Weight Management and Nutrition

How do I know if I am at a healthy weight?
If you are gaining weight, you are taking in more calories than your body is using. These extra calories are stored as fat, and you will gain weight. If you are losing weight, you are eating fewer calories than your body is using. Your body is using stored fat cells for energy, so your weight is decreasing.

A simple way for you to know if you are at a healthy weight is to know your body mass index (BMI), a measure of weight by height.

  • You are underweight if your BMI is less than 18.5.
  • You are a healthy weight if your BMI is 18.5 to 24.9.
  • You are overweight if your BMI is 25 to 29.9.
  • You are obese if your BMI is 30 or greater.

What are the benefits of maintaining a healthy weight?

  • You will have greater energy and stamina.
  • You can prevent or control many diseases and conditions. If you are overweight or obese, you increase your risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol problems, heart disease, gallbladder disease, female health disorders, arthritis, some types of cancer, and sleep apnea.

What can I do to maintain my healthy weight?

  • You can eat wisely and choose a variety of low calorie, nutritious foods and beverages in the basic food groups. Make sure to select foods that limit your intake of fats, cholesterol, added sugars, salt, and alcohol. Instead, eat more vegetables, fruits, and whole grains (see the Eat Wisely handout).
  • You can be physically active. For health benefits, you can do at least 2 ½ hours per week of moderate-intensity activity, or 1 ¼ hours per week of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity, or an equal combination of both. You’ll see a difference in your weight and your health (see the Be Physically Active handout).
  • You’ll find that making lifestyle changes that include eating wisely, being physically active, and maintaining a healthy weight are keys to maintaining good health.

What if I need to lose weight?

  • Losing even a little will help your health. If you lose as little as 5–10% of your current body weight, you can lower your risks for many diseases.
  • A safe weight loss is 1–2 pounds per week. It may take 6 months or more to reach your ultimate goal, but if you make gradual lifestyle changes, you can maintain a healthier weight for life.

Facts about Physical Health
Postdeployment User Guide Transition Workbook for Combat Veterans
Naval Health Research Center

  • Focusing on fitness and health is more productive and more likely to be successful than focusing on weight loss.
    You will reap important physical and mental health benefits from better diet and exercise regardless of whether you lose weight.
    Furthermore, yo-yo weight loss can be just as harmful to your health as being overweight.
  • Being underweight can be just as great a health risk as being overweight

Weight Management & Nutrition Resources

San Diego VA Health Care System
Please contact your Primary Care Provider Team for a referral for weight management and nutrition services available at the San Diego VA.
Primary Care Line: (858) 552-7475

Lighten Up! Nutrition Class

This class covers the basic principles of successful weight control. It includes information on behavior modification techniques such as maintaining a food and activity diary/weight chart, and setting realistic goals. The importance of healthy food choices and regular exercise (as approved by the primary care provider) are emphasized.
La Jolla – 9:30-11:30 am, 2nd and 4th Tuesday of the month, 1st Floor Room 1493
Mission Valley – 10:00 am-noon, 4th Wednesday of the month
Chula Vista – 8:30-10:30 am, 2nd Wednesday of the month
Oceanside – 10:00 am-noon, 3rd Thursday of the month
Ask your primary care provider to enroll you in the class by sending a consult to “Nutrition Outpatient.”
(858) 552-8585 ext. 4360 or Toll-Free: 1-800-331-8387 (VETS) ext. 4360

Eating to Improve Your Mood or Relax
Postdeployment User Guide Transition Workbook for Combat Veterans
Naval Health Research Center

  1. Reduce or eliminate alcohol and caffeine from your diet. With caffeine, for example, at least try to limit yourself to one cup of coffee or one
    caffeinated soft drink per day. If you have been using a lot of caffeine, make sure you gradually cut back to avoid headaches and other withdrawal symptoms.
  2. Cut back on sugar and simple carbohydrates (eg, refined flour) in your diet. Eating a lot of sugar can temporarily raise your blood sugar, but that can
    be followed by very low blood sugar. Low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia, can lead to symptoms of anxiety such as nervousness, trembling, light-headedness, and
  3. To keep your blood sugar at optimal levels, try to avoid going for long periods of time without eating. Have a healthy snack between meals.
  4. Increase complex carbohydrates (eg, whole grains) and starches in your diet. These are metabolized slower and may help raise serotonin levels in the\
    brain. Serotonin is important in improving not only mood, but also sleep patterns.
  5. Eat foods high in tryptophan that metabolizes into serotonin (eg, milk products, bananas, oats, soy, poultry, and nuts).
  6. Make sure you drink enough liquids to stay well hydrated. Dehydration can affect not only physical performance but also mental ability and mood.
  7. Take supplemental vitamins such as B6, C, and zinc to help your body combat stress.
  8. Avoid extreme diets. Eliminating any food group from your diet completely may affect your mood.

Weight Control/MOVE! Program

This class is a VA weight management program to help Veterans lose weight, keep it off and improve your health. In order to participate in MOVE! Veterans must have a BMI of 30 or more AND a consult to the Weight Control program must be entered by the Primary Care Provider
La Jolla: Thursdays, 12:30-2:00 pm, 1st Floor Patient Education Classroom (Room 1493)
Mission Valley Outpatient Clinic: Tuesdays, 2:00-3:30 pm
Oceanside Outpatient Clinic: Tuesdays, 9:30-11:00 am
Information/Registration: Once a consult is entered, call the Weight Control Intake Department at (858) 552-8585 ext. 4360 or 1-800-331-8387 (VETS) ext. 4360.

For more information go to: www.move.va.gov


SparkPeople is a private company that has a free daily calculator & tracker for daily calories consumed, and a number of other resources, including meal plans, for those who want to lose weight. Has several apps for mobile tracking and online support.



MyPlate is a reminder to find your healthy eating style and build it throughout your lifetime. Everything you eat and drink matters. The right mix can help you be healthier now and in the future.


Providing easy, online access to government information on food and human nutrition for consumers.

Pugilistic Offensive Warrior Tactics, POW
Gym: (619) 229-2699
Todd Vance: calivance619@yahoo.com
powsandiego.blogspot.comPugilistic Offensive Warrior Tactics, POW, is a non-profit charitable organization. POW gives veterans quality physical conditioning while focusing on Veteran specific issues. Working with physical and mental limitations and learning to overcome and adapt to these challenges. To provide veteran camaraderie and networking, while establishing better health and focus through the short term and long term goals martial arts provides.Team Red White and Blue
www.facebook.com/groups/TeamRWBSanDiegoOur chapters and communities deliver consistent, local opportunities for veterans and the community to connect through physical and social activity. They host weekly fitness activities, monthly social events, and participate in local races and events together. These programs are at the core of Team RWB’s mission.