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Women's Heart Program Heart Healthy Strategies

Maintain a Healthy Weight
 Being overweight (20 percent over normal weight guidelines for your frame and height) can increase your risk for developing diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and other medical problems. Being obese (more than 30 percent above healthy body weight) doubles the risk for CVD. For more information, visit the Web site of the National Institute for Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases at

You Can Achieve a Healthy Weight

If you’re overweight, develop a weight-reduction plan with your physician. Studies show that "diets" don’t work; controlling what you eat is only part of the challenge. To take the weight off (and keep it off), you need to make permanent lifestyle changes.

By exercising daily and eating healthy foods, you can maintain long-term weight loss. The key to daily exercise for weight management is increasing the total time you spend being active during the day to at least 30 minutes and making this a permanent part of your life.

A woman’s attitude is the most important factor. To achieve long-term weight loss, you must be willing to make permanent behavioral changes.

Medical Nutrition Therapy

Your physician may recommend that you consult with a registered dietician (RD), who can help you develop a weight loss plan. The RD can help you follow a sensible diet and exercise regimen to achieve a healthy weight. The RD understands that these changes take time, so he or she can develop a gradual plan for changing food-intake patterns.

The goals of medical nutrition therapy are:

  • to help you separate food and weight-related behaviors from psychological issues
  • to develop an action plan for changing food-intake patterns
  • to create a lifelong sensible diet and exercise program for maintaining a healthy weight
  • to help you use support and referral sources to stay on track
  • to provide information on specific nutritional recommendations for associated medical conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol.