How to Maintain a Healthy Plus-Sized Body

By Kathryn Rateliff Barr, Demand Media

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that almost one-third of adult Americans are overweight and an additional one-third are obese. The CDC estimates that approximately one in six children are obese. This means many plus-sized Americans need and want to maintain a healthy body despite being overweight. Sensible lifestyle choices, including weight reduction, can help you remain healthy while living in a plus-sized body.

Step 1Eat a healthy diet that includes two to three servings of vegetables and fruit, one to two servings of low-glycemic carbohydrates, one serving of protein and a single serving of healthy fat per meal. Low glycemic foods do not raise your blood suger is as high as high-glycemic foods do. Low glycemic carbs include brown rice, fresh berries, sweet potatoes and whole-wheat pasta. Choose low-sugar and low-fat foods for meals and for snacking. For example, snack on raw nuts, popcorn or vegetables. Eat fewer processed foods and fast foods. This will reduce calories, salt, sugar and the cost of your meals. Take leftovers to work instead of grabbing a burger and fries, for example.
Step 2Get active and exercise at least three days per week. The CDC recommends 150 minutes per week of medium-intensity aerobics or 75 minutes of high-intensity aerobics and two days of strength training per week. Walk instead of taking the elevator if you are going up one or two flights or going down up to three flights. Park your car in outlying parking spaces so that you can get in more walking. Recruit friends to exercise with you during lunch hours or during your free time. Include flexibility stretches in your routine. Join a fitness class or gym that caters to plus-sized patrons if you feel too self-conscious to work out in a regular class. If you have lived a sedentary life, begin slowly and increase as your fitness improves.
Step 3Sleep seven to eight hours each night. A Mayo Clinic study presented at the American Heart Association’s Epidemiology and Prevention/Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism 2012 Scientific Sessions conference reported that insufficient sleep leads to weight gain. Lack of sleep alters amounts of leptin and ghrelin, body chemicals that tell you when you are hungry and when you have had enough to eat.
Step 4Reduce your stress levels. Stress can lead you to eat when you aren’t hungry and increase your weight. Stress eating often leads you to consume high-fat and high-sugar foods. Experiment with meditation, yoga, deep breathing and biofeedback to reduce anxiety and feel more in control. Prayer and counseling may also help you find healthy ways to deal with stress.
Step 5Get regular checkups to catch health problems such as diabetes and high blood pressure early or before they become chronic conditions. Your health care provider may offer various lifestyle solutions to improve your health and guarantee that you live a long and fit life. This may include losing weight by increasing your exercise routine and eating smaller portions. Strengthening exercises will build muscle mass and increase your metabolism, although you may not initially see a significant difference on the scale, as heavier muscle replaces fat.