As you know, our New Year’s resolutions are now about 2 months old. For some of us, it’s time for a tune-up!
An extremely important aspect of blood pressure normalization (which so many of us resolve to undertake as one of our New Year’s resolutions) is achieving/maintaining an ideal body weight.
Excess weight that we carry around can stress our circulatory system in its effort to supply blood to all of the tissues and organs we need to live a healthy life. The same is true for excess inches around our waist, which can create tension in our blood vessels. Both of these can negatively impact our blood pressure.
What’s too much weight around your waist?
- Men*: Waist measurement of 40 inches or greater; and
- Women*: Waist measurement of 35 inches or greater.
*This may skew to a lower number dependent on ethnicity
Moreover, extra pounds may also effect breathing while we sleep, which can raise our blood pressure.
Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight necessitates a multi-faceted approach. One extremely helpful tool in this process is environmental control. So, what does that entail?
Everyone has self-discipline sometimes. But no one has it all of the time! If what tempts you is in your home, work, or car, it probably calls your name… maybe even out loud!
For instance, I love bread pudding. Do I sometimes eat it? Sure! When I’m in a restaurant, I might share a serving with my husband. Why do I eat it? Because I’m human… and, as with most humans, I love to eat foods that I love to eat! Food is for nutrition and pleasure, after all.
But do I keep bread pudding in my environment? Nope! If I do, it will call my name at all times of the day. Worse, if I’m tired, hungry, upset or I just see or smell it… I will cave in and eat it!
So what’s the answer to my problems (as well as yours)? We should keep out the foods and beverages that trigger us and bring in the ones that support our good health. You’ve heard of “out of sight, out of mind”? Well, this one is “out of sight, out of blood stream”.
That said, take heart. If you have high blood pressure and your weight is higher than what is recommended for your age, height, and gender, eight different studies have shown that losing as little as 11 pounds can decrease your systolic pressure by more than 4 points and diastolic by 3 points.
So, what can you do to support your efforts for healthy weight/blood pressure maintenance?
Start to control your environment!
You know which high sodium, high calorie, high (unhealthy) fat, high sugar foods and beverages undermine your healthy weight and healthy BP efforts. So take them out of your home, work, and car! It doesn’t mean that you can never eat them. It just means that you can have a controlled portion in a controlled environment, where it won’t be calling your name day and night.
You know from previous installments of The Circulatory which foods and beverages are healthy for people trying to lower their weight and blood pressure. Bring those into your environment!
Here’s to your health!