Reed V. Tuckson, MD, is Executive Vice President and Chief of Medical Affairs at UnitedHealth Group. A Fellow of the American College of Physicians, Dr. Reed is a nationally recognized speaker on preventive health and clinical medicine.
Q: Dear Dr. Reed:
My doctor told me I am overweight, have high blood pressure and high cholesterol, and am pre-diabetic. He said I should lose weight and get more active. Help!
A: Your doctor gave you lifesaving advice. The combination of losing weight, increasing physical activity, and eating smart all work together to lower your cholesterol, your blood pressure, and the risk of developing diabetes and heart disease.
One of the keys to weight loss is to begin with a goal you can reach, such as losing about 10 percent of your current body weight. Accomplish this with one to two pounds of weight loss a week. Start with a diet of about 1,200 calories a day. Try to eat three meals plus a small snack daily. Smaller portions of a well-balanced diet are important.
To lower blood pressure and cholesterol, reduce your intake of salt, saturated fat, trans fat, and dietary cholesterol. Exercise is equally important to reach your goal. Start out walking 30 minutes five or more days a week at 3 miles per hour. As you grow more fit, gradually increase your walking to 60 minutes a day, seven days a week. Don’t forget to weigh yourself regularly.
Remember, exercise is just as important as diet to achieve your goals. This will help you avoid regaining your lost weight. Good luck!
Do you have questions about your health? There is so much information out there that it can be hard to make sense of it all and, more importantly, apply it in our own lives. Dr. Reed Tuckson, Executive Vice President and Chief of Medical Affairs at UnitedHealth Group, hears this all the time as he travels the country speaking about preventive healthcare and clinical medicine and talking to readers of the “Ask Dr. Reed Q&A” column or his book, The Doctor in the Mirror. Dr. Reed cannot provide individual responses but he may address your idea in a future column, which you can read right here on Facebook. If you are seeking personal advice, please consult your doctor, specialist, or nurse.