February is American Heart Health Month and we at Long Island Foot & Ankle Group, PC want to focus on an important aspect of heart, foot and total body health—losing weight. If you are obese or overweight, your risk for heart disease and high blood pressure is significantly increased. In addition, our podiatrists, Dr. Russell Caprioli, Dr. Mary Ann Bilotti, Dr. John Haight and Dr. Marzana Mleczko will tell you that the excess strain on your lower extremities from extra pounds is a primary cause of developing and worsening symptoms of podiatric conditions such as plantar fasciitis, arthritis and sesamoiditis. Losing excess weight improves your circulation and your metabolism, reduces your risk for certain cancers and also helps you sleep better and have more energy for active pursuits. Not to mention you’ll feel so much better!
What’s Holding You Back?
Whether you have 10, 25, 50 or more pounds to lose, it can seem like the goal is so far away that it’s not even worth starting. The trick is to start gradually, changing one habit at a time. Below are 5 that are fairly easy to do to get you started:
1. See green—add more green to your plate. Leafy greens, salads, green vegetables, even green chips (made from kale!) will all increase the nutrients you are getting and help fill you up with nutritious foods rather than empty calories. Go on a grocery store adventure and try different greens every week. Recipes are easy to find online. Choose those that don’t add a lot of fat.
2. Water up—sometimes we may think we’re hungry when we’re actually thirsty. Water is filling too and will help you feel satisfied and eat less, especially if you have a glass before meals. Strive for 8 glasses a day. Replace sugary sodas and juices with water and you’ll be cutting calories and dollars off your grocery bill at the same time.
3. Increase fiber—this wonder nutrient helps decrease your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and strokes while at the same time improving digestion and making you feel full. Whole grains, most fruits, oatmeal, avocados, beans, peas and lentils are all good sources of fiber. Find ways to work them into your daily menus and snacks.
4. Follow the calendar—eat what’s in season and you’ll not only get a wide variety of nutrients from available fruits and vegetables you’ll also save money and enjoy tastier meals. Shop at farmer’s markets to help support local growers in your area during summer months.
5. Eliminate processed food—okay, this one might be a bit harder to do, but start cutting out foods that are high in chemicals, artificial sweeteners and hydrogenated oils. Guaranteed you’ll feel better and your body will be healthier. You will also cut calories and reduce sodium, another risk factor for high blood pressure.