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Being overweight

If you are struggling with your weight, you are not alone. Over 60% of Canadian adults are either overweight or obese.  This is a growing concern because being overweight or obese are major risk factors for heart disease and stroke.

By achieving and maintaining a healthy weight, you can significantly reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke.  A healthy weight can also help control other conditions such as high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol and diabetes.

We know that it isn't always easy to find the time to eat healthy foods and be active on a regular basis. Here are three easy ways to help you maintain a healthy weight.

1. Assess yourself

Waist circumference

If you're a man and your waist measures more than 102 centimetres (40 inches) or a woman whose waist measures more than 88 centimetres (35 inches), you are at increased risk of developing health problems such as heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. For persons of Chinese or South Asian descent you are at increased risk if your waist measure more than 90 centimetres (35 inches) for men or 80 centimetres (32 inches) for women. Learn how to measure your waist circumference.

BMI (Body Mass Index) 

Another way to determine if your weight falls within a healthy range is to calculate your Body Mass Index (BMI). BMI is a ratio of height and weight that allows for a range of weights to be associated with good health instead of just one ideal weight. Find out if your weight is putting you at risk for obesity-related diseases such as high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, diabetes and heart disease and stroke. Find your BMI.

2. Eat right

When it comes to your diet, variety is the key. Sample an array of foods that are nutritious, can help prevent disease and taste great. To create balanced meals that are moderate in portion size, follow Canada's Food Guide. For exclusive, heart-healthy recipes, visit our recipe file.

3. Get active

There are many important reasons for making physical activity part of your life. It's a great way to maintain a healthy weight, reduce high blood pressure, lower blood cholesterol levels, manage stress and cut your risk of heart disease and stroke. The Heart and Stroke Foundation recommends Canadians make active living part of their daily lives. Just 150 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity per week, in bouts of 10 minutes or more is all it takes to start. It is beneficial to spread the activity over several days a week.

Check out the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines to Healthy Active Living.

Tips for maintaining a healthy weight:

  • Eat a healthy diet and be physically active on a regular basis.
  • Lose weight slowly. Achieving a healthy weight is a long-term commitment.
  • Avoid fad diets.
  • Eat a diet that is lower in saturated and trans fats and includes fresh vegetables and fruit, complex carbohydrates and foods higher in fibre such as whole grain cereals and bread.
  • Use less fat in cooking. Bake, broil, steam, boil, microwave or barbeque your food.
  • Manage portion size. Divide your plate into four sections. Fill half your plate with vegetables and fill the remaining quarters with whole grains, meat or meat alternatives such as beans.
  • If overeating is your way of coping with stress, identify the source of your stress and learn new ways to cope.

For more information on healthy weight, please read our brochure Your Health Your Weight: Simple Steps to Making Healthy Choices.

For more information visit our section on Healthy Weight.

Last reviewed: March 2011.