heart health Archives - Northwest Weight & Wellness Center
Exploring a Mediterranean Diet

Exploring a Mediterranean Diet

Are you familiar with the Mediterranean Diet? While it’s not actually a diet, you can consider it a style of eating used by people that live near the Mediterranean Sea. Research suggests that a Mediterranean eating pattern can lead to health benefits such as: improved cardiovascular health1, improvements in blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes2, and decreased risk of Alzheimer’s disease3.

Foods that are encouraged4:

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Beans and legumes
  • Seafood
  • Olive oil
  • Nuts and seeds

Foods to eat in moderation:

  • Poultry
  • Dairy
  • Eggs

Foods to limit:

  • Sweets, candy, desserts
  • Red meat, such as beef, lamb, or pork

Want to experiment with this way of eating? Here are some tips for incorporating a Mediterranean eating pattern into your daily life:

  • Start your day with a bowl of oatmeal topped with walnuts and berries.
  • Replace a bag of potato chips or pretzels with a handful of nuts as a snack.
  • Top your salad with baked salmon for added heart-healthy protein.
  • When cooking, use olive oil in place of butter.
  • Replacing a meat-based meal with beans. For example, use black beans in your tacos instead of ground beef.
  • Grab a piece of fruit rather than a slice of cake for dessert.

A Mediterranean eating pattern can provide potential health benefits and is relatively easy to follow. Why not start the new year by incorporating these guidelines into your eating habits. Have questions? We’re here to help! For more information on how to include these tips in a way that works for you, make an appointment with one of our registered dietitians. 

Sources:

 

  1. Carson JAS, Lichtenstein AH, Anderson CAM, Appel LJ, Kris-Etherton PM, Meyer KA, Petersen K, Polonsky T, Van Horn L; on behalf of the American Heart Association Nutrition Committee of the Council on Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health; Council on Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology; Council on Cardiovascular and Stroke Nursing; Council on Clinical Cardiology; Council on Peripheral Vascular Disease; and Stroke Council. Dietary cholesterol and cardiovascular risk: a science advisory from the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2019;140. doi: 10.1161/CIR.0000000000000743.
  2. Esposito K, Maiorino MI, Bellastella G, et al. A journey into a Mediterranean diet and type 2 diabetes: a systematic review with meta-analyses. BMJ Open 2015;5:e008222. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2015-008222
  3. Lourida, Ilianna, et al. “Mediterranean Diet, Cognitive Function, and Dementia: A Systematic Review.” Epidemiology, vol. 24, no. 4, 2013, pp. 479–489., www.jstor.org/stable/23486687.
  4. Ball, Serena, and Deanna Segrave-Daly. The 30-Minute Mediterranean Diet Cookbook.: 101 Easy, Flavorful Recipes for Lifelong Health. Rockridge Press, 2018.
JoAnn’s Bariatric Success

JoAnn’s Bariatric Success

JoAnn had a sleeve gastrectomy at NWWC in October 2017.

What is the best part about this journey?

How great I feel about myself! My blood pressure is down. I feel ten years younger. My sleep apnea is better. I am off acid reflux medicine. I can walk up and down stairs without huffing and puffing. My ankles and knees don’t hurt anymore. I can fold my arms across my chest and cross my legs easily. Sex is better!! So much better. I can drive my car more comfortably since my belly doesn’t hit the steering wheel. I can paint my toes again. I can use any bath towel in the house; before I had to use those giant bath towels and we only had a couple. I can scratch any part of my back by myself. Since I am not stressing about my weight and appearance anymore, I can use my brain energy to think of other more creative things. I literally have more time to think and focus.

I feel amazing. I have so much energy. I feel like “JoAnn” again.

What has been the hardest part?

The hardest part of my journey was making the decision to do it. I had taken every pill and done every fad diet. When I tried so many times to lose weight and was unsuccessful, I blamed myself. I thought I just hadn’t tried hard enough, I wasn’t strong enough, I had no will power, and I was destined to spend the rest of my life with obesity. I thought if that if I couldn’t do it myself, then surgery would be like a cop-out, like cheating. I thought people would judge me. I thought, “Wow, this is SO drastic. They will be cutting one of my organs and it’s permanent.” I was worried about how painful it would be… would it really work… can I take time off work… how much will this cost me… there are so many appointments… My excuses went on and on.

Getting the support from my family and friends was scary. I thought they would all make fun of me or tell me I was copping out or taking the easy way out. But they backed me and that was comforting. They said, “If you decide to do this, we support you 100%.” I wish I would have done it 10 years earlier. I wasted 10 years because I was so unhappy with myself.

What goals did you set for yourself? Have you made progress towards those goals?

JoAnn gets a wedding day lift from her boys

A few years ago, I wrote my “dream list” in the back of a notebook. I tried to use positive affirmations in hopes that my dreams would come true someday. Well, recently I found that notebook. I had forgotten about this list although I had dreamed of those things often. My “dream list” was:

  • A crimson Ford Explorer
  • The house of my dreams
  • For my twin boys to go to college
  • To be fit and thin again
  • To marry the man of my dreams

As I read the list, a tear came to my eye and I got goosebumps.

  • In my driveway sits a crimson Ford Explorer.
  • We bought the house of our dreams last November. I got the keys on my birthday.
  • My twins are in their 3rd year of college at UW & Western.
  • I lost over 100 pounds and feel better than I have in 20 years.
  • After spending 12 years together, I got married to the love of my life on August 24th

I got everything I dreamed of and didn’t even realize it until I read the list. I am happier than I have ever been in my life. My two older children have great jobs and homes and I am so proud of them as well. Life is GOOD!!! Everything is better. I could go on and on. I need to make a new list!

What advice would you give those who want to pursue weight loss surgery?

JUST DO IT! Making the decision is the hardest part. I listened to a lot of testimonials before doing this. When they got too negative, I would turn them off. I was terrified. But why be ashamed to help yourself? Why not get surgery to help your heart, your breathing, your health? Once you decide to do it, just think positively and do everything your doctor tells you to do. You will be brand new again!

I was sitting in the waiting room one day and had almost reached my goal weight. A lady in the waiting room asked me, “Why are you here?” I told her that I had had surgery. She said, “You don’t look like you were ever fat. I’m too afraid to do the surgery so I’m getting a diet plan.” I told her, “Just do it. It’s the best thing I did. You’ve tried everything. It’s not a cop-out.”

I see people and I know how they feel. I wish they could feel as good as me right now. There’s a lovely person inside there that’s suffering. I just want to help them. It’s so worth it.

It’s Not Just About Losing Weight…

It’s Not Just About Losing Weight…

When we hear bariatric surgery, the first thing that comes to mind is weight loss. But surgery is about much more than just weight loss. There are many health benefits related to weight loss that are even more important than achieving a certain number on the scale.  Let’s have a look at those:

Improvement of Type 2 Diabetes: After bariatric surgery, your stomach is much smaller so you will be consuming fewer calories. The surgery also affects your “gut hormones”, such as ghrelin. These changes to your eating habits and gastrointestinal tract can make your body more sensitive to insulin, improve your glucose tolerance, and help your pancreas produce its own insulin. Many people with type 2 diabetes notice lower blood sugars within days of surgery, even before they have started losing much weight.

Healthier Heart: Research shows that weight loss of 17 pounds can reduce blood pressure by about 8.5mm Hg systolic and 6.5mm Hg diastolic. This lightens the load on your heart. When you add in the healthy eating changes you’ll make, you will also likely improve your cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Sounds like a win-win for the heart!

Less Joint Pain: Studies estimate that each pound of weight loss reduces the load on your knee joints by 4 to 5 pounds. This means a 10-pound weight loss feels like 40-50 fewer pounds with every step you take! Weight loss also reduces strain on the lower spine and reduces inflammation which makes physical activity less painful and more enjoyable.

Better Sexual Function:  Many people experience improvements in their sexual life satisfaction after surgery, including in desire, activity, and physical health limitations. Surgery also improves fertility among women. We’ve had dozens of healthy “bariatric babies” born into the NWWC family!

Enhanced Quality of Life: Beyond the number on the scale, you are able to enjoy a new life as a healthier you after surgery. You’ll feel more confident when you are successfully achieving your health goals. You might be wearing clothes that you haven’t worn in years, able to exercise without pain, traveling more comfortably, and having fun keeping up with your kids and grandkids. There are unlimited possibilities that come with an improved quality of life.

Whether you’ve already had surgery or are thinking about it, remember to consider all of the health benefits that come with weight loss. It’s not just about losing weight; it’s about gaining quality of life!