Recipe For A Slimmer Waistline: One Part Balanced Diet, One Part Exercise

The key to leading a healthy lifestyle is simple: eat a balanced diet and exercise.

But as a registered dietitian, I understand that marrying these two things is more of an aspiration than a reality. Unfortunately, of the two, exercise is often found at the bottom of our list of priorities. And it is this disconnect that is driving poor health in our community.

“The Weight of the Nation,” a four-part HBO documentary that aired last week, took on the issue of Americans’ expanding waistlines from the angle of what’s in our refrigerators and pantries. The series focused heavily on certain foods and beverages as a reason for America’s weight problem, followed by lack of exercise.

The truth of the matter is studies show that calorie balance – that is, equalizing our food and drink consumption with calories burned through physical activity – is what truly makes the difference.

It’s well known that our physical environment also contributes to our ability to be active and healthy. Those living in safe, walkable communities with playgrounds, trails and parks are more likely to be active than those without that access.

Here in Southern California we spend more time behind the wheel than people in other regions of the U.S. where walking and biking are more common.

So even if we’re practicing the common-sense principle of eating in moderation, it’s difficult to reach optimal health if you live a mostly inactive lifestyle.

The current physical activity guidelines

for Americans, set by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, recommend adults do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week. Currently, only about half of Los Angeles County adults meet these physical activity recommendations.

Here’s what you can do to change that. With summer not too far off, you will likely find yourself outdoors more often because of warmer weather. Take advantage of the nice weather and engage in a few of these fun outdoor activities to help boost your fitness level:

Biking: Forget the sweaty cycling class at the gym. Biking is an enjoyable way to get around your neighborhood or spend a sunny Saturday afternoon.

Hiking: Head to the mountains or your local park for a leisurely stroll. Go at a pace that works for you.

Boot camp: These group exercise classes that focus on building strength and fitness often meet in parks and at the beach.

Walking: One of the simpler exercise habits to get going, walking is beneficial for weight management and lowering blood pressure.

Running: Whether you want to take a jog around the block or train for a marathon, running can be accessible to people of varied fitness levels.

Swimming: Jump into a pool or the ocean and work on your backstroke. If you are not a strong swimmer, consider taking lessons or a water aerobics class.

In addition to these activities, there are a lot of other simple ways we can integrate more activity into our daily routine without it feeling like a chore.

For example, walk to the store instead of driving, take the stairs instead of the elevator and do push-ups during television commercials. Set modest goals and be accountable for them. Find a friend or two to join you to help keep each other motivated.

Finally, be sure to stay hydrated when engaging in exercise, especially in the heat. The good news is you don’t have to stick to just plain water because all beverages hydrate – even those with caffeine such as coffee, tea and diet soda.

These are just a few ideas to help jump-start your exercise routine or bump up the intensity and frequency of your current one (always consult your physician if you have questions).

Keeping an eye on your health doesn’t have to be extreme. Just make sure that your recipe for fitness includes equal parts balanced diet and exercise. That can take you, and our community, a long way toward winning the battle with weight.

LeeAnn Weintraub, M.P.H., R.D., can be reached at RD@halfacup.com[1].


  1. ^ RD@halfacup.com (www.dailynews.com)

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  1. Reply

    Healthy Lifestyle………? I wanna start a healthy lifestyle but I dunno where to start, can you please help? I’d really appreciate that and by the way, I’m 16.

      • HealthNut
      • May 25, 2012

      Begin by giving up fast food it is so full of fat, sugar, carbs, and all the wrong things for you. My daughter gave up soda and lost 20 pounds because it is loaded with sugar. Eat fish not fried 2 to 3 times a week, chicken 2 to 3 times a week skinless, lots of vegetables, and fruit and you will be getting there.

  2. Reply

    What Is A Healthy Lifestyle For A 30 Year Old Male Adult? What foods should he be eating to be healthy?
    What can he do to become fit?

    Please also give me some tips on what a healthy lifestyle would be.

      • HealthNut
      • May 25, 2012

      Ummmm… these don’t seem like really hard questions

      foods= fruits, vegetables, meat (not too much), whole grains
      male adults should avoid eating too much sugar because sugar begets wrinkles

      fit?= get exercise, stop watching the TV and sitting on the damn sofa
      i recommend not eating late too

      pretty much common sense

      here’s my question about my apparent lack of a refractory period…

  3. Reply

    How The Computer Is Supporting Us In Our Healthy Lifestyle? How do computer helps people in their healthy lifestyle? How can The computer help people? Is it from websites? advertisements? I need it really badly. How can the computer is supporting to improve our healthy lifestyle. in what ways? How can computer promote the quality of healthy lifestyle. How can computer convince people to stop unnecessary things like drugs or alcohol? How can computer HELP us?
    AT least 6-8 points would do. thank you.

      • HealthNut
      • May 25, 2012

      The computer is not a healthy lifestyle for people. It programs us to thinking we can find everything on here. Jobs, pay bills, shop, everything! We can do that ourselves and it seems technology is taking the chores away from us, that can be easily done by human themself. The computer can help us though when we need to find information, imformation fast. Websites help us retain information, advertisements are just like commericals there just trying to sell or maniupulate us to buy whatever their advertising. The computer is not improving our healthy lifestyle. Peoples eyes can go out of sight and hurt very badly(like mine and i’m only 15 years old.) from years and years staring at the computer. The worst thing to stare at is a computer screen — I don’t know why I still do it for hours at end, but I do. The computer will never promote the quality of healthy lifestyle, its just not possible. The computer can convince people to stop drugs and alcohol but if you think about it would you rather have an obsession over the computer for hours at the day, you have to be near the computer you have to be on it then doing drugs or alcohol? The computer is just as bad addiction as alcohol and drugs. The computer cannot HELP us other then give us fast information when we need it. The computer although has so much information and so many untrusted sites you never know if what your reading is a lie. And I hope I get 10 points because I just wasted my time answering this long question, I hope you weren’t just asking this for the heck of this — I hope it was for some essay lol.

      Take care bye

    • Bob
    • May 25, 2012

    What Are Some Healthy Lifestyle Changes To Make? So I’ve started drinking more water. I drink Green, White, and Chai tea. I also bought the stainless steel water bottle, and I bike for about 20-30 minutes a day. I consider these healthy lifestyle changes. I was wondering if you could provide more suggestions along these lines.

      • HealthNut
      • May 25, 2012

      There are 5 elements in a healthy lifestyle.

      1. food
      2. exercise
      3. sleep
      4. happiness
      5. extra healthy things

      1. Food, we don’t really know that much about nutrition, we do know a blanced diet, with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables is good for you. Meat is pretty good, if it is lean and not eaten too often….ideally I might eat meat once or twice a week. A good healthy diet can include some indulgences.
      2. Exercise, you should do some. Though I don’t recommend routine exercise, cycle 2 or 3 times a week, join a social sports club, eg, tennis, go hiking on weekends, swimming is one of the best exercises for the whole body. If you vary your exercise, then you will enjoy it more and do more.
      3. Sleep. A lot of evidence says if you don’t get enough sleep you will have problems, eat more, metabolise your food differently and die young.
      4. Be happy, enjoy your life. Drink dance, eat chocolate, but not all day, everyday.
      5. Then there are all the little extras. eg, green tea (there is no such things as Chai tea….chai means tea, it is an indian word derived from the chinese word Cha, meaning tea), red wine, brocollie and beetroot, lots of things than can boost your body, ginger, garlice and hundreds of other things that you can add to your diet to make things a little better.

      Don’t obsess, don’t live by a book or a routine, just be healthy.

  4. Reply

    Why Is It Important To Live A Healthy Lifestyle And Avoid Illness? Why is it important to live a healthy lifestyle and avoid illness?

      • HealthNut
      • May 25, 2012

      Being unhealthy or sick stops you doing things you want to do. Being sick when you could have avoided it is a waste of other peoples time if they have to look after you

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