“My cardiologist told me I need to lose weight, but not really how to do it.” If you’re lucky enough to get more than 15 minutes a year with your doctor and cardiologist, you’re in the minority. They have patients stacked up one right after the other, and rarely have the ability to provide anything other than prescription advice or to refer you to another specialist. And, let’s be honest…very few doctors have the capacity to provide coaching on how to make healthier decisions or create new healthier habits.
When I was first diagnosed with Congestive Heart Failure my cardiologist sent me to an in house counselor to show me how to make lifestyle changes to, in his words, “prolong my life”. The advice I got on my first day was, “Lose weight and cut out salt”. No further direction or tips were given. That was about 7 years ago, and to this day I’ve had 4 doctors. Not one has given me any guidance on losing weight for improving heart health. I don’t know why the medical community is like this, but people are turning more and more to health coaches for preventing and reversing heart disease.
My experience with this problem is one of the main reasons I even began to study health coaching. And in this article, I’d like to share with you 5 diet tips that will not only help you lose weight, but can also improve your heart health and function.
Drink More Water
I’m a broken record when it comes to water. You are not drinking enough of it. I promise!
Even a slight (10%) level of dehydration can slow down your metabolic function. Dehydration makes your body go into a state where you do not digest your food as efficiently as possible. This means you don’t absorb the nutrients your body needs from the food you eat. This can cause your body to make you feel like you’re hungry all the time, so you eat more food…taking in more unnecessary calories that get stored as fat. It’s a vicious cycle that keeps many people overweight and unhealthy for years.
But the solution is very easy. Just drink more water. How much water should you drink? That’s easy! You need to take in at least 1/2 your body weight in ounces of water per day. So, if you weight 140 lbs you should be drinking at least 70 ounces of water each and every day.
Slow Down, Chew, and Watch Portions
How you eat is just as important as what you eat, if not more! Most of my clients are surprised to learn that they have been over eating at almost every meal. It takes about 20 minutes for your body to tell your brain that you have had enough to eat. If you wolf down your food in three minutes, it’s very easy to eat more calories than your body needs to be satisfied. Notice I said “satisfied”, and not “full”. Many people eat until they are full. If you over eat by a few hundred calories every meal, imagine how hard it is going to be to lose weight.
Here’s three quick tips on how to make sure you’re not overeating.
- Slow down and set your fork down in between bites.
- Make sure you chew your food at least 20 times before swallowing
- Use portion control by measuring your food (Use the Palm Method for ease)
Increase Your Fiber Intake
To improve heart health, it is recommended that you get at least 10 servings of low glycemic fiber every day. This will not only help improve heart health, but it will help you lose weight. Fiber takes up room in your stomach and also improves digestion. You might say that taking in optimal amounts of fiber is a win-win-win.
Eat Closer to the Farm
You should endeavor to eat at least 80% to 85% of your meals as clean as possible. What is “Clean”? We’re talking whole, natural foods that are organic, fresh as possible, and at peak ripeness. These clean foods deliver the most flavor and nutrition available in the super market. Eat local! Food that is trucked in from long distances are often picked before they are at optimal ripeness, and sprayed with pesticides and other chemicals to maintain freshness.
When it comes to meat, you want to get in as much wild or pasture raised, grain fed, and antibiotic free as you can. Stay away from the large factory farmed meat. Once again, local is the way to go. There’s not a local farmer that won’t let you come see the operation he has. Some even schedule farm tours and opportunities for you to sample the food.
Eat More Healthy Fats
It seems counter intuitive to suggest that someone eat more fat to lose weight and improve heart function, but it’s all the the type of fat we’re talking about. Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to lower triglycerides. Those are the types of fats that clog up your arteries. These fats also help lower the bad cholesterol (LDL) in your blood and raise the good (HDL).
Some great sources for Omega-3s are avocados, coconuts, and olives. Other fantastic sources for these heart friendly fats are cold water fish like Salmon, Sardines, and Mackerel. I personally try to have salmon at least once per week.
Putting it All Together
Eating cleaner with fresh local produce and high quality meats, including wild caught cold water seafood will go a long way to not only help you lose weight, but also improve heart function. But it’s only the first steps.
I’m happy to announce that I will begin taking new clients for my 90-Day Healthy Heart Reboot very soon! In this program I will show you how to create new healthy habits to improve heart function, lose weight, have more energy, and feel better without suffering through restrictive dieting or militant exercise routines.
If you would like more information, or get on the wait list for this program please schedule a Free Success Strategy Session with me today! Just CLICK HERE!
COULD YOU USE SOME ACCOUNTABILITY?
Most of us know what we are supposed to do, but lack the accountability to follow through. My new Accountability BFF (Begin, Follow-Up, Finalize) program gives you the personalized support you need to finally start achieving your goals! Learn More Here!
If you don’t know where to start, I’m here for you. Each and every week I set aside times for what I call Success Strategy Sessions. These short (and FREE!) coaching calls are designed to get you moving toward your goals and reaching them at lightening speed. During the call we’ll talk about where you currently are, where you’d like to be, and come up with some quick actionable steps you can take right away.
These calls are FREE, but I only have a limited amount of time to do them each and every week. They are “first-come-first-serve”. If you’d like to schedule a free Success Strategy Session CLICK HERE!