Managing your weight is important as you age. Being at a healthy weight may lower your risk of chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes and can help you live a long, healthy life. Here are five tips for maintaining a healthy weight.
Tip 1: Eat a balanced diet
As you get older, you need to eat less food in order to maintain your weight. However, you still need to ensure that you get all of the vitamins and minerals your body needs.
You can achieve this balance by following Canada’s Food Guide. Eating foods from the four food groups can ensure that you get the nutrients you need each day. There is specific advice for adults aged 51 and over, since nutrient needs change as you age. You can learn more here.
Limit your intake of foods that are not part of the food groups, such as:
Baked goods: pies, cakes and cookies
Salty snacks: chips, pretzels
Deep fried foods: French fries
These foods do not provide a good source of vitamins or minerals. However, they do provide lots of calories that may lead to weight gain.
Tip 2: Keep track of what you eat
You may find it helpful to keep a diary of what you eat and how much you eat. This can help you see what your portions are and if you are eating a balanced amount of all four food groups.
The Dietitians of Canada EaTracker tool is also helpful.
Tip 3: Be active
Physical activity is vital for your health. Being active helps lower the risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes and other chronic diseases. Being active can make you stronger and provide you with more energy. Plus, being active can help you maintain strength, balance and coordination.
Try to get at least 2 ½ hours of aerobic activity each week such as walking, swimming and biking. Try some activities to strengthen muscles and bones too. This will help your posture and balance. Try lifting weights or doing yoga. Check with your doctor before starting any exercise program to make sure it is right for you.
Helpful tip: Be social while you are active! Find classes in your community, such as dance or Tai Chi or walk with a friend. It’s easier to stay on track when you have support.
Tip 4: Make small changes
It is hard to break old habits. So try to make small changes to your eating habits. Over time they can add up to big health rewards. Here are some changes you can try:
Switch from 2% to skim milk
Put less sugar in your coffee or tea
Have fruit for dessert instead of pastries, cakes or other sweets
Choose legumes like beans, peas and lentils or tofu instead of meat for dinner
Drink water instead of pop
Here are some other helpful tips that you can try.
Pick one change each week until you are comfortable with it. Then, add in another one!
You can also work on changing the way you cook your favourite foods. Changing ingredients can help cut calories. Click on each link for recipe makeovers that will help you reduce salt, sugar and fat.
Tip 5: Make healthy choices when dining out
Dining out is fun and it is nice to have a break from cooking. But some restaurants serve very large portions, or use lots of salt and fat in their meals. It’s important to be prepared before you dine. Here are 10 tips that will help you make healthier choices when you are dining out.
It is important to maintain your weight as you get older since it can help keep you healthy. You can maintain your weight by choosing healthy foods, eating fewer calories and being physically active. Take small steps to reach these goals.
You may also be interested in
Nutri-eSCREEN™, an eating habits survey for seniors. If you live in British Columbia, click here to take the survey with provincial resources.
Last Update – January 30, 2019