9 Ways to Lose Weight with High Cholesterol
- Lower your cholesterol by losing some weight.Obesity affects more than 78.6 million Americans. People who are obese have a body mass index (BMI) above 30 and are at greater risk for several health problems, including high cholesterol. When you’re carrying around extra pounds and have high cholesterol, your doctor is likely to urge you to get serious about losing some weight. High cholesterol can lead to coronary artery disease, which ratchets up your chances of having a heart attack. Coupled with obesity, high cholesterol can wreak havoc on your body. The good news is that losing just 5 to 10% of your total body weight can significantly improve your cholesterol levels.
- 1. Make exercise a regular part of your schedule.Physical activity is one of the most important ways to combat obesity and lose extra weight. You put meetings on your calendar, right? Try writing “Go for a walk” or “Hit the gym” on your calendar, too. You won’t be as tempted to blow it off when it’s written down in front of you. And small adjustments make a big difference. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Park your car at the back of the parking lot so you have longer to walk. If you live in a bike-friendly area, bike to work or to the grocery store, instead of driving. And try calling a friend! Research suggests that having a workout buddy will help you stick to an exercise plan—you have someone counting on you and holding you accountable.
- 2. Break up your exercise routine throughout the day.If you are having trouble scheduling a half hour of exercise into your day, think smaller—consider breaking down your exercise into 10-minute increments and spacing them out throughout the day. For example, you could walk for 10 minutes in the morning, take a 10-minute bike ride before dinner, and walk again in the early evening.
- 3. Take note of what you’re eating.A diet high in saturated fats raises the risk of high cholesterol in someone who is obese. You can keep track of the amount of saturated fat that you’re eating each day by writing it down—or entering it into a computerized log. By doing so, you’ll have a more realistic picture of what you’re really eating and what you need to cut back on. For example, the American Heart Association suggests that people with high cholesterol limit their consumption of saturated tat to between 5 and 6% of their daily calorie intake.
- 4. Eat low-fat yogurt.When you’re obese, you’re at an increased level of having too much LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. Saturated fat, which can raise your LDL and your total cholesterol, lurks in dairy products. Switch out the full-fat dairy for low-fat or even fat-free dairy products instead.
- 5. Cut back on the red meat.Fatty meats, especially red meat, tend to be high in saturated fat, too. You don’t have to give up meat altogether, but it will definitely help if you choose lean meats and other sources of protein, like poultry, beans and lentils.
- 6. Feast on fish.Speaking of other sources of protein, try adding a couple of servings of fish to your diet each week. Certain types of cold-water fish, including herring and salmon, contain lots of omega-3 fatty acids, which are considered a “good” type of fat. Consuming supplemental omega-3s can help increase your HDL, too.
- 7. Avoid pitfalls when eating out.You want to enjoy a meal with friends or family in a restaurant—you don’t want to regret what you ate afterward. Don’t be afraid to speak up so you can make the best possible choice. Ask your server for more information about how the food on the menu is prepared. Find out what kind of oils or fats were used—and if possible, ask for a healthier substitution.
- 8. Eat more fiber.An easy way to lower your LDL and your total blood cholesterol is to eat more foods with soluble fiber, such as oats, flaxseed and beans. This kind of fiber attracts water in your stomach and turns into a gel that traps certain food elements. This makes these foods less available for absorption, which can reduce your cholesterol. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, women should get 21 to 25 grams per day, while men should aim for 30 to 38 grams. Another benefit is that foods high in fiber are more filling, and you may be less tempted to overeat.
- 9. Call in a counselor.If you’re overweight or obese, and feel like you need additional help in losing weight and lowering your cholesterol, talk to your doctor about seeing a registered dietitian. A dietitian may be able to help you with more specific dietary recommendations or talk to you about the two most common diets for people with high cholesterol, the TLC.
9 Ways to Lose Weight with High Cholesterol