Reach Your Healthiest Weight

Four easy ways to get results

Woman weighing herself

Your weight has a big effect on your health. Reaching and maintaining a healthy weight can improve blood sugar, help you avoid diabetes complications, and boost your energy. Follow these tips to eat better, get active, and set realistic weight goals.

Enjoy heart-healthy foods
It turns out that a diet that’s good for your heart can also help you to maintain a healthy weight. Build your meals around vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. These foods contain fiber. They fill you up, so you’re less likely to eat high-calorie or high-fat foods. For lean protein, choose fish, chicken, beans, and low- or non-fat dairy. Limit red meat, sugar, sodium, and alcohol. Consider the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) eating plan. DASH was developed by nutrition experts to help lower blood pressure, but some studies show it can also help with weight loss.

Count carbs and calories
Eating too many carbohydrates causes anyone to gain weight. The American Diabetes Association recommends 45 to 60 grams of carbs per meal. You may need more or fewer. Ask your doctor what’s right for you, then plan your meals to stay in that range. Also ask your doctor how many calories you should have each day. If you eat more calories than you burn, you are more likely to add extra pounds. Check food labels for carbs and calories. Make sure every meal or snack includes protein and a little healthy fat. You’ll have energy to burn. And don’t skip meals. Eating well and on a regular schedule is important, even when you are trying to lose weight.

Be as active as you can
Regular exercise is a proven way to help lose weight. It also helps with blood sugar control and reduces the risk of heart disease. Each week, try to spread at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity over at least 3 days. Even exercising for 10 minutes at a time can help. Try brisk walking, hiking, tennis, biking, swimming, or water aerobics.

Do strength training twice a week. Light weights, resistance bands, and body-weight exercises are good options. Do something you’ll enjoy so you’ll stick with it, but mix it up so you don’t lose interest. Do not go more than 2 days in a row without exercise.

Set goals you can reach
Healthy weight loss takes time. People who manage to keep weight off tend to lose 1 to 2 pounds a week. Make a short-term plan. Start with goals that are realistic and specific. Think of small steps to help you get there.