The trick is not to think about the 1000, but to think about the 100. Make the small changes, and the bigger ones can look after themselves. In this way, you can come to think of maintaining a healthy weight as a series of simple, daily decisions - rather than big life-altering changes which can be difficult to sustain long-term.
What's the link between weight and heart disease?
While you can see or feel the affects of weight gain on your body - trousers feeling tight or the need to shift to another belt notch - the effect of excess weight on your heart can be quietly cumulative. You might not know about it until you have a serious problem.
Sustained high blood pressure (which can damage the lining of the coronary arteries) and raised cholesterol levels are both common signs of excess weight.
And both can contribute to damage done to the cardiovascular system through plaque - a combination of cholesterol, calcium and fat in the blood (triglycerides). Plaque can build up inside arteries, hardening and narrowing them, reducing blood flow to the heart and even causing a blockage, which can lead to a heart attack.
Is cholesterol the big baddie?
Cholesterol is actually produced naturally by your liver and vital for the formation of cell membranes, vitamin D and certain hormones. “Good” cholesterol is called HDL (high density lipoprotein). This component of cholesterol is actually protective to the heart and is found in, for example, root vegetables and other healthy foods.
For some people, high cholesterol levels are genetic, and treatable by drugs. For others though they are a result of LDL cholesterol (low density lipoprotein) and triglycerides (“bad cholesterol”) caused by eating too much high-calorie or high saturated fat content food.
High cholesterol levels produce no outward symptoms, so if you have concerns talk to your family physician and see if they feel a cholesterol check is necessary.