Many Americans think about losing weight daily, and many who think about it also attempt to take part in some diet regimen or exercise program to achieve their goal. However, according to new research, there simply aren’t enough Americans who are trying to set goals to lose weight. While 74 percent of Americans are concerned about their weight, only 43 percent are trying to set and attain weight-loss goals. Also, many patients don’t understand the close ties between a healthy weight and health status, such as a healthy heart. Read on to learn more about how diet and exercise can do more than help you lose weight, and why you should talk to your doctor if you’re having trouble setting goals.
A Healthy Diet Equals a Healthy Heart
In a recent Cleveland Clinic survey, roughly 18 percent of those surveyed believe that weight and heart health have no real connection. There were also other falsities that people believed. About 46 percent of those surveyed felt the use of artificial sweeteners could lead to weight loss, even though there has been no scientific proof that this is true. An overwhelming 87 percent of those surveyed did not know obesity is a cancer risk factor.
Simply put, many Americans don’t understand the relationship between keeping a healthy diet and maintaining exercise, and a healthy heart. Heart disease is the leading cause of death not only in the United States, but in the world, and obesity is one of the most significant risk factors that contribute to heart disease and hypertension.
What Should Patients Do?
While it’s important to talk about diet, exercise is just as important when it comes to heart health. Too many patients “don’t have time for the gym,” or have sedentary lifestyles that contribute to obesity. Being overweight or obese as well as having a sedentary lifestyle is also strongly linked with lack of heart health, as well as other serious problems, such as colon cancer. Patients who are having a tough time starting an exercise regimen should talk to their doctor. In the same Cleveland Clinic survey, it was reported that only 28 percent of patients have talked to their doctor about weight loss. Some ideas for activities to get patients up and moving include things such as:
- Yard work or DIY projects
- Recreational swimming
- Exercise classes
- Walking briskly
Ideally, patients should get up and get moving at a moderate pace at least for 150 minutes per week; however, patients can breathe easy with the fact that they can begin in 10-minute increments until they get used to exercising.
Changing the Diet
There are many diets on the market, as well as many diet plans that have been proven to be beneficial to a healthy heart. If you’re thinking about following a specific dietary plan, it’s best to talk to your doctor before you begin. However, when it comes to certain foods, there are some that are positively correlated to heart health in addition to weight loss, such as:
- Leafy greens. This is mentioned quite often, such as kale or baby spinach, but these foods are easy enough to slip into a salad.
- Whole grains. Make a switch to whole grains by eating a whole-grain breakfast cereal every morning.
- Berries. If you’re not a huge fan of fruit as snacks, top off your whole-grain cereal with a few berries.
- Avocados. Many people love avocados, but if you don’t, try a tasty guacamole recipe with Roma tomatoes and a dash of garlic.
- Beans. Make black beans a side on Taco Tuesday, or bring smoke beans along to the picnic this summer.
- Dark chocolate. The higher the percentage of cacao, the better. Try some for a sweet snack.
Many people fail at dieting because they change too many things too quickly. Just adding a few heart-healthy foods to your diet on a slow but steady basis can make a big difference. Your doctor can also help you with programs and concepts to help you lose weight loss, especially if you need a jump start. For instance, NEW You offers everything from ORBERA® to AspireAssist.
If you need more information about how diet can affect your heart health, or you need some extra help when it comes to losing weight, request a consultation with NEW You Weight Loss. We can help you lose the weight and keep it off while maintaining a healthy lifestyle.