Categories: Cardiology

Easy ways to shed extra weight and be healthy

It’s essential to maintain a healthy weight, especially when you hit your late 20s. Once you cross the age of 25, you will notice that your body cannot metabolize food and use it for energy as it used to in your teens or early 20s, and if you don’t switch to a healthy lifestyle soon, you will be on the receiving end of diseases that affect your heart and the immune system.

It’s quite easy to slip into an unhealthy lifestyle because we live in an era of instant gratification, which means we get all kinds of junk food at the click of an app, and this can lead to some bad dietary choices if you don’t exercise self-control. Couple the processed food with a sedentary lifestyle, and you will soon begin to notice rapid weight gain, high cholesterol/blood sugar levels, respiratory issues, and you will be quite prone to heart diseases, as well.

This is where you have to be mindful of your current weight and ensure that your BMI is under control to maintain your heart health and overall health as well. Your lifestyle decisions and what you put into your body at this age is one of the major risk factors in developing heart diseases.

The rise of heart diseases in India:

The Lancet study has reported that Cardiovascular diseases have been on a rampant rise in India since 2016, and it has seen an increase from 25.7 million to 54.5 million. Heart issues have been the highest in states like Kerala, Punjab, and Tamil Nadu. Coming in at a close second are Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Goa, Maharashtra, and West Bengal. There are many reasons that these states have ranked high on the Cardiovascular disease scale, and it mainly has to do with the diet. Indian cuisine, even though filled with vegetables, is also high in simple carbs and saturated fats; the introduction of fast food chains in major cities (in each of these states) is also responsible for the rising obesity rate in the country.

The connection between obesity and heart health:

When a person is deemed overweight or obese, this means that they have excess fat accumulated in the body. To get to a proper number of how overweight you are, you will have to evaluate obesity with a regular BMI checkup. If a person is overweight, the heart has to work harder to pump blood throughout the body. Over time, the strain on the heart can be too much, which can lead to Cardiac arrest.

To avoid heart failure, leading cardiologists often suggest that you should maintain a healthy weight and follow a lifestyle that will keep you in the best possible shape. Even adding small lifestyle changes like a 15-minute walk or switching to a low carb diet can do wonders to slash your risk of heart diseases.

How to maintain the ideal body weight?

If you’re obese, reaching your goal weight may seem like an uphill task. Losing weight, while maintaining healthy habits can seem overwhelming to many, but once you see the positive effects it has on your overall health, it will help you persevere and reach your end goal.

You should know that some foods are responsible for spiking your blood sugar and also increase the blood pressure. Your age doesn’t matter; it’s never too late to start with healthy habits and fine-tune your meal plans. The important point is that you have to look at your meals in a positive way, which means look at which healthy foods you enjoy eating, rather than looking at all the foods you’re restricting yourself. This will help your will power and drive you towards a heart-healthy life.

Here are the top tips for maintaining your weight and leading a heart-healthy lifestyle:

Portion size:

Overeating is one of the main reasons a person is obese; the ability to control the portions of food will greatly help with weight loss. Eating in a caloric deficit is the only way to reach your weight loss goal. Measuring your portions and using smaller cutlery may help in preventing overeating unconsciously.

It may seem challenging to cut down on the stuff you love, but if you look at the nutrition value of each food group and adjust your portion sizes accordingly, it won’t be that hard to stick to this technique. After you look at the nutritional value of your food, you will see that most of the calories come from foods that are high in sugar and simple carbohydrates.

So, when you start with portion control, eat out of a small dish and load up on low calorie and nutrient-dense foods, limit fat and carb-rich foods. This trick will definitely help you shed the weight, and you will feel better as well.

Try to reduce your sodium intake:

If you have too much sodium in your daily diet, then it can lead to serious issues like high blood pressure, cholesterol, and so on. If you want to have a heart-healthy diet, then cutting down on salt should be a vital part of your plan. This also includes salt that comes from processed and frozen foods, which tend to have salt as a preservative or as a flavouring agent.

To avoid the spike in sodium intake, you will have to stick to preparing your food from scratch and avoid any instant meals; this means you have to make your own stews, soups, curries, etc., and ensure that you measure every ingredient that goes into the recipe. This method will also help you monitor the salt intake, and reduce it if you are overdoing it.

Choose foods that are low in fat and high in protein:

This meal plan includes foods like fish, lean meat, dairy products that have low-fat content, and egg whites. When you’re choosing food that is low in fat, you have to ensure that you check the nutrition information, and be mindful while grocery shopping. You can go for skimmed milk, instead of full-fat milk, opt for skinless chicken breast (ensure that the fat is trimmed, the less fat, the better). If you’re a vegan, then beans, lentils, and peas make for great sources of protein because they contain little cholesterol, less fat, and are great substitutes for meat.

If you are at risk of high blood pressure and cholesterol levels, then you can try a plant-based diet by substituting a regular burger for a soy burger. This will reduce fat and cholesterol while maintaining your fiber consumption.

Avoid all unhealthy fats and sugars:

This is necessary if you want your heart to be healthy because controlling the amount of unsaturated and trans fats you eat will help you moderate your cholesterol and reduce the risk of a heart attack. High blood pressure levels and cholesterol can lead to plaque build-up in your arteries, which can lead to a stroke.

Hence, you have to stay away from junk food because it is high in fat, sodium, and artificial food colorants. All these components are hidden behind taste, and this is why it leads to a substantial weight gain and deteriorating physical/mental health. If you eat junk food consistently, then you are exposing yourself to various diseases like diabetes, heart diseases, and even kidney failure.

Chart out a workout plan that will help you lose weight:

If you want to accelerate weight loss and shed the extra body fat, then you have to take on a healthy workout routine; this includes exercising for an hour, three to four times a week. This doesn’t mean that if you exercise, you can eat whatever you want because “the calories are getting burned anyway.” It’s important to be mindful of the calories exerted and the calories consumed.

Additionally, when you work out to ensure that you start off slow so that you don’t exert yourself (or worse get an injury). Talk to a trainer and increase the intensity only when you’re comfortable with the workout regime.

Start off with warm-ups that include cardio, and this will allow your heart rate to go up. You can gradually start introducing strength exercises into your routine by lifting weights. Strength exercise helps you lose weight and build muscle mass. A consistent and reasonable exercise routine, done for 30 to 60 minutes, three to four times a week, will definitely help you meet your weight loss goals.

Dr. Auriom Kar, Consultant Cardiology – Adult, Narayana Multispeciality Hospital, Barasat

Narayana Health

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