48 MDG tips for healthy lifestyle success

Fresh fruits and vegetables line Commissary shelves at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, Oct. 14. Maintaining a healthy diet is an integral part of weight management and living a healthy lifestyle. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Abby L. Finkel)

Fresh fruits and vegetables line Commissary shelves at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, Oct. 14. Maintaining a healthy diet is an integral part of weight management and living a healthy lifestyle. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Abby L. Finkel)

An Airmen works out at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, Oct. 17. A key factor to maintaining a long-term fitness routine is finding exercises that are enjoyable and personalized to the individual. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Abby L. Finkel)

An Airmen works out at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, Oct. 17. A key factor to maintaining a long-term fitness routine is finding exercises that are enjoyable and personalized to the individual. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Abby L. Finkel)

Clayton Cates, 48th Aerospace Medical Squadron Health Promotion dietician and nutritionist, teaches a class at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, Oct. 13. The class, ‘Lose Weight and Keep it Off,’ is part of the October RUFit Health Series offered by the Health Promotion office. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Abby L. Finkel)

Clayton Cates, 48th Aerospace Medical Squadron Health Promotion dietician and nutritionist, teaches a class at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, Oct. 13. The class, ‘Lose Weight and Keep it Off,’ is part of the October RUFit Health Series offered by the Health Promotion office. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Abby L. Finkel)

ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England -- The key to losing weight and keeping it off is to develop healthy eating and exercise habits that can be maintained long-term.

Programs available on base, such as the Health Promotion office, can help guide Airmen and their families on healthy weight management strategies.

“It’s about calories in and calories out,” said Clayton Cates, 48th Aerospace Medical Squadron Health Promotion dietician and nutritionist. “There are two pieces to that puzzle, what you’re consuming, how much, and how active you are. It’s about balancing those two things out, eating healthier and exercising more.”

Diets can cause immediate weight-loss, but might not be something that can be sustained indefinitely. When the diet ends, weight gain is a possibility.

“You have to ask yourself, ‘Is this something I can do long-term?,’” Cates said. “Find something that works for you and stick with it."

Adequate exercise also needs to be consistently maintained for good health and finding an exercise routine that is enjoyable and personalized to the individual can help.

“Find something fun,” Cates said. “Find something you like to do. The key here is that you do it on a regular basis.”

Cynthia Neldner, 48th AMDS Health Promotion program coordinator, found her passion in distance running.

“I started running about seven or eight years ago,” Neldner said. “At the time, I was overweight and just needed to get out and do something for myself.”

Neldner discovered she enjoyed running, which helped her continue exercising. She began signing up for races and finding people to run with to help her stay motivated.

“It’s harder to do it by yourself,” Neldner said. “If you can find a friend or a group to run with, that’s even better. If it’s cold and wet and you don’t want to get up and go running, you have that person waiting for you.”

Weight management can be difficult, but help is available. The Health Promotion office has services available to Airmen and their families, including education classes focusing on fitness and proper nutrition.