8 Tips for Maintaining Healthy Weight

Wednesday 27 August 2014

Maintaining a healthy weight does not require a magic formula. All you really need is eat healthily and exercise regularly.

Otherwise, your Energy Intake > Energy Expenditure = Overweight Problem
How much energy intake should you have in a day?
The Malaysian Dietary Guidelines recommends a daily energy intake of
  • 2,000-2,500 kcal for an adult male
  • 1,500-2,000 kcal for an adult female.
But many Malaysians today exceed their recommended daily energy intake, and lead less healthy lifestyles due to physical inactivity. This contributes to health problems like diabetes, cancers and heart diseases.

But maintaining a healthy weight is not that hard to do. In addition to regular physical activities, here are 8 Eating Tips to help you live a healthier life.

1. Keep your meals balanced

Your daily diet should comprise of food from 5 Food Groups:
a) cereals and grains
b) fruits and vegetables
c) foods high in fat
d) protein-rich foods
e) milk products.
Besides eating from these different food groups, you should also eat different varieties within the group.

2. Watch your portion size

If you are leading a sedentary lifestyle, you should take a smaller portion than those who are more active.

3. Choose foods with less fat and oil

Opt for food prepared using healthier cooking methods such as grilling, steaming, poaching, baking, roasting or braising. Choose stir-fry instead of deep-fry to reduce oil usage. Remove the skin from chicken as it contains most of the fat.

4. Choose foods and beverages with less sugar

Be aware of hidden sugars in many drinks and foods (e.g. cakes and local kuihs) you consume.

5. Feel full with fibre

A diet high in fibre can help you feel full faster and for a longer period of time. This helps you avoid overeating at one meal, and encourage you to eat less throughout the day.
Sources of fiber include brown rice, oats, corn, guavas, apples, French beans, four-angle beans etc.

6. Practise regular meal times

This helps you reduce hunger pangs which tend to make you overeat. Avoid late night snacking.

7. Plan your meals ahead

Adopt a balancing plan, meaning if you had a heavy lunch, then eat a lighter meal for dinner. You can also apply this concept within a meal, e.g. if you eat a heavier main course, then consider having fruits instead of cakes for dessert.

8. Read the food labels of packaged products

You should look out for the number of calories, fat, carbohydrate, protein and other nutrients on the Nutrient Information Panel of a food product. Don't decide based on the content of one nutrient alone.
A food product labelled as "low fat" does not mean that it is low in calories. A product that claims to be "cholesterol-free" may still be high in fat.

Maintaining a healthy weight is simply about making some minor adjustments to your diet and eating habits. You don't have to change your entire eating plan. So take heart and get started - one tip at a time.

(Source: What's your weight? by Assoc Prof Dr Zaitun Yassin and Dr Mahenderan Appukutty, StarFit4Life, 23 March 2014)

Do you have trouble following these tips every single day? They may be simple but sometimes we just don't have the time to shop, cook or even eat proper meals, because of our hectic lifestyle.
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