Nutrition and Exercise
Maintain a Healthy Weight
The number of adults who weigh more than they should has doubled in the last 20 years. This is mainly because of the types of foods we eat and not being active enough.
Those who weigh too much are at risk for health problems like:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
These conditions can put you at risk for serious health problems. They can also cause people to suffer or even die at a young age.
Tips that can make a big change in weight:
Let culture and background guide food selection
Look to your culture and background as a guide. A diet from your culture is better for you than fast food or processed food. This is because diets grounded in culture are based on fresh foods. Processed food may have started out as fresh food, but by the time it gets to us it is a fake product to our bodies. Ask yourself: is this a food that my grandparents or great-grandparents could have eaten? If the answer is no, then don’t eat it.
Drink water rather than soda or fruit juice. Make soda a treat that you have once a week.
Eat these foods more often:
- Chicken, turkey, fish, beans, peas
- Fruits and veggies (5 helpings - 1 helping is 1/2 to 1 cup)
- Nonfat or low fat milk or yogurt, low fat cheese, low fat cottage cheese
- Baked, boiled, broiled or steamed foods
- Whole wheat bread, bagels, tortillas, rice, pasta
Limit fatty foods - eat these foods less often:
- Chips, cookies, pastries, French fries, crackers
- Ice cream, flavored milk, candy, juice bars
- Pan friend or deep-fat fried foods
- Hot dogs, bacon, cold cuts
- Butter, oils, gravy
Some Tricks to Better Eating Habits:
- Eat three balanced meals a day and plan for two snacks each day.
- Have breakfast every day, even if you are short on time.
- Eat meals as a family as often as you can at table. If you are single, plan meals and sit at table to eat. Do not sit in front of the TV during meal times. Watching TV during meals tends to increase the amount eaten in absence of feeling hungry.
- Keep healthy foods within easy reach at home, school and/or work. Keep “junk” foods out of the house.
- Limit eating at fast food places to once a week. Fast food tends to be high in salt, fat and calories. Avoid “supersized” meals and drinks.
- Listen to your body. Eat only when you are hungry, not because something looks good.
Exercise is part of getting to and maintaining a healthy weight. It is part of a healthy lifestyle. Our long human history of hunting and gathering in order to survive have given us bodies that are very efficient in storing fat for future need. Nowadays we don’t need to work so hard, but our bodies are still programmed to store fat. Exercise tricks the body into giving up that fat.
Talk to your doctor about what type and how much exercise to do if you:
- Have not been active for a long time
- Have any health problems
- Are pregnant
- Are over the age of 60
How to get started:
Choose an exercise you like to do
Try to vary the type of exercise you do to increase the health benefits and prevent boredom and injury. Think in terms of:
- Large muscle exercise: walking, jogging, dancing, bicycling, swimming. Walking is a good choice for beginners. You only need a good pair of shoes. Walking is good for your heart and lungs.
- Strength training exercise: Push ups, sit ups, weights
Begin and end an exercise session with 5 minutes of slow movement or gentle stretches
Listen to your body. You are exercising too hard if you:
- Feel pain anywhere in your body
- Have problems breathing
- Feel weak, faint or dizzy
Stop exercising and call your doctor or 911 if you have:
- Pain or pressure in your chest, left neck, shoulder or arm
- Sudden dizziness
- Cold sweat
The Alliance has resources for the control of asthma:
- Walking Kit
- Tip flyers
(510) 747-4567 or 1-877-371-2222
CRS 711 / TTY 1-800-735-2929
Monday – Friday
8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.