A heart disease diet should not be thought of as a temporary measure to get you over a sticky patch.   If you have had a cardiac event, surgery or been diagnosed with Coronary Heart Disease then there are many things about the way you live your life that you will have been recommended to change. One of those will be to change to a heart disease diet, but how do you choose?

All diets “work”, no matter how weird or sensible they are, if they help people to consume less calories than they use up, or burn. The big questions you should consider and ask when looking at starting a slimming diet are:

“Will this way of eating help me over the long term to stay at a healthy weight?”

“Is this a way of eating that I can sustain for the years ahead?”

“Does this eating pattern promote good nutrition and well being?”

If the answer to any of the questions above is no, then it is purely a quick fix and could potentially be damaging to your health.

What you eat impacts on your health at all levels, and the risks to your health of being overweight are well known, but a restrictive diet can also have a negative affect on your health. Your diet or daily intake of food needs to come from a variety of sources, and not exclude certain food groups. It should be full of variety and be balanced.

If you are following a diet that restricts your dairy intake, then your bone health through lack of calcium will be compromised.

If you are consuming a diet high in saturated fat, this puts you at greater risk of developing heart disease. Research also shows that some cancers are caused through of lack of fibre in the diet.

Dieting is boring, it is also very demoralising because to be on a diet you have to remind yourself why you are doing it in the first place. Subconsciously everyday you remind yourself that you are fat. This negative self talk will have an impact on your confidence, self esteem and potentially your mental health as well.

Ongoing research has shown that diets do not work in the long term. It is not unusual for eight out of ten people who start a diet to have given it up within a year. Dieting alone results mainly in a loss of water rather than fat. With a diet that is severe the first few week’s weight loss can be made up of 70% water!

When choosing a diet plan it should therefore not prescribe a quick fix weight loss plan or restrictive diet but should aim to:

. Improve and or change your eating habits and patterns for life

. Increase your physical activity levels

. Decrease your health risks associated with being overweight or obese

. Educate you on changing your behaviour and thinking patterns for life long weight management.

. Provide you with the tools to help you make and maintain the changes

. Motivate and encourage you to making these changes for good.

. Having reached your goal, enable you to maintain your weight.

If we are truly honest most of us know what we should be eating, so why don’t we do it? Often our eating patterns are the last thing we think about in our busy lives, and we continue to eat in the same way that we were taught to as children.

The great news is that it is never too late to start to make changes in our lifestyle habit. Making small achievable changes every single day will over time result in massive improvements not just to our weight and shape but also our long term health.

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