The Heart-Healthy TLC Diet

Keeping Your Weight in Check

The third part of the TLC program is weight maintenance. If you are overweight or obese, it increases your risk for numerous problems, including high cholesterol. Those who have excess weight around the waist may have an increased risk for something called metabolic syndrome.
This "syndrome" isn't a disease, but rather a group of risk factors for heart disease and other health conditions like diabetes. In fact, metabolic syndrome is related to a condition called "insulin resistance," which can lead to diabetes. The underlying causes of metabolic syndrome are abdominal (stomach) obesity and physical inactivity.
Those who are overweight in addition to having high cholesterol will also be advised to get their weight under control by reducing their caloric intake and increasing physical activity. When first starting the TLC diet, the primary focus will be on lowering your LDL levels. However, this can also mean that you will lose weight as well, as you will be reducing your intake of saturated fat and calories and increasing your fiber intake.
If you are still overweight after two to three months, your healthcare provider may recommend that you spend more effort on losing those excess pounds, especially if you have metabolic syndrome.
One of the ways to find out where you stand with your weight includes calculating your body mass index (BMI) (see BMI Calculator to check your individual number). So what does this number mean? The breakdown is as follows:
  • BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 is considered a normal weight
  • BMI of 25 to 29.9 is overweight
  • BMI of 30 or higher is obese.
Another method to check your weight is to measure your waist. A waist measurement of 35 inches or more for women, or 40 inches or more for men, is one of the risk factors for metabolic syndrome. This measurement can also increase your risk for obesity-related problems, such as heart disease.
Your healthcare provider can help you determine what your healthy weight should be. He or she can also help you set reasonable and safe weight loss goals. In general, a safe weight loss is one to two pounds a week. Even losing 10 percent of your current weight (if you are overweight) can help reduce your risk for heart disease and other medical conditions.
The basics for losing weight include eating fewer calories than you burn. For example, eating 500 fewer calories a day than you use up will result in a one-pound weight loss in a week. Some general guidelines for women include daily meal plans of 1,000 to 1,200 calories a day, while for men, daily meal plans of 1,200 to 1,600 calories are the norm. These meal plans are usually considered safe for weight loss in women and men. However, your healthcare provider can recommend a plan that is tailored for your specific needs.
Unfortunately, there's no magic pill and no quick fix for losing weight. It is a lifestyle change. Your goal is not to simply lose weight; it's to keep the weight off. The key is counting your calories, watching your portion sizes, and getting in that physical activity.
If you are struggling with getting your weight where it needs to be, talk to your healthcare provider. He or she may recommend seeing a dietitian who can help you with meal plans and give you tips on reaching your weight loss goals.
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