The very word ‘diet’ strikes fear into many people’s hearts. It means sacrificing the foods they love and eating less than they want to. While to a certain extent, this is true, depending on your heart condition, your diet will not need to be severe.
If you just wish to adopt a clean eating plan to improve your health, but there’s nothing wrong with you. You can gradually eliminate unhealthy foods from your diet.
However, if you suffer from high blood pressure and it’s bad, you may need to take immediate steps to cut down or eliminate salt completely from your diet. This will be the best way to mitigate the problem in the shortest time.
It all depends on the state of your current health.
• Take Baby Steps
Do not look at your new eating plan with disdain. Many people view healthy foods negatively because they taste ‘bland’ or are just not fun to eat. Most people don’t want to live on lean chicken breast and boiled broccoli their whole lives.
Well, you don’t need to. The goal is to slowly remove processed foods from your diet and replace them with healthier options. Instead of drinking packaged fruit juice, eat the fruits instead… or juice them yourself.
Instead of eating white bread, switch to whole grain bread. Ditch the sodas, and avoid food high in trans fats. Do not try to do it all overnight unless your condition is bad.
Take your time and make gradual changes to your diet. This is one of the toughest challenges out there. So, give yourself time.
• Focus on Fat Loss
The goal is fat loss and not weight loss. The weighing scale is not an accurate measure of fat loss. You could be skinny and have a high amount of fat. The goal is to have more lean muscle and less fat stores.
Use calipers to do skinfold measurements or use and electronic impedance device to calculate your body fat percentage.
This is important to know. Even with a healthy diet, you need exercise to burn off your visceral fat. You must approach fat loss with both diet and exercise.
• Hydrate Often
Drink sufficient water daily. Most of us walk around in a constant state of dehydration without even knowing it. Don’t wait till you’re thirsty. That’s too late.
Water helps to detoxify your liver and kidneys. A glass of water 20 minutes before your meal will prevent overeating, and you will have better weight management.
• Keep a Food Journal
This is an essential practice. The food journal will serve as a roadmap so that you can track your progress. You’ll know just how much you’re eating and what foods you’re eating. Do not rely on your memory.
Most people can’t even remember what they had for lunch 2 days before. By looking at your recordings, you’ll know just how much sugar, salt, and unhealthy fat you’re consuming. A heart-healthy diet will mean reducing your intake of these unhealthy foods. So, the journal will keep you aware and accountable.
Remember these 4 pointers when adopting a heart-healthy diet. Watching what you eat is just the first step. Losing fat, drinking enough water, being accountable, and, most importantly, maintaining a healthy diet throughout your life is what really matters.
If you can do that, your heart and body will be healthy, and you’ll be less likely to come down with the diseases that seem to be affecting millions these days. Prevention is better than cure.