Back-Healthy Habits: Diet and Weight Management

Carrying around with your self excessive weight can put a lot of pressure on your back. Weight gain and obesity is one of the biggest factors that could cause you to have back pain. Excess weight can shift your center of gravity forward, creating added stress on your lower back. If you have moderate to severe obesity and have back pain, losing weight may help you to successfully treat your problem. Though there are more weight loss treatment programs out there than days remaining on the rest of your life, the core principles regarding weight loss remain simple and easy to understand: you must burn more calories than you consume. This means that you must choose a diet that is appropriate to your lifestyle and level of activity. If you have a rather sedentary lifestyle, than you will have to choose a much lower calorie diet than for someone who works out 3-5 days per week. Most people will be able to successfully lose weight by increasing their level of exercise, while decreasing the amount that they eat. To decrease the amount of calories that you have coming into your body, you will need to either decrease your portion sizes during meals, of cut out high calorie foods in your diet. Foods that are high in calories and carbohydrates include processed foods, baked goods, sugary drinks, almost anything that has sugar in it, and many fruits. Fruits, though high in sugar, are still considered healthy foods, since they contain a lot of ingredients that are healthy to the body, such as Vitamin C, antioxidants, and fiber. Sugary drinks such as soda have empty calories, with little or no nutritional value.

For optimum health, regardless of whether you have back pain or not, it's important to consume a healthy diet. A healthy diet is moderate in the amount of calories consumed, low in saturated fats, low in bad cholesterol, and rich in vitamins and minerals. Vegetables have no cholesterol, are low in calories (usually), and high in fiber. A good diet generally would include at least three servings of vegetables for every serving of meat, at least. Meat is the only source of cholesterol among all the food that we could eat. A well-balanced, healthy diet will reduce your cholesterol levels and blood pressure. Though there are medications out there to reduce blood pressure and cholesterol, the adoptions of a well-balanced nutritious diet should negate the need to go in this direction. A natural diet will always be best unless you don't have any other choice.

Though there are diets out there that involve consuming large amounts of dietary supplements and eliminating many of the types of foods that you would see in the USDA Food Guide Pyramid, in truth most doctors and dieticians recommend a healthy balanced diet. The American Heart Association and American Cancer Society both recommend a diet that is rich in whole grains, vegetables, and fruits. Most people are familiar with the USDA's Food Guide Pyramid. The guidelines suggested by the USDA is that the majority of your diet should include the foods found at and near the base of the food pyramid. The foods found at and near the top of the food pyramid, including fats, oils, and sweets, should be consumed much more sparingly.