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heart health resources: healthy weight 

On the Scales

healthy weight

Did you know that being overweight is actually hard on your heart?

Excess weight can put you at higher risk of developing heart disease, a stroke, high blood pressure,  high cholesterol and diabetes. Making healthier choices like eating real food, getting adequate exercise and finding ways to manage your stress can help you achieve and maintain a healthier weight. This advice is good at any age and should be a focus in early childhood. 

Start with smaller goals. Just losing 3% to 5% of your total weight can lower your triglycerides and glucose levels in your blood and help you prevent type 2 diabetes. Losing more weight can also improve blood pressure, reduce “bad” LDL cholesterol, and raise “good” HDL cholesterol!

What diet is right for you?

Truthfully, diets don't work for most people. While some may experience some weight loss, until you change the way you think about food and create healthy lifestyle habits, it's easy to fall back into old habits and gain the weight (and more) back too easily. 

The word "diet" (from the Greek language) actually translates lifestyle. It is when we make a commitment to creating a better lifestyle that we will be able to correct years of bad habits that have contributed to our overall health ... especially, our heart health.

So, as of today, stop chasing diets. Most are designed not to teach you how to develop a healthy lifestyle but to create a dependency on supplements and expensive products. You can achieve the same results by learning your biomarkers (what supplements you may or may not need), eating the right foods (and in the correct portions), getting adequate exercise (even if you have to work up to it) and finding ways to manage stress (because that can sabotage any weight loss gain.

If you have been struggling with weight loss, talk to your doctor to rule out any medical reasons that may be causing your weight gain or inability to lose weight.  The good news is, once you begin adopting this new lifestyle, your body will begin to crave what's good for it and, in time, it is second nature.

Tips for a healthy weight plan:
  • Prefer foods that are low in saturated fats, trans fats and cholesterol and that are high in fiber.​
  • Limit added salt and other sources of sodium especially with restaurant, convenience or overly-processed foods,
  • Balance your added sugar intake. Women and children should set a goal of no more than 24g (6 teaspoons) and men of no more than 36g (9 teaspoons) of added sugar each day!
  • Prefer water over sugary beverages and this includes sweet tea and juices.
  • Try eating with a smaller plate to control portion size. 
  • Fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables. A fourth of your plate with lean proteins or protein alternatives and a fourth of your plate with whole grains.
  • Work toward at least 30 minutes of exercise 5 days of the week but remember, you cannot out-exercise a bad way of eating. 
  • Make sure you are getting enough sleep and learning ways to manage stress as an imbalance can lead to weight gain.
  • When eating out, avoid all-you-can-eat restaurants. 
  • Split a meal with a friend or family member or go ahead and ask for a to-go box and save it for tomorrow.
  • When you eat fast food, ask for a salad and skip the fries.
  • Bring your health items to potlucks!

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