1. Choose and prepare foods in a heart healthy way.
- Choose fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk and cheese.
- Eat fruits and vegetables with your meals.
- Drink water or other calorie-free drinks instead of regular soda.
- Eat lean cuts of meat and fish.
2. Prepare foods the heart healthy way.
- Bake, broil, or grill foods instead of frying.
- Cook beans and rice without lard or bacon.
- Use fat-free or low-fat dressing on your salad.
3. Read the food labels to choose foods lower in calories and sugar.
Compare these Nutrition Facts labels for water and regular soda.
Which one would you choose?
Answer: Water is the best choice. It has no calories or sugar. Regular soda has 140 calories and 39 grams of sugar.
4. Limit your portion size.
- Eat small meals and healthy snacks throughout the day instead of one big meal.
- When eating out:
- Split a main dish with a friend.
- Order two small side orders, such as a half sandwich and salad, instead of a large entree.
- Divide your main dish in half as soon as you get it. Ask the waiter to wrap the other half "to go."
5. Say "Yes" to Physical Activity.
Make physical activity your answer to feeling tired, bored, and out of shape.
- Set your goal. Start slowly and work your way up.
- Do your favorite moderate physical activity for 30 to 60 minutes on most days. If you are short on time, divide it up. For example, walk for 20 minutes three times a day.
- Write down the activities you plan to do.
How To Start Your Family Plan To Lose Weight
- Pick a day to begin.
- Change one thing at a time.
- Make the changes slowly. Stick to them.
Examples of Moderate and Vigorous Activities
You may breathe harder, or your heart may beat faster. You should still be able to talk with a friend.
- Brisk walking
- Lifting weights
- Riding a stationary bike
You may breathe harder, or your heart may beat very fast. It will be hard to talk with a friend at the same time.
- Doing aerobic exercises
- Jumping rope
- Playing sports
Physical activity helps you improve your heart health, reduce stress, and feel better. Follow the steps below to get started.
Are you ready to begin?
- You can start physical activity slowly if you do not have a health problem.
- If you have a health problem, check with your doctor before starting physical activity.
*Pregnant and nursing mothers: Talk to your health care provider to find out the types of fish you can eat that are lower in mercury. Mercury can be harmful for your baby.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
Public Health Service
National Institutes of Health
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
NIH Publication No. 08-6354