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Weight Management, Ambulatory Care

Why it is important to manage your weight:

Your risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes increase if you weigh more than you should. Being overweight can also increase your risk for osteoarthritis, sleep apnea, or other respiratory problems. Aim for a slow, steady weight loss. Even a small amount of weight loss can lower your risk for health problems.

How to lose weight safely:

A safe and healthy way to lose weight is to eat fewer calories and get regular exercise. You can lose up about 1 pound a week by decreasing the number of calories you eat by 500 calories each day. You can decrease calories by eating smaller portion sizes or by cutting out high-calories foods. Read labels to find out how many calories are in the foods you eat. You can also burn calories with exercise such as walking, swimming, or biking. You will be more likely to keep weight off if you make these changes part of your lifestyle.

Healthy meal plan for weight management:

You can eat a variety of foods and lose weight at the same time. A healthy meal plan can help you to eat fewer calories and stay healthy:

  • Eat whole-grain foods more often. A healthy meal plan should contain fiber. Fiber is the part of grains, fruits, and vegetables that is not broken down by your body. Whole-grain foods are healthy and provide extra fiber in your diet. Some examples of whole-grain foods are whole-wheat breads and pastas, oatmeal, brown rice, and bulgur.
  • Eat a variety of vegetables every day. Include dark, leafy greens such as spinach, kale, collard greens, and mustard greens. Eat yellow and orange vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes, and winter squash.
  • Eat a variety of fruits every day. Choose fresh or canned fruit (canned in its own juice or light syrup) instead of juice. Fruit juice has little or no fiber.
  • Eat low-fat dairy foods. Drink fat-free (skim) milk or 1% milk. Eat fat-free yogurt and low-fat cottage cheese. Try low-fat cheeses such as mozzarella and other reduced-fat cheeses.
  • Choose meat and other protein foods that are low in fat. Choose beans or other legumes such as split peas or lentils. Choose fish, skinless chicken or turkey, or lean cuts of beef or pork. Cut off any visible fat before you cook the food.
  • Use less fat and oil. Try baking foods instead of frying them. Add less margarine, sour cream, regular salad dressing, and mayonnaise to foods. Eat fewer high-fat foods such as french fries, doughnuts, ice cream, and cakes.
  • Eat fewer sweets. Limit foods and drinks that are high in sugar. This includes candy, cookies, regular soda, and sweetened drinks.

Ways to decrease calories:

  • Eat smaller portions.
    • Use a small plate with smaller servings.
    • Do not eat second helpings.
    • When you eat at a restaurant, ask for a box and place half of your meal in the box before you eat.
    • Share an entrée with someone else.
  • Replace high-calorie snacks with healthy, low-calorie snacks.
    • Choose fresh fruit, vegetables, fat-free rice cakes, or air-popped popcorn instead of potato chips, nuts, or chocolate.
    • Choose water or calorie-free drinks instead of soda or sweetened drinks.
  • Eat regular meals. Skipping meals can lead to overeating later in the day. Eat a healthy snack in place of a meal if you do not have time to eat a regular meal.
  • Do not shop for groceries when you are hungry. This can cause you to buy foods that are not healthy. Take a grocery list of healthy foods and shop after you have eaten.


Exercise at least 30 minutes per day on most days of the week. Walk, bike, dance, or swim. Take the stairs instead of the elevator or park further away from your building. Ask your healthcare provider about the best exercise plan for you.

Other things to consider as you try to lose weight:

  • Be aware of situations that may give you the urge to overeat, such as eating while watching television. Find ways to avoid these situations. For example, read a book, go for a walk, or do crafts.
  • Meet with a weight loss support group or friends who are also trying to lose weight. This may help you stay motivated to continue working on your weight loss goals.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

© 2016 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.