Greetings and welcome to the inaugural writing of VCC for Life, a brief communication to our patients and their families with explanations of cardiovascular diseases, risk factors for cardiovascular illness, disease prevention and cures, and healthy living for all adults and their families. We sincerely hope that this communication finds you on a path to wellness, and very likely the fact that you are reading this means that you are taking big steps toward a healthier future for yourself.

We know a diagnosis of cardiovascular disease may be overwhelming and carry with it a degree of worry, but we want you to know with confidence that we understand and are on your team in your pursuit to better health. We know that this journey may not be easy for many of you, and we value your time. Therefore, we will keep these communications brief and pointedly direct to educate and coach you along.

First of all, it is a new year, 2021 yeah!!, and many of you have likely made a New Year’s Resolution.  From a health perspective, we have heard from many that losing weight is one of them.  One guidance that I have read that has a beacon of meaningfulness in moving forward is the acronym SMART:

SMART:

Specific, Measurable, Achievable/Attainable, Realistic/Relevant, and Time-related.

When we hit all of these targets, we meet success.

View CDC Poor Nutrition Factsheet PDF View Health.GOV Dietary Guidelines PDF

These are excellent resource documents for the readers among you, or those inquiring minds who want more details. Seventy-plus page documents may not be for everyone, though.  For the pursuer of more “refined” information, I have whittled down to what I find most useful for a framework.

I am a proponent of the engineering adage form follows function. In essence, we are all not going to weigh the same or have the same body, but the function of our human body depends on health of all of the systems, even to the cellular and molecular level, and unnecessary fat and weight in the system, makes the system not function optimally.

The disease and conditions that are associated with inappropriate body weight are hypertension, type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome, chronic edema, fatty liver disease, obstructive sleep apnea and its complications of depression / hypertension / fatigue / memory loss, arthritis and back pain, obesity/hypoventilation syndrome, and so many more indirect side effects of obesity and weight gain.

7 Habits for Weight Loss Success

1 Eat rather simply

Eat Healthy FoodsSensory specific satiety.” (More processed = less simple).

  • More food variety of food types in a single meal leads to more eating.  Diversity is good, but spread it out over the week.
  • Minimally processed foods have higher satiety than processed foods. Eat the ingredients.

The PROCESSED FOOD GROUP. This is NOT food.

  • Carbonated soft drinks
  • Sweet or savory packaged snacks, pudding and gelatin.
  • Ice cream
  • Candies (confectionery)
  • Margarines and spreads and oils, yes these are all processed foods
  • Cookies, pastries and cakes, and doughnuts
  • Most breakfast cereals and cereal bars
  • “Fruit”-flavored drinks
  • Cocoa drinks
  • Meat and chicken extracts, such as cold-cuts.
  • “Instant” sauces and puddings
  • “Health” and “slimming” products such as powdered or “fortified” meal and dish substitutes
  • Pre-made pies, pasta and pizza dishes
  • Poultry and fish “nuggets” and “sticks” (worse when they are deep-fat fried)
  • Sausages, Brats, Burgers, Hot dogs
  • Powdered and packaged “instant” soups, noodles and desserts
  • Remember: Sugar, salt and fat. We’re easily hooked on that. 

2 Get most calories from unrefined starches, veggies and fruits

Trigger your stomach’s stretch receptors.

  • Pay attention to calorie density
  • Keep it less than 567 calories per pound.
  • Satiety index; get higher baby!  Boiled potatoes and Oats and Apples very high. Doughnuts and Croissant are low satiety.
Food Calories/Pound
Vegetables 60-195
Fruit 140-420
Potatoes, Pasta, Rice, Barley, Yams, Corn, Hot Cereals 320-630
Beans, Peas, Lentils (cooked) 310-780
Breads, Bagels, Fat-free muffins, Dried fruit 920-1360
Sugar, honey, molasses, corn syrup, agave, maple syrup 1200-1800
Dry cereals, baked chips. Far-free crackers, pretzels, popcorn 1480-1760
Nuts, seeds 2400-3200
Oils 4000

Unhealthy Restaurants

3 Tend to avoid restaurants

  • In US from 1960 to 2011, money spent on food purchased away from home doubled. In that time frame, adult obesity rates have more than tripled.
  • Basically all restaurant meals have more calories than what you need. Extra calories are usually oils added to the food. Added oils do not increase satiety, just a lot of calories.

4 Practice some form of abstinence

Sugar and fats can trigger addictive response in brain.
Food Addiction

  • Scientific American, March 28,2010 – Fat addiction.
  • Psychology Today – multiple dates – Sugar addiction.
  • Triggers Foods- any food that once you start, you can’t stop.
  • SOFAS- Sugar, Oil, Flour, Alcohol, Salt.  Not actually food.
    • Salt is an appetite stimulant, increases calorie intake by 11%.
    • Gut microbiome inhabitants Lactobacillus sp, are decreased after high sodium diets. Lactobacillus sp has association with reducing diabetes and hypertension.
  • “Gateway” foods- example: chips. “Heeeyy man, now you gotta try this new dip!”

5 Daily movement

Daily MovementYou cannot outrun your salivary glands/mouth.

  • In the 1960-2011 time frame, the average daily hours spent watching TV/screen time doubled from 4 to 8 hours/day.
  • Exercise has little direct impact on weight loss, but it helps maintain weight and increases self-esteem and improves willpower. Helping abstinence goals (see above).
  • Just do it, anything. Walk. Biking. Gardening. Painting. Sculpting. Waxing your car (Wax on, wax off!)

6 Always be prepared

Food Willpower

The greatest battle we each fight each day is in the silent chambers of our soul.

  • Willpower is depleted when decisions aren’t made ahead of time.
  • Know your triggers and weaknesses, and manage them.  Know H.A.L.T.S. and how that can push you to stray from your plan.  H-hungry, A-angry, L-lonely, T-tired, S-stressed.

7 Create a clean environment

Clean Food Environment

Have what you need at work/home. Leave what you crave at the store.

  • “If it’s in the house, it’s in your mouth”- Chef AJ
  • Willpower is only required if you have to make a decision. Clean environment= no willpower challenges.

Are you ready for the battle ahead? 

“It is fatal to enter any war without the will to win it.”

– Douglas Macarthur

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