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Four Signs of a Healthy Weight Loss Plan for the Heart

Jun 23, 2008
Being overweight puts you at a much greater risk of developing heart disease. If you are currently overweight, getting back to a healthy weight is one of the best things you can do for your heart. If you are looking for a weight loss diet plan, there are a few things to look for to make sure the plan is healthy and has a good chance of success.

1. The diet plan is not restrictive.

All weight loss diets work by controlling calories, either by reducing the number of calories you eat or by increasing the number of calories you burn through physical activity, or both ideally. But to lose weight, it isn't necessary to restrict lots of individual foods or restrict whole food groups. Plus restrictive diets are very difficult to maintain.

2. The diet plan doesn't promise easy weight loss or a secret to weight loss.

Fad diets based on eating a single type of food that burns fat or promises to reveal a weight loss secret are just too good to be true. Losing weight isn't easy for most people. The behavior changes that are needed to adopt a healthy weight loss diet are tough. take perseverance and time.

The real secret to most fad diets is that the actual diet plan limits calories - a necessary part of any weight loss diet. The promise of a secret weight loss food or magic ingredient is often secondary to a low calorie plan.

3. The diet plan results in a healthy rate of weight loss.

When you start a weight loss diet, you may lose weight quickly at first then plateau. But overall, a healthy rate of weight loss is about one to two pounds per week. This might sound slow, but losing much more weight per week would require a severe restriction in calories. A very low calorie diet should be followed carefully with a doctor because these diets often do not meet basic nutritional needs.

4. The diet plan includes exercise.

Pass on any weight loss plan promises easy weight loss without exercise. Burning extra calories isn't the only heart health benefit of exercise. Exercise strengthens the heart, reduces your risk of heart disease and lifts your spirits. Building more muscle mass through regular exercise also helps your body burn calories at rest.

Finally, don't think about a diet as a short term solution for weight loss. Instead, adopt diet habits that are both heart healthy and help you maintain a healthy weight. This way, these diet and exercise habits will become part of your overall healthy heart lifestyle. While they aren't flashy or always easy to start, remember the basics of a heart healthy diet:

Limit foods high in saturated fat and cholesterol like fatty meats, cheese, butter and eggs.

Avoid foods with artificial trans fats. To do this read food labels for foods with 0 grams of trans fat and no hydrogenated vegetable oils. Avoid foods like baked goods restaurant fried foods - some don't carry a food label but are often made with dangerous hydrogenated oils.

Eat many servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Try for eating five to nine servings per day. Filling your plate with these foods adds heart healthy nutrients, fiber and phytochemicals plus eating more fruits and vegetables leaves less room for unhealthy foods.

Choose whole foods over processed foods. Fresh, frozen and canned foods can be good choices. The key is to read ingredient lists to make sure that you aren't getting highly processed and artificial ingredients. You can also avoid extra salt, fat and sugar by choosing foods without these added ingredients.
About the Author
It seems there are a million ways to lose weight and maintain a healthy heart. Keep in mind, however, that simply controlling calories and cutting trans fats and saturated fat from one's diet will do the trick. Visit HeartMart, where heart disease information is #1.
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