Many Veterans enjoy making New Year’s resolutions to improve their health and well-being. For those wanting to make healthy lifestyle changes, VA’s MOVE! Weight Management Program is ready to help you manage your weight, eat wisely and be more physically active. To assist you in your efforts, VA is promoting the third week of January as Healthy Weight Week.
The MOVE! Program offers useful tools to help you develop lasting habits that empower you to manage your weight and health more effectively than short-term diets.
Set your goals
Start by writing down your motivation to manage your weight and improve your health. You may find it easier to maintain healthy habits if you remain mindful of your reasons to change. For you, it may be as simple as wanting to be more active with your children or grandchildren. Others might want more energy to pursue their favorite hobbies, work or household activities.
Ask your healthcare provider what you can do now to stay healthy. Managing your weight can help you manage other health conditions, such as heart disease, hypertension and diabetes. It is important to set a realistic goal that you can achieve. Losing 5% of your body weight can reduce your risk of many chronic conditions.
We are all different, so your weight goal will be unique. So, too, will the actions you take to improve your health.
Make a plan
Next, consider any lifestyle changes that you want to make to improve your health. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many Veterans are experiencing stress, isolation and reduced availability of healthy foods and exercise resources. VA MOVE! clinicians will help support and encourage you to look for creative ways to be more active and make healthy food choices.
Scheduling time to walk, participating in a gym or yoga class, or tasks around the house like gardening are simple ways to reduce stress and boost both your activity and self-esteem. When you cook with vegetables, whole grains, fruits and lean proteins, you can be proud of the meal you’ve made and limit the highly processed foods that you eat.
Keep track of your progress
Once you have established your goal and your weight management plan, you will be ready to track your progress. Keeping track of the food you eat and the activities you do each day will make it easier to meet your weight loss goals. You may also find that tracking helps you build confidence and focus on the ways you can reach your health goals.
When you reach a goal, find a reasonable way to reward yourself. Your reward may be a new workout outfit, competing in a fitness competition like a 5K Walk/Run, or attending a sporting event. It’s important to reward yourself for your hard work and to keep your motivation and commitment.
A new year – a healthier you
Having a healthy body also includes maintaining a positive self-image. Accepting your body is important. Your MOVE! team will help you find the right tools to empower yourself and gain a positive mindset about your body. Remember that people come in all sizes, shapes and colors. When you take care of your body and mind, you improve your quality of life and live longer, too!
Are you ready to take the next step toward a healthier weight and a healthier you?
You can also read MOVE! Success Stories from Veterans like you at https://www.move.va.gov/SuccessStories/index.asp.