We know that….
People who have excess body fat, especially around the waist area are more likely to develop heart disease and stroke even if they have no other risk factors.
Reducing excess weight can help reduce your heart disease risk. The most successful way of losing weight is by having a healthy balanced diet, managing portion sizes and increasing physical activity.
Try not to lose weight too quickly – fad diets are often far-fetched. They can be difficult to keep to in the long term and can be very unbalanced, and bad for your health.
Losing weight slowly, about one to two pounds (between half a kilo and one kilo) a week is healthier, and you are more likely to keep the weight off for good.
Tips to manage your weight:
- Do not skip meals. Start the day with a healthy breakfast. Eating 3 meals per day helps your body have energy it needs and it prevents hunger.
- Control your portion size. Use a standard 9 inch plate, avoid bigger plate sizes.
- Eat when hungry. Avoid eating to relax, or because you are bored or depressed. Take a walk or do something you enjoy instead.
- Download the Croí food diary and fill it in for a few days.
- Limit sugar and sweets. Desserts have many calories and few nutrients.
- Drink plenty of water. Aim for a minimum of 6-8 glasses (2 litres) of water each day.
- Choose healthy snacks. Enjoy fresh fruit, vegetables, or low fat yogurt instead of packaged snacks.
- Regular physical activity – aim for 30 minutes, 5 days a week. This ensures a balance between the energy you get from food and the energy you use.
We also need to be mindful of the quality of our diet to reduce our risks of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. The Mediterranean diet is a heart-protective diet which encourages a way of eating that can lead to weight loss and overall better health:
- Eating plenty of fruits, vegetables and legumes
- Choosing more whole grain bread, brown rice, wholegrain pasta, and cereals
- Replacing butter with healthy fats such as olive oil and rapeseed oil
- Using herbs and spices instead of salt to flavour foods
- Replacing red meat with fish and poultry
- Eating fish at least twice a week, one of which should be oily (mackerel, trout, herring, sardines and salmon)
- Drinking alcohol in moderation
First published in the Galway Independent 1st Feb 2017