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Healthy Weight - it's not a diet, it's a lifestyle!

When it comes to weight loss, there's no lack of fad diets promising fast results. But such diets limit your nutritional intake, can be unhealthy, and tend to fail in the long run.

The key to achieving and maintaining a healthy weight isn't about short-term dietary changes. It's about a lifestyle that includes healthy eating, regular physical activity, and balancing the number of calories you consume with the number of calories your body uses.

Staying in control of your weight contributes to good health now and as you age.

These days, a wealth of nutrition information is at your finger tips. From diet books to newspaper articles, everyone seems to have an opinion about what you should be eating. It's no secret that good nutrition plays an essential role in maintaining health.
While you already know it is important to eat a healthy diet, you may find it more difficult to sort through all of the information about nutrition and food choices.


How much of each food group should I eat?

To learn this, you'll want to refer to a healthy eating plan. A healthy eating plan will show you how much you need from each food group to stay within your calorie needs and promote good health. A healthy eating plan can also help you learn—

  • How many calories you need each day.
  • How much of each food equals a portion.
  • How to make healthy choices in each food group.

What are some examples of healthy eating plans?

Two examples of healthy eating plans are identified by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005:

mypyramid.gov MyPyramid.gov (based on The USDA Food Guide)
DASH eating   plan The DASH Eating Plan

Choose the meal plan that works best for you.

For example, if you want recommendations specific to you, you might choose MyPyramid.gov by visiting the My Pyramid Plan and entering your age, sex, height, weight, and physical activity level.

Here's some more information to help you choose:

  MyPyramid.gov DASH Eating Plan
Where did it come from? The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Guide is the basis for the eating plans offered through MyPyramid.gov.
MyPyramid.gov was developed to help individuals create meal plans specific to their needs and takes into account the following:
·Physical activity level
DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. 
Developed by researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to learn if certain nutrients in foods would help reduce blood pressure. Studies showed that the eating plan, particularly when combined with eating less sodium, lowered blood pressure.
Although the plan was developed to help lower blood pressure, it offers a healthy approach to eating that can benefit all adults.
What is available to help me? Tools to develop individualized eating plans, tips for following them, and tools for tracking progress. Information about food groups, serving sizes, sample menus, and recipes.
Where can I go for more information? See MyPyramid.gov. See The DASH Eating Plan.

How do foods with extra fats or sugars fit?

Some foods contain added fats or sugars. Both food plans have categories to help you include these foods in your diet occasionally. The DASH plan has a fats and oils category and a sweets and added sugars category. MyPyramid.gov has an oils category and a discretionary calories category.



Important Note: Before starting any diet or any nutritional plan consult a trained nutritionist or medical doctor who is familiar with your case history and specific dietary needs.