Four Drug Free Ways to Lower Blood Pressure – Part 2 – Lose Weight
After our 20’s it’s common for most of us to put on weight. In fact, 60% of Canadians over the age of 45 are by definition: “medically overweight or obese”. 1. Body Mass Index (Weight in kgs. divided by height in meters) is the medical measurement used to assess weight. A BMI > 25 is considered “overweight” and a BMI > 30 is “obese”.
In Hypertension Canada’s guidelines to Canadian healthcare professionals they recommend a target BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 kg/m, and a waist circumference < 102cm for men and < 88cm for women. Although these guidelines do not provide a lot of detail on how to lose weight, they do emphasize that weight reduction is more effective than other lifestyle strategies in preventing hypertension. Several studies have shown that blood pressure is reduced by 1.6mmHg for each kilogram of weight lost.
Although the preceding information is very dry and clinical, the key takeaway is that weight loss will drop your blood pressure without meds. The positive side effects include: feeling more energy and looking better.
Three Tips for Tackling Weight Loss
The science on weight-loss is extensive and there is a lot of information to help you with your individual plan. Outlined below are three general suggestions I have seen work effectively for people.
- Do the math
- Combine dieting with exercise
- Be Patient
Do the math
To lose weight you need to burn more calories than you consume. Of course this is a simple equation, but it is helpful to establish a baseline of the calories you burn in a normal day. Typically, 60%-75% of daily caloric consumption actually occurs while you are at rest. There are several “basal metabolic rate” calculators on-line that will estimate your calorie consumption. From there, to lose weight, you need to modify your calorie intake so that you are burning fat to meet your daily caloric needs. There is lot’s of guidance on-line on how to safely achieve this, use reputable sources for information. I know this is easy to say and incredibly difficult to achieve, but at the root of it, losing weight is about numbers.
Diet modification Combined with Exercise
The individuals I know who have been most successful losing weight and keeping it off combined regular exercise and with modifications to their diets. In one case, over a two year period, my friend Paul transformed himself from morbidly obese to an elite triathlete at the top of his age group.
It seems that the discipline involved with the commitment to exercise provided motivation to change his diet and cut back on calories.
Changing a lifestyle we’ve had for years isn’t easy, particularly when it comes to eating and exercise. Some would have you believe that it takes 21 days to form a habit, but the people I know who have made significant changes took many, many months (over 6). Overtime they adapted to both daily exercise and much healthier eating. They did not feel their new lifestyle was habitual. A habit is automatic, but these people described still making daily decisions to choose less calorie-intense foods.
It is more of “consciousness” than habit. Their gratification came in accomplishing their goals. What worked for them was repetition and a continuing commitment to their bigger goals.
Most people see significant weight loss from aggressive diet programs, but regaining most of the weight within 12 months is normal. In structuring your individual program, set realistic goals and give yourself adequate time to achieve them.
My personal experience with this relates to running. Before I started I was 175 lbs. After a year of running, I was visibly slimmer and my pants didn’t fit. But this took a year of running 4 to 6 times a week and cutting back on calorie intense foods.
Shedding pounds requires a long term commitment, but overtime your new lifestyle will become normal. You will lose weight and your blood pressure will fall along with it.
Author: Mark Beaton, Sr. VP of Marketing, BIOS Medical
- Statistics Canada. Canadian Health Measures Survey 2016