Heart & Vascular Program

Heart Health

Lifestyle: Weight and Weight Loss

The key to weight loss is to burn more calories through physical activity than the amount of calories eaten from food and drinks. We can help you meet your weight loss goals. Here is some advice to get you started:

  • Centre your meals around whole grain breads and cereals, fruits and vegetables, and legumes. Include high fibre foods, which help to make you feel full and prevent overeating. Make half of each meal be vegetables, a quarter be grain products, and a quarter be meat or alternatives.
  • Eat every four to six hours throughout the day. Skipping meals, especially breakfast, can lead to overeating and may lower your metabolism, leading to more weight gain.
  • Eat slowly. Enjoy your meal. It takes 20 minutes after you start eating for your body to realize that it is full. Use Canada's Food Guide to determine healthy serving sizes.
  • Drink water throughout the day. We often think we are hungry when we are actually thirsty. Aim for eight glasses a day, unless you have been diagnosed with congestive heart failure.
  • Aim for 60 minutes of activity daily to aid in weight loss. Activities such as walking are usually safe for individuals with heart disease. Talk to your physician before starting a new activity, and visit the Health Canada website to view Canada's Guide to Physical Activity.
  • Set realistic weight loss goals. The key is moderation. Aim to lose weight one or two pounds a week. Work with a registered dietitian to develop a realistic weight loss plan.

Weight loss is based on healthy eating and living. There is not a miracle diet or pill that will help you successfully lose weight. Fad diets may lead to short term weight loss, but usually contribute to excess weight gain over the long term. In addition, taking herbal supplements for weight loss or following extreme fad diets can have adverse health effects.