Before the tips, a quip:
“Reality check: you can never, ever, use weight loss to solve problems that are not related to your weight,” writes Dr Phil in The Ultimate Weight Solution: The 7 Keys to Weight Loss Freedom. “At your goal weight or not, you still have to live with yourself and deal with your problems. You will still have the same husband, the same job, the same kids, and the same life. Losing weight is not a cure for life.”
Weight loss isn’t a cure for your life problems…but it definitely improves your cardiac health and reduces the risk of heart disease! If you need to lose weight, try Jillian Michaels’ Winning by Losing: Drop the Weight, Change Your Life — it’s a great resource. And, read on for six ways weight loss improves your cardiac health…
Obesity and Heart Disease – 6 Ways Weight Loss Improves Cardiac Health
In the “Guidelines for the Treatment of Overweight and Obesity”, The National Institute of Health reports that even just a 5 to 10% weight loss can make a huge difference in cardiac health — and reduce your risk of a heart attack.
1. Weight loss directly affects certain risk factors for heart disease. “Obese people frequently have abnormal blood-cholesterol levels, higher blood pressure and even sometimes bigger hearts,” says Gerald Fletcher, MD, a cardiologist at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, FL, and a spokesperson for the American Heart Association. All of these things are risk factors for heart disease, but losing weight can help you reverse them.
2. Weight loss lowers blood pressure and cholesterol levels, which improves heart health. Obesity and heart disease are directly connected: “Until a few years ago, it was thought to be an indirect link, but now we know that even if blood pressure and cholesterol are normal, extra weight can mean extra risk for heart disease,” says Karen Miller-Kovach, Weight Watchers chief scientist. So when you lose weight, you can get double and triple benefits – you’ll lower your blood pressure and cholesterol, and you’ll conquer a primary risk factor for heart disease.
3. A little weight loss goes a long way. You don’t have to achieve all your weight loss goals to see a difference in your heart health! “When it comes to cardiac disease and weight, there’s an exponential curve,” says Miller-Kovach. “A little bit of extra weight increases your risk for heart disease a little bit, and vice versa.” In other words, a little bit of weight loss decreases your risk of cardiac disease a little bit, and a lot of weight loss improves your heart health a great deal.
4. Weight loss leads to more exercise, which leads to more weight loss. As you’re losing weight, you’re more likely to start exercising, which has bonuses of its own: “Exercise has been recognized as an independent positive factor to heart health,” says Miller-Kovach. “We now know that exercise tends to mobilize the fat stores in the abdomen, which are the ones that put you at the greatest risk for heart disease.”
5. Weight loss improves your heart health no matter how old you are. “Age factors into [the weight-heart connection] prominently,” says Miller-Kovach. “Being slightly obese at a younger age causes a greater increase in risk of heart disease than does being slightly obese and elderly.” In other words, it’s not just how obese you are, it’s how old you are too.
6. Weight loss improves the heart health of both men and women. This isn’t a male-female thing: heart disease affects both men and women, and obesity contributes to heart disease in both men and women. Women, take note: after menopause, you’re just as likely as a man to suffer from heart disease! A heart healthy diet is key to losing weight and improving cardiac health.
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