Basic principles of a healthy weight
Maintaining a healthy weight is one of the best things you can do for your heart health. A healthy eating plan means eating when you're hungry and stopping when you've had enough. It includes creating healthy meals from the Four Food groups as outlined in Canada's Food Guide: vegetables and fruit; grain products; milk and alternatives; meat and alternatives. Portion control is also important.
If you're unsure if you are at a healthy weight, go to the Healthy Weight Assessment page for more information.
If you're having difficulty maintaining a healthy weight, you may need to speak to your healthcare provider. He or she may be able to steer you in the right direction toward healthy weight loss. Losing as little as 10 pounds (4.5 Kg) can drop systolic blood pressure (the first number) by 7.2 mm Hg, and diastolic (the second number) by 5.9 mm/Hg. Slow weight loss is best; one to two pounds (1 Kg) a week are sufficient.
Read about specific strategies for a healthy weight.
The Heart and Stroke Foundation does not endorse or recommend any fad diets. They tend to be unhealthy because you may eventually become heavier than when you started. Here are some of the reasons why:
- Severe calorie-reduced diets turn on the body's starvation mechanism. When
in starvation mode, the body uses whatever fuel it can to make up for the
shortfall of calories and doesn't discriminate between muscle and fat. When you
lose muscle, you also lose your calorie-burning potential, also known as your
metabolism. So when you lose muscle, it is extremely difficult to maintain a
healthy weight after the diet is over.
- Drastic reducing diets may leave you feeling deprived. You may lose weight, but you may not be able to sustain that kind of starvation diet for long. Once you go off the diet, you may treat yourself to all the foods you missed. This may lead, once again, to weight gain.
The Healthy Weight Action PlanGet started on your personal weight loss goals today with the MY Heart&Stroke Healthy Weight Action Plan, in print or online. The Heart and Stroke Healthy Weight Action Plan is a 12-week step-by-step program that will support you in achieving healthy habits and a healthy weight – for life.