lose weight — they just need to make smarter choices. If you tend to consume “empty calories” such as processed or fast foods and foods that are high in sugar, fat and white flour, you’re likely getting lots of calories but little nutrition.
Start building your meals and snacks around the following foods, which provide more nutrients for fewer calories and will give you more energy and a healthy amount of fiber to make you feel fuller and ward off hunger pangs:
- Whole grain bread, pasta, rice and cereal (check the label — the first ingredient should be a whole grain)
- Fresh vegetables and fruits (frozen is a good option if you can’t buy fresh)
- Low-fat proteins (lean meat, poultry, fish, beans, soy)
- Low-fat dairy products (skim milk, cottage cheese, yogurt)
Keep in mind that no food has to be completely off-limits. Enjoy a small treat every now and then, and keep portions of all foods under control.
It can take a little while to get into the habit of smart eating. Many hospitals, including Scripps, offer healthy eating classes and personal consultations with dietitians to help you get started. Once you have a plan, you’ll often find that healthy eating becomes second nature.
The other half of the weight management equation is exercise. You burn some calories every day simply by existing. The number of calories you use just to stay alive is known as your basal metabolic rate (BMR) or metabolism. Add to this the number of calories burned through additional physical activity such as work, cleaning, running errands and exercise, and you have the total number of calories you burn in a day.
Of course, this number will vary depending on your daily activities. As a general rule, though, aim for 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise most days of the week — not just for weight management, but to help keep your heart healthy as well.
- Schedule a physical exam with your physician to discuss your weight goals. For a referral, call 1-800-SCRIPPS (800-727-4777) or see our doctor finder.
- Attend a free weight management, healthy eating or cooking workshop. See our for current listings.
- Schedule a consultation with a dietitian.
- Sign up for an exercise class in your area. Many community centers offer classes, or see our .
- For some patients, the surgical option may be the most effective way to regain their healthy weight. Read more about Scripps bariatric surgery services.
The weight management programs at Scripps aim for one important goal: getting patients back to their healthy weight. Being under- or overweight can have serious, long-lasting health consequences, making it imperative to bring them back to health as quickly as possible.