February is American Heart Month. It’s a time to bring awareness to heart disease and stroke, the number one killer in the United States, so you and the people you love don’t become a statistic. This month is particularly personal for me, as my mom has heart disease. She had quadruple bypass surgery one year ago this month. If you know someone who would benefit from this information on preventing heart disease, please share it. I’m posting five articles on simple things everyone can do to keep their heart healthy and strong.
Lose Weight, Gain a Healthy Heart
You might wonder why weight loss is important in preventing heart disease. Controlling your weight helps you control heart disease risk factors: blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. Even if you don’t have these heart disease risk factors now, you could develop them at any time.
If you’re overweight or obese, try to lose weight. A loss of just 5 to 10 percent of your current weight can lower your heart disease risk. So, if you weigh 200 pounds, a mere 20 pound weight loss can help to save your life.
To lose weight, cut back your calorie intake by 500 to 1,000 calories a day and engage in more physical activity like 30 minutes a day of walking. If you lose two pounds a week, you’ll be at your goal within three months. What’s even better, it takes about three months for a behavior change to set in. Just as you are reaching your weight goal, you will be reaching your behavior change timeline, too. Be patient with your weight loss and you’ll succeed.
Here are some of my favorite weight loss tips that work:
- Avoid liquid calories (except fat-free milk) and keep wine to 1-3 glasses a week.
- Eat off smaller plates, with half of the plate filled with vegetables.
- Eat when you feel hungry, but not when you are bored, tired, stressed, or watching TV.
- Before eating any other sweets, make sure you eat two whole fruits a day.
- Write down everything you eat or drink for several days. Make sure you put out more calories than you put in.
What are your favorite weight loss tips?