Weight Loss and Diet

What extra weight does to the heart:

Many of the things that put people at risk for heart disease are linked to their weight. Fatness can:

  • Raise the chance of getting diabetes
  • Cause or get worse high blood pressure
  • Raise bad cholesterol (LDL) and triglycerides and lower good cholesterol (HDL)
  • produce substances that cause inflammation in the blood vessels, which can lead to heart disease

Dr. Kerry J. Stewart, director of Clinical and Research Exercise Physiology at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, says that keeping your weight under control can lower many of the risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

Low-Carb Diets vs. Low-Fat Diets:

Even though both low-carbohydrate and low-fat diets can help you lose weight, researchers are still trying to figure out which one is better for your heart. Here are some important things to keep in mind:

  • Don’t eat foods with trans fat, which are processed fats that get stuck in your arteries.
  • Stay away from foods with a lot of sugar and salt.
  • Watch how much you eat and try to eat less than you burn.
  • Give yourself the self-control and motivation you need to stay on your diet.

The Healthy Fat:

Some fats are thought to be good for you because they have been shown to lower the amount of LDL cholesterol in the blood. These are fats that are not saturated (polyunsaturated and monounsaturated).

Omega-3 fatty acid is a type of polyunsaturated fat that makes the arteries less inflamed. It is in fish with a lot of fat, like salmon, mackerel, trout, albacore tuna, and sardines. Beans and nuts like walnuts, pecans, almonds, and hazelnuts are also good sources of healthy fat.

Diet of the Mediterranean:

Even though there is no one diet that can represent all of the different cultures in a region, there has been a lot of talk about the Mediterranean diet, as it is known in the United States.

This type of diet is based on foods and ways of living that are naturally healthy, such as:

  • A lot of fruit and vegetable servings
  • Eating less red meat and more fattier fish
  • Whole-wheat breads that have olive oil on them instead of butter
  • Spices and herbs instead of salt
  • Exercise and small, relaxed meals with family vs. no exercise and bigger meals by yourself

How to Stay on a Diet to Lose Weight:

Sticking to a weight loss plan is hard every day, but there are things you can do to make it easier.

Research has shown that your social network has a big effect on how you eat and exercise. In other words, if you hang out with people who work out and eat less, you’re more likely to do the same, and the same goes for them. So pick some fit and healthy friends and get your immediate family to join you and support your healthy habits.

Other ways to stick with a plan to lose weight are:

  • Keeping logs and records of what you eat every day. Programs and examples are easy to find on the Internet.
  • Getting on the scale once or twice a week to remind yourself of your goals.
  • Make sure your goals are clear and attainable, like “I want to lose X pounds this month” instead of “I want to get thin.”
  • Giving yourself a special treat every time you reach a new goal.

Making a Diet More Effective with Exercise :

To lose weight, you need to eat foods with less calories and less of them. But the extra calories you burn when you work out make it easier to stay on the healthy side of the equation.

Adding light to moderate weight training to an exercise plan that already includes aerobic activity (like walking, jogging, or cycling) helps build lean muscle mass. Calories are a form of energy that is stored as fat. Muscle is what drives the body. So, the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn every day. This helps you lose fat.

Is there a perfect body weight?

The ideal body weight is just a general rule of thumb. Body fat composition is a better way to figure out the right weight. Body fat norms vary by age and gender. A woman’s body has more fat than a man’s body at any age.

Women should have about 22% body fat and men should have about 15% body fat.

How to Measure Body Fat:

A DEXA scan, which is an X-ray that separates muscle and fat from bone, is a very accurate way to measure body fat and bone density.

The ratio of height to weight is measured by the body mass index (BMI). The American Heart Association says that:

  • BMI under 18.5 is considered underweight
  • A BMI between 18.5-24.9 is thought to be healthy.
  • Overweight is a BMI between 25 and 30
  • People with a BMI of 30 or more are considered obese.

It’s easy to find out your body mass index. Just type “BMI calculator” into a search engine and enter your height and weight.

The ratio of muscle to fat changes as you age:

We tend to lose muscle tissue as we age. Sarcopenia is the name for this condition. For example, if you weigh the same at 60 as you did at 20, but you’ve lost muscle mass, your fat content is still higher.

Stewart says, “One way to reduce how much muscle you lose is to make aerobic exercise and light weight training a part of your life for the rest of your life.”

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