Taking care of your heart might result in weight loss

Actually, this is all about taking care of your heart and weight loss is a pleasant side effect. It shouldn’t be a surprise that improving habits to protect your heart almost always result in losing weight.


Women are acutely aware of their cancer risks, most notably breast cancer. Fewer women, however, are aware that they’re far more likely to die prematurely because of heart disease. Heart disease, not cancer, is the number one killer of women.

Dr. James Rippe,a leading authority on preventive cardiology, health and fitness, and a pioneer of the fitness walking movement, breaks heart care down into easy steps.

Rippe’s seeks to empower people to take charge of their own health through simple lifestyle changes. His numerous books include Fit Over Forty, The Healthy Heart for Dummies, and The Healthy Heart Cookbook for Dummies.

His message is, “progress, not  perfection.” As Dr. Rippe explained it to a group of more than 800 people, mostly women and members of Weight Watchers of Maine, “too many women are overwhelmed by the recommendations to maintain a healthy heart, and that’s unfortunate because doing the best you can makes a significant difference. It certainly beats doing nothing at all.”

“The adverse effects of physical inactivity are comparable to smoking a pack of cigarettes a day,” Dr. Rippe warns.


Protect your heart and don’t be surprised if by doing so, your weight comes down.

  1. Don’t smoke. 
    1. Don’t start
    2. Quit
  2. Pay attention to nutrition.          shutterstock_566933017
    • Start with a plant-based foundation. Lots of vegetables and fruit.
    • Eat moderate amounts of whole grains
    • Go for lean protein including meat, poultry, fish and legumes
    • Go sparingly on foods with added sugars and fat
    • 2 cups of milk daily of the equivalent
    • Pay attention to portions
  3. Get at least 30 minutes of low/ moderate intensity exercise every day.
    • That is the equivalent of walking for 30 minutes at 3 1/2 – 4 mph
    • It doesn’t have to be 30 consecutive minutes. It can be smaller amounts of exercise that add up to at least 30 minutes in total.
    • More is better, but if you can’t manage 30 minutes, do what you can.
  4. Break up long periods of sitting.
    • Walk for 5 minutes after every 60 minutes of sitting
  5. Reduce stress
  6. Get at least 7 hours of quality sleep every 24 hours 

That’s it. These are easy habits to establish. If you aren’t 100% compliant, don’t make make the “all or nothing” mistake. Do what you can, and set small goals to do a little better.


One last good bit of news, the same actions that protect your heart happen to fight cancer as well as heart disease.



Jackie Conn

About Jackie Conn

Jackie Conn is married and has four grown daughters and four grandchildren. She is a Weight Watchers success story. She's a weight loss expert with 25 years of experience guiding women and men to their weight-related goals. Her articles on weight management have been published in health, family and women's magazines. She has been a regular guest on Channel 5 WABI news, FOX network morning program Good Day Maine and 207 on WCSH.