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Maintaining a healthy weight can be tough at times, but making changes to your eating and exercise habits—sometimes even small ones—can make a big difference.

Eat breakfast

Breakfast “wakes up” your metabolism in the morning. Include protein at breakfast. A handful of nuts, eggs or egg whites, low-fat Greek yogurt, and cottage cheese all contain protein, which helps keep you satiated. Be sure not to skip breakfast—not eating in the morning makes it more likely you will overeat later in the day.

Stay hydrated

Sometimes you may mistake thirst for hunger. You feel you need a snack when really, you haven’t had enough to drink in the day. Aim for six to eight glasses of water or sugar-free beverages during the day. Avoid sugary drinks like juice, soda and sports drinks.

Get enough sleep

We mindlessly “graze” on snacks when we’re not well-rested. Also, being tired is often a reason people don’t exercise. You need to strive to get about six to eight hours of sleep every day.

Be active

Being physically active—even if it’s just for 15 minutes a day—helps us focus better, prevents our joints from becoming stiff from sitting for too long, and helps us sleep better at night. It also helps to relieve stress. Do what works for you, whether it’s walking, swimming, biking, yoga or dancing. The point is to get moving!

Don’t skip meals

It’s up to you to decide if you prefer three square meals each day or four to five smaller meals. Regardless of what works better for you, it’s important to eat at regular intervals throughout the day. Planning your meals allows you to make healthier choices and not to overeat.

Eat fruits and non-starchy vegetables

These will fill you up and help you cut down on large portions of meat and starch without leaving you feeling hungry a few hours later. They also provide plenty of minerals, vitamins and phytochemicals.

Make time for you

Finding balance in your life is essential when it comes to maintaining a healthy weight. Family, work and socializing are typically prioritized over taking care of ourselves. Write out a loose schedule for your day when possible, and fit in a half hour of “you” time. This can be a chance to exercise or to simply enjoy other activities or hobbies that you like.

Simple exercise, eating and behavior modifications can help to manage your weight. You can talk to our weight loss professionals at Staten Island University Hospital to help you choose the right approach that suits your lifestyle.