"Again, even a little bit of weight loss goes a long way when it comes to improving heart health and lowering the risk for cardiovascular disease." —Yasmine Subhi Ali, MD, FACC
The best way to shed pounds is to eat better and move more. For most people, eating more calories than you burn through exercise and everyday activities is what leads to extra weight. The content of those calories also matters. Research shows, for instance, that eating foods that are high in saturated fats can change body metabolism (the way your body gets energy from food) in such a way that you are more likely to hold on to extra weight.
Here are some ways to get your calories back in balance:
Many factors can influence your weight and overall health. These steps can also help you lose weight and reduce your risk of heart disease:
"Making lifestyle changes isn't always easy. Make a plan and surround yourself by people who can support you in your journey to not only be heart healthy, but healthier overall." —Martha Gulati, MD, FACC
For some people, medications or surgical treatments may be needed to achieve weight loss goals if diet and exercise have been tried without success. Weight-loss medications are usually recommended for people with a BMI greater than 30 AND who have at least one other obesity-related risk factor for heart disease, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes.
However, there is no magic pill when it comes to weight loss. If you are given a prescription for weight-loss medicine, you should be followed closely by a health care professional.
Also, be sure to talk with your health care professional before taking any over-the-counter supplements that promote weight loss. This is especially important for patients with heart disease. In some cases, OTC supplements can be dangerous.
Bariatric surgery—surgical procedures that affect how the body processes food—is another option. Surgery is typically seen as a last resort and recommended only for people who are very obese.
However, these medical options don't work alone. It is still necessary to establish healthy eating and exercise habits to maintain a healthy weight.