Doctor weighing man on scale.

The Importance of Maintaining a Healthy Weight

You deserve to live a full and productive life. Get the support you need to manage your weight and stay healthy!

Maintaining a healthy weight is about more than fitting into a particular size or looking a certain way. A healthy weight can help prevent many harmful health conditions and provide you with the energy and good health results you need to live a long, full and productive life.

Several factors can contribute to your ability to maintain a healthy weight, including your genes, age, and family history. However, you control many other factors that affect your health, such as nutritious eating, physical activity, stress management, and sleep habits.

Learn more about why it’s important to maintain a healthy weight and what you can do to get there.

Why Does My Weight Matter?

There are several ways being overweight or obese can negatively impact your health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people who are overweight are at increased risk for many serious diseases and health conditions, including:

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Sleep apnea and breathing problems
  • Many types of cancer
  • Mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety

Losing a modest amount of weight, such as 5-10 percent of your current weight, can help lower your risks for these diseases. For example, if you currently weigh 200 pounds, losing 10-20 pounds could provide you with tremendous health benefits.

How Do I Know If My Weight Is Healthy?

Finding out your body mass index, or BMI, is one way to learn if your weight is healthy. You can find BMI calculators online, which ask you to input your height and weight. Based on these numbers, the calculator will provide you with your BMI and indicate whether it falls into a range that’s considered healthy, underweight, overweight, or obese.

However, it’s important to note that many factors play a role in your weight as healthy bodies look different for everyone. Having an honest conversation with your health care provider is a good idea before you begin to make major changes. Your health care provider can not only help you understand your BMI, but also how your genes, health history, and age all play a role. Together, you can establish a healthy weight range for you to maintain.

Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Weight

  • Talk to your health care provider. Establish a healthy weight range for your body and discuss concrete ways to manage your weight, such as becoming more active, eating healthier foods, or making other lifestyle changes. You and your health care provider can also explore additional weight loss measures if necessary, such as medication or surgery.
  • Involve others. It’s difficult to establish a healthier lifestyle if you have to do it alone. Get your friends and family on board too. Hold each other accountable, encourage each other to be more active, and exchange healthy recipes. You can even set up challenges or daily check-ins to stay motivated.
  • Take care of your emotional and mental health. Many of us can draw a connection between our emotions and our weight. When we’re stressed, it can play a role in what we eat, how much we move, and how much we sleep. Check out The Six Pillars of Wellness: Your Guide to a Healthier, Happier You to learn how to improve your mental and emotional health.
  • Young woman eating fresh vegetable salad.Eat well. Maintaining a healthy weight isn’t about dieting or limiting yourself to certain types of food. It’s more about listening to your body and fueling it with the right foods.
  • Group of senior women exercising.Get moving. Exercise is an important part of maintaining a healthy weight. The CDC recommends that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity each week.
  • Get enough sleep. Insufficient sleep has been linked to a number of chronic conditions, such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and more. The CDC recommends adults get seven or more hours of sleep a night.
  • Pay attention to what you drink. It’s important to stay hydrated, and water is the best way to do it. H2O: Are You Getting Enough? provides ideas for increasing your water intake. It’s also important to avoid sugary drinks. The CDC states that sugary drinks are the leading source of added sugars in the American diet and this includes soda, fruit drinks, sports drinks, and flavored coffees. Eliminating or reducing the number of sugary drinks you consume can go a long way in maintaining a healthy weight.
  • Make a commitment. Take the time to understand why maintaining a healthy weight is so important. If you have a “why” behind your lifestyle changes or a commitment you’ve made to yourself or others, it can give you the motivation you need when you don’t feel like taking a walk or making a healthy snack.
  • Focus on small changes you notice. You may not drop weight as fast as you’d like, but what other changes do you notice? Maybe you’re sleeping better, or your new exercise routine is putting you in a better mood. Maybe your blood pressure numbers are lower than your last checkup. These are all important changes! Be sure to celebrate each success.
  • Set reachable goals. It’s great to have a big end goal in mind, but consider focusing on smaller goals first to stay motivated, such as drinking more water or walking for 15 minutes every night after dinner.
  • Get the support you deserve. Maintaining a healthy weight involves looking at many aspects of your lifestyle, from increasing the amount of activity you get to improving your diet and reducing your stress levels. If you need support, talk to your health care team and check out the resources below.


VA’s MOVE! Program is a free weight management program that focuses on healthy eating, physical activity, and the tools and strategies you need to be successful. You’ll have access to the MOVE! Veteran workbook (full of activities and info on menu planning, stress management, physical activity, and more), a MOVE! coordinator (located at every VA medical center), specific treatment options available at your facility (including group sessions, a mobile app to help you track your progress, weight loss medications, and more).

You deserve to live a full and productive life. Get the support you need to manage your weight and stay healthy!

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