Lose Weight for Your Heart’s Sake
By Claire Kowalchik
You gotta love your heart. It works round the clock for you keeping your circulatory system running to deliver a constant supply of oxygen and nutrients to brain, muscle, bone, and organs and to whisk away waste products. When your heart stops, everything comes to a halt. One of the most important actions you can take to prevent that from happening is to lose weight if you’re overweight; obesity is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
How Weight Loss Helps Your Heart
Excess weight exacerbates just about every risk factor for cardiovascular disease:
- high blood pressure
- high blood lipids (fats), including LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglycerides
- low HDL (good) cholesterol
- and diabetes
Shedding as few as 10 pounds can help reduce blood pressure or prevent hypertension says the American Heart Association. Research shows us again and again that if you are overweight--defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or higher—losing even a small percentage of pounds improves the health of your cardiovascular system and lowers your risk of heart disease.
A Proven Program
In a 2013 study to examine the effect of weight loss on cardiovascular risk factors, researchers randomly assigned 417 overweight women to one of three groups:
- The Jenny Craig program delivered with in-person consultations
- The Jenny Craig program delivered with consultations by phone
- Usual care, meaning a plan typically delivered in several sessions by a registered dietitian
Researchers found that a modest drop of 10 percent of initial body weight had a positive impact on several risks for heart disease: It lowered LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, improved insulin sensitivity so that the body becomes more adept at using glucose or blood sugar, and reduced inflammation as measured by blood levels of C-reactive protein (CRP). Moreover, weight loss of 10 percent or more after 12 months produced significant reductions in these risk factors, often lowering the risk factor from a category of high to medium or low. In addition, women who followed the Jenny Craig program achieved greater reductions in weight, BMI, and waist circumference than those who lost weight on their own.
Jenny Craig provides portion-controlled foods as part of a structured, nutritionally balanced menu. With Jenny Craig, you’ll also have access to weekly one-on-one sessions with a consultant who will help you identify your unique motivators, challenges, and personal goals and partner with you to set up menus and activity plans that suit you and your lifestyle. Your consultant provides accountability, and she’ll be your partner in problem-solving behavioral strategies to help you develop healthy eating habits and an active lifestyle.
Show your heart a little love this February by giving Jenny Craig a try. Already a member? Good for you, stay with us, and we’ll help you keep your heart working hard for you for years to come.