Ten Tips to Drop Pounds and Improve Your Health in 2012
(Washington, D.C.) – Losing weight is a popular New Year’s Resolution to make, but one of the hardest to achieve. The International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation can provide the resources necessary to help people convert good intentions into long-term success. For example, the following 10 tips, based on consumer insights from the Dietary Guidelines Alliance, can help individuals to maintain momentum toward a healthy weight and active lifestyle.
- Take charge of your weight. According to the 2011 IFIC Foundation Food & Health Survey, seven in 10 Americans are worried about their waistlines. Balancing the calories you eat and drink with calories you burn by being physically active puts you in control.
- Calories count. Calories are like a budget. Spend wisely by choosing lower-calorie, nutrient-rich foods most often to help manage your weight. Think of whole fruits and vegetables as being “on sale” and fill up! In fact, make half your plate fruits and vegetables!
- Know your number. Learning how many calories your body needs each day is a critical first step in managing your weight. Only 9 percent of Americans accurately estimate their calorie needs, leaving 91 percent who incorrectly estimate or are not willing to venture a guess. The USDA SuperTracker, a free online tool, provides reliable estimates of calorie needs based on height, weight, age and gender. Know your calorie budget and start being a “smart spender.”
- Enjoy your food, but eat less. This is a key Dietary Guidelines for Americans message. The average family spends only 20 minutes at a typical meal. Sit down and take smaller bites. Put your fork down while you chew. Chances are you will eat less and enjoy your food and your family more.
- Small steps = big changes. Serve smaller portions to help curb calories and keep your weight on track. American portions, plates and glasses have grown over the past couple of decades and you may be consuming more calories as a result. Select smaller serving dishes and utensils at home. When eating out, split appetizers and main courses with a friend.
- Base your plate on nutrient-rich foods. Choose fruits and vegetables, whole and enriched grains, lean meats, beans and nuts and low-fat and fat-free dairy foods more often. These foods offer beneficial nutrients and fewer calories. Visit kidnetic.com for family-tested recipes to plan plates that pack a nutrient punch with vibrant colors to match.
- Be a role model for your children. Show your family how to savor their favorite higher-calorie foods and beverages by enjoying smaller portions as part of a healthful diet. You would be surprised how much your habits impact the food choices of those around you—especially your family. “Show and share” how a healthful lifestyle can be fun for everyone!
- Every BODY wins. Time spent being physically active together is time well-spent. Studies show that kids with active parents are more likely to engage in physical activity and maintain a healthy weight. Being active together can help families stay connected and feel better. Being active together can help families stay connected and feel better.
- Fun stuff counts. Get active with the family whether it’s soccer in the backyard, dancing to music or taking a walk around the block. An additional 15 minutes of activity can burn up to 100 calories! “Play” is for everyone! It can be planned or spontaneous. Either way, make play a priority!
- Proceed with a plan. Start with some simple strategies. Consider creating a meal and/or exercise “rotation.” Prioritizing and planning can also be a “family affair.” Giving kids “ownership” to select among the healthful choices you provide builds their confidence and life-long healthful behaviors.
These are just a few tips to help you meet the Dietary Guidelines and reach your lifestyle goals. Give them a try, make up your own and share them with friends. For more tips and strategies, including how to pick a weight loss program that works, please visit the IFIC Foundation’s Weight Management Hot Topics page.
For more on the International Food Information Council Foundation’s resources or any other questions, please contact the Foundation media team at 202-296-6540 or Cohen@ific.org or Matthews@ific.org.