Six Steps to a Healthy Weight

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With all the media attention on obesity and what not to eat, the fact that kids and adults are nutrient-deficient doesn’t get much notice.

Most Americans aren’t eating adequate amounts of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat and fat-free milk and milk products and seafood. As a result, most Americans don’t get enough calcium, potassium, vitamin D and fiber. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines define these four nutrients as “nutrients of public health concern”.

What do nutrient deficiencies have to do with a healthy weight? By focusing on enjoying nutrient-rich foods, there’s a lot less space in our stomachs for foods high in added fats and added sugars. Also, research indicates getting adequate amounts of nutrients such as fiber, calcium, vitamin D and protein from food may help with weight management.

A new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that weight gain was more likely with increased intake of potato chips, potatoes, sugar-sweetened beverages, red meat and processed meat; whereas weight gain was less likely with adequate intake of vegetables, whole grains, fruits, nuts and yogurt.

The study also showed that several lifestyle factors influence weight: physical activity, alcohol use, smoking, sleep and television watching.
The study results confirm the conclusions of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines committee: focus on nutrient-rich foods, avoid overeating, and be physically active.

As a registered dietitian, health/wellness coach and mom, here are my top six picks for overall health and achieving and maintaining the weight that nature intended for you:

#1: Take time to enjoy food; eat together with family as often as possible

#2: Enjoy a nutrient-rich breakfast which includes protein

#3: Get enough sleep

#4: Limit TV time

#5: Find physical activities you enjoy and enjoy them often

#6: Stay hydrated

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