Maintaining a Health Weight

March 22, 2024

People often bring up the issue of weight gain with me, something that makes them feel anxious, on top of all the other things that are going on in their life.

Maintaining a healthy weight after leaving the military can be challenging due to changes in routine, activity level, and dietary habits. Here are some tips that can hopefully help you keep your weight down:

  1. Stay Active: Incorporate regular physical activity into your daily routine. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity per week, along with muscle-strengthening exercises on two or more days per week.
  2. Find a New Fitness Routine: Explore different types of exercise to find activities you enjoy. This could include running, cycling, swimming, hiking, group fitness classes, or team sports. Having a variety of activities can help keep your workouts interesting and prevent boredom.
  3. Set Realistic Goals: Set achievable goals for weight management and fitness. Focus on making gradual, sustainable changes rather than aiming for rapid weight loss. Celebrate your progress along the way to stay motivated.
  4. Monitor Your Diet: Pay attention to your dietary habits and make healthier choices. Include plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats in your meals. Limit your intake of processed foods, sugary drinks, and high-calorie snacks. For most people, the biggest effect can be observed when removing sugars from your diet.
  5. Practice Portion Control: Be mindful of portion sizes to avoid overeating. Use smaller plates, measure serving sizes, and listen to your body’s hunger and fullness cues. Avoid eating out of boredom or stress.
  6. Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated and help control hunger. Sometimes, thirst can be mistaken for hunger, so try drinking water before reaching for snacks.
  7. Manage Stress: Find healthy ways to cope with stress, as stress can contribute to emotional eating and weight gain. Practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, yoga, or spending time outdoors.
  8. Get Adequate Sleep: Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep per night. Lack of sleep can disrupt hunger hormones and increase cravings for unhealthy foods, making it harder to maintain a healthy weight.
  9. Fasting/Intermittent Fasting/Time Restricted Eating: There are a number of longevity focussed medical professionals, particularly in the USA that encourage this form of diet, especially to those of us over 40.  If you google this, please only learn from those with a formal medical background and not some former celebrity or other nutrition coach whose training  certificate is still wet from the print.
  10. Seek Support: Surround yourself with supportive friends, family members, or fellow veterans who can encourage and motivate you on your weight management journey. Consider joining a fitness group or online community for additional support and accountability. There a number of gyms that have been set up by ex forces personnel and these may suit you better.

Remember that maintaining a healthy weight is a lifelong journey, and it’s normal to face challenges along the way. Don’t berate yourself if you’ve put on a few extra kgs after a birthday weekend; it will come off again. Be patient with yourself, stay consistent with your efforts, and seek professional help if needed.

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