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Courtney Davis

Because we all lead different lifestyles, it is no surprise that dieting is not “one-size-fits-all.” Therefore, it is important to follow a healthy eating regimen that is tailored to you and your daily needs. Sticking to a diet that is custom to you will both give you the energy that your body requires and help combat obesity and weight gain.

According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, carrying too much body fat may have harmful effects on your health. More than one-third of U.S. adults are obese, which is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of more than 30. There are many contributing factors that cause obesity, most of which can be prevented or regulated. Some of these factors include:

  • Genetics and family history.
  • Medications.
  • Lifestyle habits.
  • Eating behaviors.
  • Stress.
  • Too little sleep.
  • Medical problems.

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension specialist David Leal recommends creating long-term goals that are broken down into achievable steps — those then become goals that are focused on daily.

“We often feel like there are so many things we need to change; eat better, exercise more, lose weight, lower cholesterol,” Leal said. “However, this can become overwhelming. Remember that progress, no matter how small or slow, is still progress.”

Leal said when approaching weight loss, follow these simple lifestyle changes that can be easily incorporated into your daily routine:

  • Eat a calorie-controlled diet.
  • Participate in physical activity (150 minutes of moderate-intensity each week is recommended for adults).
  • Try behavior therapy (recognizing triggers for eating).

While exercising is a key component in being healthy, failure to eat a well-balanced and nutritious diet is often the limiting factor that keeps people from becoming the healthiest version of themselves.

For weight loss, or improving any chronic disease, eating two to three servings of vegetables a day can make a tremendous impact. Add balance to your meals by making half of your plate fruits and vegetables while decreasing the amount of protein and starches, such as meat and potatoes.

To help keep your eating habits on track, follow these simple steps from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics:

  • Eat breakfast.
  • Make half your plate fruits and vegetables.
  • Fix healthy snacks.
  • Drink more water.
  • Reduce added sugars.
  • Cook homemade meals.
  • Explore new foods and flavors.
  • Experiment with plant-based meals.
  • Eat slower.

If you want to stay on the straight and narrow by eating healthy but are looking to mix up your mealtime routine with new recipes, visit AgriLife Extension’s Dinner Tonight to choose from a variety of healthy meals like flatbread pizza, Mediterranean chicken, taco boats and even desserts like banana chia bread, pistachio cake and unicorn popsicles.

For more information, contact me at 940-349-2882 or

COURTNEY DAVIS is the family and community health county extension agent with Texas AgriLife Extension.

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