Attaining and managing a healthy weight may seem difficult, but with a plan and the right resources, you can achieve your goal weight. This weight management guide will put you on track to being healthy—whether you’re trying to put on pounds or take them off.
It’s All About the Calories
Calories matter. If you want to lose weight, you’ll need to reduce the calories you’re taking in every day, burn more calories with physical activity, or better yet, both. If you want to gain weight, then you need to consume more calories and maybe switch from fat-burning exercises to muscle gaining workouts. Start by calculating the number of calories you need every day, then adjust that number up or down to meet your weight management goal. Keep track of your calories with a fitness app, diet website, or a simple notebook.
Understand & Measure Body Composition
If weight loss is your goal, you’ll want to lose fat but maintain your lean body mass. If you want to gain weight, you probably want to gain muscle and some extra body fat. Whatever you’re trying to do, you’ll need to track changes in your body composition. One way is to use a scale, but a tape measure comes in handy too.
Eat a Healthy Diet
Whether your goal is to gain, lose, or maintain your current weight, be sure to follow a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy protein sources, and good fats.
Physical activity is essential for weight management. Aerobic and cardiovascular exercises such as walking and jogging will help you burn calories to lose fat. Resistance training (weight lifting) will help you tone or build muscles. Exercise doesn’t have to be complicated and you don’t have to join a gym if you don’t want. There are plenty of ways you can work out at home.
Weight Management Tips
Changing your weight seems like it should be easy, but in truth, it takes effort and practice. Old, bad habits such as eating junk food and always choosing the couch over the treadmill take some time to overcome. You’ll probably have a few setbacks, but that’s okay. Just start again the next day. With time, some social support, and a few handy tools, you can change bad habits into good ones and reach your healthiest weight.
Maybe the whole process seems overwhelming or you’ve been doing your best and you do not see the results you need. There are professionals out there who can help you. In fact, it’s always a good idea to see your health care provider before you get started on any new diet or exercise program—especially if you have a health condition or if you’ve gained or lost a lot of weight and you don’t know why.
By Shereen Lehman, MS – Reviewed by a board-certified physician.
Updated September 09, 2016