Keeping a healthy weight is one of the best things you can do for your heart's health. Healthy eating means you eat when you are hungry and you stop when you have eaten enough. It also means that you are preparing healthy meals consisting of foods from the four food groups as described in Canada's Food Guide to Healthy Eating: Cereal Products, Vegetables and Fruit, Dairy, Meat and Alternatives. It is also important to monitor portion sizes.
If you are unsure of a healthy weight, see assessment Tool for more information
If you are having difficulty maintaining a healthy weight, you may want to consult your health care provider. He or she may be able to direct you towards a weight loss program tailored to your needs. Even a loss as low as 4.5 kg (10 pounds) can lower your systolic blood pressure (first digit) by 7.2 mmHg and your diastolic blood pressure (the second digit) by 5.9 mmHg
Check out our specific weight loss strategies.
The Heart and Stroke Foundation does not support or recommend any fashionable diet. These diets tend to be bad for health because they can make you gain weight instead of you lose it. Here's why :
- Diets too low in calories activate the body's hunger mechanism. Once in "hunger mode", the body uses all the fuel it can find to compensate for calorie deficiencies and makes no differentiation between muscles and adipose tissue. By losing muscle, you lose your calorie expenditure potential, also called metabolism. When you lose muscle, it becomes very difficult to maintain a healthy weight after you stop the diet.
- Draconian deprivation regimes can make you feel lacking. You can lose weight, but you will not be able to endure this kind of deprivation for very long. Once you end the diet, you could compensate by abusing foods that you have missed. Again, this could lead to weight gain.