Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight

Managing your weight doesn't have to mean altering your life dramatically. Take small steps, aim modestly and realistically, and then build from there. A small, steady weight loss of ½ to 1 Kg (one or two pounds) a week is much easier to attain and healthier for your heart than a larger drop. Research also shows that you'll be much more likely to keep it off.

What to eat

Eat more vegetables and fruit. Aim to fill half your plate to vegetables and fruit at every meal and snack. Switch to whole-grain breads and cereals whenever possible to help you feel full.

Choose protein from a variety of food sources such as beans and lentils, nuts and seeds, lower-fat milk, yoghurt and cheese, lean meats, poultry and fish.

Choose a wide variety of healthy foods  such as colourful red peppers and dark green leafy lettuce, whole-grain bread, legumes, beans, tofu, lower-fat milk, lean meat, and nuts (in moderation), to nourish your body with essential nutrients.

Read the Nutrition Facts table on all food labels to assess the amount of calories, saturated fats, sugar and salt a product may contain. Also look at the Nutrition Fact table for the inclusion of healthy nutrients such as protein, fibre, vitamins A and C, iron and calcium.

Avoid highly processed foods which are a major source of saturated fat, sugar and sodium. Highly processed foods have many ingredients, are usually in a package and need little preparation. These foods include:

  • Processed meats (eg. Hot dogs, burgers, deli meats)
  • Fried foods (eg. French fries, onion rings)
  • Frozen meals (eg. pizza, pasta side dishes)
  • Snack foods (eg. chips, crackers, donuts, cookies).
What to drink
  • Drink lots of water throughout the day. 
  • Choose plain lower-fat milk (skim, 1%).
  • Avoid pop, sugary drinks, fruit juice and alcohol.
How much to eat
  • Make portions a reasonable size – avoid supersized portions and second helpings. 
  • Use smaller plates, bowls and cups.
  • Fill up half of your plate with vegetables and fruit, then a quarter with whole grains, and the last quarter with protein foods.
When to eat
  • Eat three meals and two healthy snacks a day, at regularly spaced intervals. 
  • Make sure you eat breakfast. People who eat breakfast tend to maintain a healthy weight.
How to eat
  • Eat slowly, enjoying the flavours and textures. 
  • Make mealtime a social activity with family and friends, which may prevent bingeing.
  • Avoid unconscious eating at your desk, in your car or in front of the TV.
Be physically active

Adults (18 to 64 years of age) and older adults (65 and older) should aim for 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity per week.

Just 30 minutes a day of moderate activity, such as a brisk walk, most days of the week, not only helps you lose weight, but is also a key factor in keeping it off over the long term.

Canada’s Physical Activity Guidelines recommend that adults 18 to 65 and older get at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per week. Try using a pedometer to motivate you to be active every day by tracking your steps.

Healthy waist

Measuring waist circumference can help to assess obesity-related health risk. Even at a healthy weight, excess fat carried around the waist can increase your risk of high blood pressure, high [blood] cholesterol, heart disease and type-2 diabetes. The best way to find out if your waistline is increasing your risk of heart disease is to measure it. Learn more about Healthy weight and waists.