African American women have the highest rates of being overweight or obese compared to other groups in the U.S. Four out of every five African American women are overweight or obese.
Whether you're at risk of becoming obese, currently overweight or at a healthy weight, you can take steps to prevent unhealthy weight gain and related health problems. Not surprisingly, the steps to prevent weight gain are the same as the steps to lose weight:
- Exercise regularly. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, you need to get 150 to 250 minutes of moderate-intensity activity a week to prevent weight gain.
- Eat healthy meals and snacks. Focus on low-calorie, nutrient-dense foods, such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Avoid saturated fats and limit sweets and alcohol. You can still enjoy small amounts of high-fat, high-calorie foods as an infrequent treat.Just be sure to choose foods that promote a healthy weight and good health more often than you choose foods that don't.
- Know and avoid the food traps that cause you to eat. Identify situations that trigger out-of-control eating. Try keeping a journal and write down what you eat, how much you eat, how you're feeling and how hungry you are. After a while, you should see patterns emerge. You can plan ahead and develop strategies for handling these types of situations and stay in control of your eating behaviors.
- Monitor your weight regularly. People who weigh themselves at least once a week are more successful in keeping off excess pounds. Monitoring your weight can tell you whether your efforts are working and can help you detect small weight gains before they become big problems.
- Be consistent. Sticking to your healthy-weight plan during the week, on the weekends, and amidst vacation and holidays as much as possible increases your chance of long-term success.