National Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
Strive for a Healthy Weight
Strive for a healthy weight. Managing your weight helps you stay healthy now and in the future.
Maintaining a healthy weight can help you feel better and have more energy. It can also help prevent and control many chronic diseases and conditions. Having overweight or obesity increases your risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol problems, heart disease, gallbladder disease, female health disorders, arthritis, some types of cancer, and sleep apnea. If you currently have overweight or obesity, losing as little as 5-10% of your current body weight can lower your risks for these diseases.
A simple way to know if you are currently at a healthy weight is to know your body mass index (BMI). You can use a BMI Calculator to determine your current weight status. Maintaining a healthy weight means balancing the number of calories you eat with the calories your body uses or burns:
- If you maintain your weight, you are “in balance.” You are eating close to the same number of calories that your body is using. Your weight will remain stable.
- If you are losing weight, you are eating fewer calories than you are using. Your body is burning its fat storage cells for energy, so you will lose weight.
- If you are gaining weight, you are eating more calories than your body is using. These extra calories will be stored as fat, and you will gain weight.
- Adopt healthy lifestyle habits. Develop and nurture connections with others and look for purpose and meaning in your life. Fulfilling your social, emotional, and spiritual needs restores food to its rightful place as a source of nourishment and pleasure.
- Find joy in moving your body and becoming more physically active in your everyday life. Strive to include at least 2½ hours each week of moderate-intensity activity.
- Eat when you are hungry, pay attention to when you are full, and seek satisfying foods, such as sources of fiber and protein that you enjoy.
- Tailor your tastes so that you enjoy more nutritious foods. Use more herbs and spices to gradually reduce excess salt, sugar, and dietary fat. Know that there is still room for less nutritious choices in the context of an overall healthy diet and lifestyle.
- Trust yourself. We all have internal systems designed to keep us healthy and at a healthy weight. Support your body in finding its appropriate weight by paying attention to signals of hunger, fullness, and appetite.
- Make a commitment. The decision to change to a healthier lifestyle and lose weight is a big step. Start by making a commitment to yourself. Writing down the reasons you want to lose weight. Focus on the many benefits you could experience with weight loss including improved sleep, better mood, decreased pain, improved blood pressure or blood sugar control.
If you want to learn more about managing your weight, talk with your VA health care team. For tools, resources, and programs to help you achieve a healthy weight, talk to a member of your facility’s MOVE!® team. They can also help if you have questions about making a healthy living change.
- VHA National Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention (NCP):
- MOVE!® Weight Management Program for Veterans:
- Achieving and Maintaining a Healthy Weight:
- Veterans Health Library: