Losing weight is something that can lower your risk of heart disease. Here are some simple tips to help you get on the right nutritional track:
1. Add more fruits and vegetables to your diet.
Fruits and vegetables are tasty and low in calories. They provide much-needed fiber and fill you up so that you are less likely to eat between meals. Start by adding a piece of fruit at breakfast and lunch and a salad at dinner a few times a week.
2. Keep an eye on portion sizes.
Restaurant portions tend to be much larger than what the average person needs. Don’t feel obligated to finish everything on your plate when you go out to eat. Take some of your food home to enjoy later on.
3. Resist the temptation to skip meals.
Eating regularly keeps your blood sugar stable and helps to prevent overeating at meal time.
Being overweight increases your risk of heart disease and stroke. If you are trying to lose weight and improve your health, diet alone won’t help you to reach this goal. To achieve permanent weight loss, you need to include exercise and strength training in the mix.
Exercising regularly helps improve your health in several ways. It increases your heart rate, which strengthens the heart and burns calories. Regular physical activity also releases endorphins, which help to relieve stress and anxiety. Exercise can also help to relieve the symptoms of depression.
Adding strength training into the mix helps with weight loss because muscle tissue is active, which means that it burns fat to feed itself. When you build up your muscle mass, your body is able to burn fat more effectively. Aerobic activity and strength training combined will help you to achieve permanent weight loss.
Most of us associate losing weight with going on a diet. We think that if we cut back on calories or limit ourselves to only a few “magic” foods we will shed unwanted pounds quickly and reach our ideal weight. The truth is that diets don’t work. If you want to achieve a healthy weight, you need to be prepared to make long-term changes to what and how much you eat…and stick to them.
You didn’t put on the weight overnight, and it’s not realistic to think that it is going to come off that quickly. Start by making some small changes, like substituting a baked potato for French fries at lunch or dinner. Plan to eat a salad with your lunch or dinner every day. Permanent changes that you can stick with are key to achieving a healthy weight.
Being overweight or obese does increase the likelihood that you will be diagnosed with heart disease during your lifetime. The risk does diminish if you can get to a heart healthy weight, though. Following a balanced diet that includes a variety of fruits, vegetables, meat, dairy products and whole grains is a good place to start. There are no “good” or "bad" foods, and you can still have a treat on special occasions, so long as you eat healthy foods most of the time. Try eating well at least 80 percent of the time, and you can enjoy special foods at other times, too.