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Maintaining a healthy weight

Keeping to a healthy weight is important, however, we all know how easy it is for weight to creep up or drop off without us noticing, so check regularly that your weight is within a healthy range.

One way of doing this is by finding out your Body Mass Index (BMI). Use the BMI calculator on NHS Choices to calculate yours.

Worried about a poor appetite or unwanted weight loss?

If you’re finding it difficult to eat enough, this can result in you lacking essential vitamins and minerals, feeling tired, depressed and low on energy. It may also result in you losing weight.

If you only feel like eating a little, it’s important that the food you do eat is nourishing.

  • Eat two to three small meals and a few snacks every day. Snack on yoghurt, cheese and crackers, toast with a savoury topping, a milky drink, a fruit smoothie, or breakfast cereal with milk, rather than biscuits and sweets. 
  •  Keeping active will help improve your appetite. Try going for a short walk every day or find another activity you enjoy that keeps you on the move. If you find movement difficult, ask your GP for advice about activities suitable for your level of mobility and fitness. 
  •  Keep a store of food for when you want a quick meal or snack, such as cans of soup or frozen meals.
  • Even if your appetite is poor, make sure you drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated.

If you have problems chewing and wear dentures or have a bridge, ask your dentist to check that they fit properly. While any dental problems are being corrected, try easy-to-eat foods such as minced meat, casseroles, mashed potato, canned fruit and cooked vegetables.

If you’re finding it difficult to shop or cook for yourself, consider getting help. Talk to your local adult social services department and explain any problems you’re having with day-to-day tasks.

Shopping online can be convenient if there aren’t any shops within walking distance or it’s difficult for you to get there - bulk-buying heavier items is a good idea, so that someone else does the lifting for you.

Visit your favourite supermarket’s website to see whether they offer home delivery.

Trying to lose weight?

Losing weight isn’t easy, but being very overweight puts us at risk of serious diseases including heart disease, stroke, diabetes and some cancers, including bowel cancer and breast cancer after the menopause.

The media often talks about obesity in the younger population, but it’s a problem among older people too.

If you’ve gradually gained weight over the years, try to lose it slowly but steadily, for example by losing 1kg (1–2lb) a week rather than crash dieting.

Try keeping a food diary for a week. Write down everything you eat each day then check through to see where you might cut down or change your habits, for example by switching to healthier snacks.

Further information

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For more information: Call Age UK Advice: 0800 169 2081

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