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It has long been understood that a healthy diet and lifestyle are the best weapons to protect against heart disease. Research shows that eating healthfully, exercising more, maintaining a healthy weight and not smoking can help reduce heart disease-related deaths by 50 percent. Adopting heart-healthy eating habits just got easier with the help of this delicious 7-day, 1,200-calorie meal plan. The meals and snacks in this plan incorporate heart-healthy foods: fiber-rich fruits, vegetables and whole grains, lean protein and heart-healthy fats like olive oil and avocado. Dishes are seasoned with just a little salt and lots of herbs and spices, to keep things flavorful without adding too much sodium. We made sure that each day is within the recommended limits established by the American Heart Association for sodium, saturated fat and added sugars—nutrients to limit in a heart-healthy diet. Reducing your risk of heart disease is about more than just your diet. Talk to your doctor about adding in an exercise program and other healthy lifestyle factors (think, not smoking or decreasing daily stress).
fizkes/ShutterstockDaily weigh-ins can make you feel terrible, especially if you’re the type to obsess over every ounce. Yet abandon the scale completely and research has shown your weight is likely to creep up over time. Fortunately a recent study from Cornell found there is a happy medium. People who weighed themselves at a set time each week not only didn’t gain weight but even lost a few pounds without making any other changes to their diets. They say that seeing the number can make you more mindful of what you eat throughout the week.
Breadie, there’s a change that takes place in many people when switching to a paleo diet. I’m 55 and up until about 3 years ago, when I discovered the paleo diet, I LOVED bread (and pasta, and other forms of grain). I tried eat a “healthy” diet (think “whole” grains), but by this time in my life I was so metabolically deranged that I HAD to make some changes if I wanted to have any kind of quality of life. Osteoarthritis was kicking my butt and I was facing a knee replacement operation among other things. I pretty much started eating paleo out of desperation. I thought there was no way I could give up my bread, among other foods, but I did so out of desperation. What surprised me the most was that after a few weeks of eating a very clean, paleo diet, that “need” to eat bread and grains (and sugar) completely disappeared! I’d been on several different kind of “diets” over the years (such as Weight Watchers), and they were excruciating for me to follow, because they were allowing me to continue eating those foods I was addicted to (and didn’t realize at the time were harming my body). Completely eliminating the grains and sugar was quite eye opening to me, and now from what I understand those foods have an opiate affect on people. They stimulate the pleasure hormones and make us want more. I have not had to have the knee replacement, and my health has improved in COUNTLESS ways since adopting this way of eating. I feel better now than I did through my 30’s and 40’s! I think the changes that happened to me regarding food and how it makes me feel happen to most people who switch to paleo. And I think those who have not experienced that physiological “switch” (such as yourself), cannot understand how life altering it can be. I’m happy that you are in good health now, just be aware that the affects of eating grains can and often do catch up with folks over the years. If that ever happens to you, don’t despair because it really IS possible to live life without bread!
Many Paleo newbies believe that less food is always better when it comes to losing weight. This belief causes you to deprive your body of the calories and nutrients it needs to function optimally and causes additional stress. Plus, decreasing your caloric intake too much lowers your resting metabolic rate (how many calories you burn just staying alive), which can cause weight loss to stall or even reverse. No matter what program you choose, dieting should never be about starving yourself. Calories do count, but when it comes to weight loss, undereating is just as problematic as overeating.
Alongside exercising inefficiently comes the issue of overkill at the gym. Oftentimes, this is accompanied by the notion that we have to work out for hours to see results. It’s worth clarifying that in terms of weight loss, those extra hours are better spent getting your meal prep done. The famous saying ‘Abs are made in the kitchen’ is absolutely true. And as much as regular fitness routine will aid with the weight loss and keep your heart healthy, it’s only a small contribution when compare to what you eat.
Most people don’t realize just how important sleep is for losing weight! For example, a 2009 study linked shortened sleep duration to weight gain, and a 2012 study linked lack of sleep with increased hunger. I personally think that getting enough sleep every night will give you a ton of other benefits too (e.g., my skin gets dramatically clearer when I continuously sleep enough, and I’m able to make better food decisions when I’m not tired).
One common misconception is that all high cholesterol foods should be avoided completely. “Cholesterol from your diet actually doesn’t affect your blood cholesterol levels like it was once thought,” says Christy Shatlock, MS, registered dietitian at bistroMD. “However, you do have to be careful because oftentimes foods high in cholesterol are also high in saturated fat, which needs to be limited on a heart healthy diet.” In other words, don’t indulge in bacon and whole milk. But go ahead and eat eggs, salmon and shrimp even though they have cholesterol, since they’re not high in saturated fat.
Wow, there is not a single recipe on here that doesn’t look good. I am so excited to have found this site! Hubs and I are trying to eat more natural, and so far every dinner for 2015 has been grain-free (or mostly grain-free). These meals make me want to keep it up…I always thought Paleo was difficult and super-expensive. These meals look do-able and relatively normal. Thanks so much! 🙂
Jonathan Bailor didn’t try to refute the observation that we’re eating more. What he said was that given that we know we’re eating more, the calorie ‘math’ would lead us to expect to be much more overweight than we are. He’s not saying we’re not eating more, but that the simplistic treatment of calories leads to the wrong predictions.
Switching to a 100% Paleo Diet after years of eating bad carbs is a recipe for disaster and you giving up immediately! Instead, try finding a way to implement a change or two along the way until you start to see those results.
Exercise is key to most weight loss plans because it helps you burn more calories, and more calories burned equals more pounds lost. But what if you hate exercise? Is it required to lose weight? It certainly helps you stay healthier (by revving your heart rate and building your muscles.) But it is not mandatory. There are ways to lose pounds without exercising. Here’s how:
It can actually help you cut back on calories. That’s because capsaicin, a compound found in jalapeno and cayenne peppers, may (slightly) increase your body’s release of stress hormones such as adrenaline, which can speed up your ability to burn calories. What’s more, eating hot peppers may help slow you down. You’re less likely to wolfed down that plate of spicy spaghetti —— and therefore stay more mindful of when you’re full. Some great adds: Ginger, turmeric, black pepper, oregano, and jalapenos.
This diet has been one of the best experiences of my life. I didn’t have to starve myself, I didn’t have to take any unhealthy diet pills, I didn’t have to work my butt off at the gym, and I didn’t have to eat bland boring food!
Another win for your cup of joe: Caffeinated coffee is a natural (mild) diuretic, which helps you de-puff by eliminating excess water in the body. Java’s stimulating effects also keep things moving in your gut, London says. The regular bowel movements help with a flatter belly.