Expert advice: how to lose weight permanently

If you are overweight, your heart and blood vessels also suffer – especially in the quartet with high blood pressure, sugar and lipid metabolism disorders. Heart Foundation experts explain how weight loss works in the long run.

Being overweight promotes the development of heart disease. Cardiologists have been pointing this out for a long time. The greatest danger is in case of overweight, high blood pressure, disorders of sugar and fat metabolism coincide. Doctors talk about the so-called metabolic syndrome.

A study by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) again confirmed this link. “Especially young adults with obesity between the ages of 18 and 29 have an increased risk of developing metabolic syndrome,” says nutritionist Prof. Dr. med. Hans Hauner of the Scientific Advisory Board of the German Heart Foundation. But also moderately overweight people with a body mass index (BMI) from the age of 25 could already suffer from a metabolic disorder.

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Weight loss relieves the heart

With increasing BMI and increasing age, it becomes more and more likely to develop metabolic syndrome and therefore also cardiovascular disease. To prevent this from happening, countermeasures should be taken at an early stage and the weight should be reduced as permanently as possible. The obesity expert and her colleague Susanne Schmidt-Tesch describe how this can be achieved in the current issue of the Heart Foundation magazine “Herz heute”.

When does obesity start?
The body mass index (BMI) is used as a measure of a healthy weight. To calculate BMI, weight is divided by the square of height.
Click here for adult BMI calculator.
A BMI between 25 and less than 30 is considered overweight, from a BMI of 30 doctors speak of obesity (“obesity”).

Avoid the yo-yo effect

Excessive weight loss is therefore considered the most effective measure to improve all components of the metabolic syndrome at the same time: “Even a five to ten percent weight loss can significantly improve blood pressure and values blood,” says Susanne Schmidt-Tesch, qualified ecotrophologist at the Else Kröner-Fresenius Center (EKFZ) for Nutritional Medicine at the Technical University of Munich.

According to the expert, the biggest difficulty lies in permanently maintaining the lower weight. The reason: During a diet, the body adapts to the lower calorie intake and the energy consumption decreases. If the affected people start eating more again, the weight increases again quickly – the Jojo effect threatens.

Lose weight by cutting calories

According to experts, the most important nutritional principles for weight loss are:

  • Eat about 500 to 600 calories less per day than usual, up to a maximum of 1,800 kilocalories per day.
  • Limit foods high in fat and calories such as high fat meat, sausages, sweets, breaded and fried foods.
  • Avoid high-sugar drinks like cola and lemonade as well as alcoholic beverages as much as possible.
  • Do not eat more than three meals a day, avoid snacks between meals.

Regular exercise: protection of the heart and other organs

In order to counteract the yo-yo effect, in addition to changing diet, behavior and exercise habits should also be taken into account.

“Exercise and sport have an overall positive influence on our body,” Hauner points out. “The insulin sensitivity of the cells of the body increases, the sugar in the blood can be used much better,” explains the nutritionist. The effect of exercise on elevated blood lipid levels is also positive (cholesterol) and increased blood pressure.

Movement: It is essential for losing weight and should therefore be integrated more into everyday life. (Credit: simonmayer/Getty Images)

Sports scientists recommend 10,000 steps a day or intense training three times a week. A combination of strength and endurance sports has proven particularly beneficial. If you are not used to exercising, you should start slowly and increase gradually. You should not overestimate calorie consumption during exercise – an hour of walking burns about as many calories as 40 grams of chocolate. But: Every movement has a positive effect and creates a better body feeling.

Successful weight loss – for the sake of your heart
in the Heart Foundation Podcast with Professor Hans Hauner find out which eating habits are effective in the long term, what heart patients should watch out for when dieting, and whether intermittent fasting is particularly effective.

How to protect yourself from relapses

In order to maintain the weight in the long term and to protect against relapses, it is important to monitor the weight and take countermeasures in time if it increases. Affected persons should take countermeasures at the latest when they have gained two kilograms of weight.

For example, short fasting periods or individual fasting days are suitable for rapid correction, during which protein shakes of about 600 kilocalories in total and a plate of salad or vegetables are on the menu for one or two days.

In general, some sort of self-observation in the form of a food diary is recommended. It can show: On what occasions do I overeat? Do I eat high fat or sugary foods, and if so, when? If you know your own weak points, you will be able to counter them more easily.

On the other hand, experts do not recommend giving up pleasure and your favorite food in general: “With a fundamentally healthy diet, no one has to do without their favorite foods”, emphasizes Schmidt-Tesch. On the contrary, it is important to only eat unhealthy foods in small amounts and enjoy them slowly.

Important note: The information does not in any way replace professional advice or treatment by trained and recognized doctors. The content of t-online cannot and should not be used to independently establish diagnoses or initiate treatments.

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