October 2007

Health Note: High Blood Pressure?

Author: Teresa Jackson

A Little Weight Loss Goes a Long Way!

Hypertension—or high blood pressure—is just one side effect of being overweight. But if you get discouraged thinking of how many pounds you’ll have to drop to make a difference, take heart. Losing just a little weight can provide substantial and long-lasting benefits for people who have high blood pressure.

In a study of 102 people with severe hypertension, researchers discovered that those who lost an average of just seven pounds reduced their need for medication for more than two years. Lead researcher, Daniel W. Jones, M.D., said, “The patients maintained their weight loss for only six to 12 months, but the benefits were sustained for as long as 30 months.”

It is remarkable that such a modest improvement in weight can have such a major impact on the health of those with high blood pressure. This should give encouragement to anyone with hypertension, or any other chronic disease and excess weight.

If you have high blood pressure or any other chronic disease and know that you need to lose weight, here’s what you can do to improve your chances of losing weight safely and keeping it off permanently:

•Lose weight because you want to, not because someone else wants you to. You must be internally motivated to lose weight because it is what you want to do.

•Accept that a healthy weight loss is slow and steady. A healthy weight loss goal of one to two pounds a week is ideal. Set weekly or monthly goals that allow you to monitor your successes.

•Forget about fad diets, diet pills and special combinations of foods. This is not the answer to achieve and maintain a permanent healthy weight. Start by incorporating a wide variety of healthful foods into your meals.

•Eat seven to 13 servings of fruits and vegetables every day.

•Get some exercise. Adding physical movement a few days a week can dramatically increase your rate of weight loss.

It’s not enough to eat healthy food and exercise for a few weeks though. You have to incorporate these behaviors into your life so that these new habits just become part of who you are.

Lifestyle changes involve taking a good look at your eating habits and daily routine. Assess your eating style. Were you taught to eat everything on your plate? If so, do you feel compelled to do this even though you’re full? Do you eat fast? Do you take big bites? When do you eat?—Over the sink or while driving in your car? Once you have assessed where you are, then you can begin working out a strategy to gradually change the habits and attitudes that may have sabotaged your past efforts.

Make a healthier lifestyle, not a number on the scale, your primary motivation. Progress, not perfection, is what counts.

Theresa Jackson is a certified clinical hypnotherapist and nutritional counselor who is also pursuing a doctorate in natural health. She is the founder & president of Wellness Within Centers, offering programs in weight reduction, smoking cessation and golf performance improvement. You can reach the Wellness Within office at 843-986-9700. Have a question you might like answered? You can e-mail your questions to theresa@wellnesswithincenters.com.

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