Your behaviors include nearly every decision you make and can greatly impact your health. Do you grab a quick bite from a fast-food restaurant or pack a healthy lunch? Do you make time to exercise? Are your behaviors influencing your family’s behaviors, too? This section discusses easy ways you can make healthy lifestyle choices. Changing your habits and behaviors can be difficult, but it’s possible with the right tools and support, such as working with a healthcare provider.
Understanding Health and Nutrition
Most people do not spend time thinking about the complex systems that make up our bodies. Our food and physical activity choices can either help or harm our bodies, but we often neglect to consider this. Learning more about your body and how to nourish it is essential for improving your health and managing your weight. There are a variety of ways you can learn more about health and nutrition, including the following options:
Talking to Your Healthcare Provider (HCP) – Discussing your weight with your HCP is a great first step. It is important to be prepared for your first visit. Here is a list of things to have on hand for your discussion.
- A food journal that shows all foods and beverages you consumed for one week
- A list of any and all physical activity for the same period of time
- A list of any and all medical conditions you have, as well as medical conditions in your family, including diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, etc.
- A list of all prescription medications, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements you take on a regular basis.
Meeting with a Registered Dietitian (RD) – Registered dietitians are nutrition experts who can help you learn about eating well, meal planning, and how to make dietary changes that can improve your health. Choosing nutritious foods in appropriate portion sizes can be difficult, but an RD can help you:
- Make meal plans that work for you
- Learn about food and how it affects your weight and health
- Develop nutritional goals
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is a professional society where most registered dietitians are members. The Academy has an online tool to help you locate a dietitian in your area or ask your primary care provider (PCP) to refer you. You can find this tool at EatRight.org/find-a-nutrition-expert.
Your everyday choices are your behaviors. They include everything from how much sleep you get each night to what you have for lunch and if you take the stairs or the elevator. Your behaviors join together to form your lifestyle. Making lifestyle modifications is key to managing your weight and health. Finding modifications that work and are sustainable long-term can be difficult, but they will also give you the greatest results in your weight-loss journey.