Weight loss is best achieved by reducing the calories you take in and increasing the calories you expend. If we eat more calories than we need, we gain weight. If we eat fewer calories than we use, we lose weight. Try the following tips to lose weight and help you maintain a healthy weight.
Increase calories burned
Exercise is essential to losing weight and living a heart-healthy lifestyle. In fact, according to the American Heart Association’s 2013 exercise standards, “Exercise can be viewed as a preventative medical treatment, ‘like a pill’ that should be taken on an almost daily basis.”
For overall cardiovascular health, the AHA suggests 30 minutes of aerobic activity 5 days per week and muscle-strengthening activity at least 2 days per week.
Don’t have time? You don’t have to do all 30 minutes at once! You’ll get the same benefits if you divide your time into two or three 10- to 15-minute segments a day.
Eat more fruits, vegetables and healthy foods
Eating healthy means eating foods that are nutritious for your body. According to the new AHA guidelines, eating heart-healthy means:
- Eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, poultry, fish and nuts
- Avoid red meat, as well as sugary and processed foods
- Avoid foods high in sodium
“Eating a healthy diet is not about good foods and bad foods in isolation from the rest of your diet – it’s about the overall diet,” said Robert Eckel, M.D., previous AHA president and co-chair of the new guideline committee. Learn more about the new dietary guidelines.
Keep a food diary
Use a food diary to document everything you eat and what time you eat it. This lets you to keep track of exactly what you are eating to help control eating and reduce calories. It also gives you an idea of when those hunger pangs are most likely to strike. Next time you’ll have a healthy snack ready before you dash off to the vending machine.
Eating when stressed can be a form of emotional eating, causing you to eat when you’re not hungry. In moments of stress at home or at work, use stress relievers to help manage stress and avoid over-eating. Practicing yoga has also been shown to reduce stress and can be a healthy form of physical activity.
If you don’t get enough sleep, you may also eat too much, according to a study on sleep and calorie consumption by the AHA. The study showed that sleep deprived individuals consume an average of 549 more calories each day than those who achieve their optimal amount of nightly rest. Keep your weight in check by getting the optimal amount of sleep for your body each night.
Learn more ways to prevent heart disease on Go Red For Women.