Many factors contribute to a weight problem -- biology, habits learned before you can even remember, and how easy it is buy huge portions of high-fat, high-sugar food. It may seem like the deck is stacked against anyone trying to fight obesity.
The often-quoted advice "Eat right and exercise" simply isn't the whole answer to this complex problem. That's why the FIT Platform includes four parts: FOOD, MOVE, MOOD, and RECHARGE. Learning how to live a lifestyle that includes a healthy focus on all four can help you win the weight battle.
Achieving a healthy weight and fitness is really "about being healthy," says Chris Tiongson, MD, a pediatrician with Sanford Health, WebMD's FIT educational partner. And that requires "a balance between mind, body, and spirit, and having everything be in sync," he says.
Using FOOD to Manage Weight
Of the four areas in the FIT Platform, FOOD probably has the most direct affect on weight. If you eat too much of any kind of food, you'll gain weight.
But it's harder to eat too much of foods that are "low-density" -- meaning they are low in calories relative to their portion size. Low-density foods include fruits, vegetables, legumes, and cooked whole grains like wild or brown rice and oatmeal. The goal is to use these foods as the base of your diet, so you have less room for those high-fat, high-calorie foods like baked goods, fried foods, and junk food.
How to MOVE to Manage Weight
When a family moves together, it can help family members maintain a healthy weight -- or lose excess pounds. It's hard to lose weight with exercise alone. But combining healthy, low-fat eating with moving your body makes it easier to create a calorie deficit. And that's what you need in order to lose weight.
To lose weight, you need to:
- Exercise to burn off the calories you eat that your body doesn’t need.
- Eat fewer calories than your body needs to maintain your current weight.
Many people find splitting the difference between eating less and exercising more is easier because they don't feel as deprived. Plus, the more you exercise, the more muscle you build, and muscle helps you burn calories even when you're resting.
Cope With MOOD to Manage Weight
When stress becomes chronic, it can lead into a downward spiral of poor health habits -- and even weight gain. A recent article that reviewed studies evaluating the link between being overweight and depression found that overweight adults are more likely to become depressed. The study revealed that the opposite was also true: People who are depressed are more likely to become overweight or obese.
The risk extends to children. A study found that children who identified themselves as overweight or obese were more likely to be depressed as adults.