While weight is just one measure of health, maintaining a healthy weight for your body can be an important part of feeling your best. If you've ever been curious about how to maintain weight after losing it, or you're concerned about gaining weight as you get older, we've got you covered. Here, we'll explore how to understand your body's needs and simple steps you can take to help you stay within the weight range that's healthiest for you.
Comprehending your body's needs
In order to maintain your weight, it's important to understand your body's caloric needs (this is especially important if you have special health conditions, or if you've had weight loss surgery). There are many factors--including age, body composition, gender, and activity level--that can play a role in how many calories your body needs in order to thrive.
Using a simple calculator--like this one from the Mayo Clinic--can give you a baseline idea of how many calories your body might need each day. Of course, calculators like these only account for age, height, weight, and gender, and it's a good idea to talk with your primary care provider about whether you need to change your caloric goal based on your body's unique needs.
Metabolism--the amount of energy your body needs to maintain its weight and activity levels--changes with age. Around age 20, the body's metabolism begins to slow down. This change continues over time, with the body's metabolism slowing down by about 10% each decade. There are several factors that contribute to this change, including changes in physical activity levels and loss of muscle mass.
Once you understand your body's caloric needs, you're able to make decisions that can help you feel your best for years to come. Here, we'll take a look at some actionable tips you can use to maintain your weight at any age.
Create sustainable habits
Creating habits is an important part of maintaining your weight in a healthy way. Many of us have experienced the dip in willpower that comes after a surge of motivation (such as resolving to overhaul eating habits as a New Year's resolution). Willpower almost always fades, but habits are more likely to stand the test of time.
Rather than changing your entire life to work toward maintaining your weight, implementing small habits that you can stick with can be a more effective way to create lasting health. As you browse through the habits discussed below, think about the small ways that you can incorporate these ideas into your day-to-day life.
Balanced nutrition matters
It's important to work with your health care provider to get an understanding of what a balanced diet means for your body. That being said, following general guidelines that prioritize foods with a higher nutritional value can help you make the changes that will allow you to maintain your weight as you get older.
While foods with a lower nutritional value (such as baked goods, salty snacks, and sweets) can fit into most nutrition plans from time to time, it's important that the bulk of your calories come from whole, unprocessed foods. Incorporating vegetables, fruit, protein (like meats, fish, and nuts), and whole grains into your daily diet can help you maintain your weight and feel your best.
Busy schedules can make it tough to sit down and fully enjoy a meal, but doing so is vital to help you maintain your weight over time. It's easy to eat more food than your body needs when you're always on the go, and it's even easier to forget to track foods that you pick up from the refreshment table at a meeting or at the drive-thru on a lunch break.
Planning, recording, and taking time to enjoy your meals can make it easier to stay on track with eating the foods that make you feel your best. Preparing meals as a family, trying a new fruit or vegetable each week, and carving out time in your calendar to sit at the table--distraction free--can all contribute to a heightened sense of satisfaction from food.
Incorporating physical activity
Exercise matters! While keeping your body moving will certainly help you maintain your weight as you get older, the benefits don't stop there. When you're active, you're lowering your risk of diabetes, cancer, cancer, stroke, and heart disease.
While it's recommended that you get about two and a half hours of exercise per week, you don't need to start there if you haven't exercised in a while. Going for a ten-minute walk around the block after dinner, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, and choosing the farthest parking spaces while you're running errands can all help you begin to incorporate movement into your life.
Using a step tracker and checking your data each week can help you set achievable yet challenging goals that will encourage you to keep moving. Invite your friends and family to participate as well--when the people around you are prioritizing movement, it's easier to stay on track.
Utilize tracking tools
Like we mentioned, using tracking tools is key to increasing your physical activity and understanding your nutritional habits. Consistency is key, and it's important that you know where you're at in order to make the changes that will boost your health. Integrating an app that allows you to utilize data can provide you with support and insight on how to make changes that can help you maintain your health over time.
Evidation: Here to support you as you move toward your health goals
With Evidation, you get both the tracking and support that you need to work toward your health goals. Our clear guidelines help you know the steps you need to take to optimize your health--and our data tracking allows you to celebrate your progress. Our team is here to support you. Download the app today to make the most of your health data.