It might be hard to imagine, but you may be able to significantly improve your health by eating a few less chips and drinking less than a cola per day—even if you’ve been eating poorly for decades and living a largely sedentary life.
New research from the American Heart Association finds that obese seniors who cut just 250 calories per day and exercise moderately can undo decades of damage to vein health. This may also contribute to weight loss.
Cutting 250 calories is virtually nothing. To put things in perspective, a single can of cola has about 140 calories. A serving of potato chips (and who has just a serving) is about 150 calories.
The researchers found that a combination of moderate exercise and calorie reduction worked better to improve vascular health and promote weight loss than aggressive calorie reduction and moderate exercise or exercise alone.
Reducing calories by 250 per day and doing a little bit of moderate exercise for 20 weeks led to a nearly 10 percent loss in body weight and was associated with significant improvements in arterial stiffness, meaning blood flowed notably better.
The general message from the new research is that slow and steady wins the race against aggressive changes. Taking moderate approaches to diet can help more in the long run than major shakeups to your routine.
It’s also far more sustainable. Cutting 600 calories per day from your diet is a struggle. You’ll feel their absence.
But 250? There’s no chance you notice. Plus, the research indicates that it will work better.
Incrementally cutting 250 calories is a tried and tested effective approach to weight loss, and this new study shows it can do a lot for heart health as well. How do you know when to cut more? When you notice that your weight loss plateaus.
So, let’s say you cut calories and perform moderate exercise, and after 10 weeks you see weight loss slow down. Simply cut another 250 and the gains should continue.
You can reverse years of abuse to your body with some simple adjustments. Your body is resilient when given a chance to recover.
Mat Lecompte is a health and wellness journalist. This article was first published on BelMarraHealth.com