AFib and Healthy Weight Management

AFib and Healthy Weight Management

Research shows that you can improve your AFib experience, reduce the burden of your AFib, and give yourself the best odds for AFib prevention by maintaining a healthy weight.

Obesity is clearly linked with AFib. Many people prefer not to talk about their weight, even with their doctors, but rather than avoiding it because of any shame or embarrassment, begin to take small steps toward building a healthier life.

Track Your Nutrition and Physical Activity

You manage what you measure.

The first step to eating right is to figure out what you’re actually eating. Start by tracking your food using a food diary as a means of learning your average calorie intake.

Keeping a food diary, which means writing everything you eat for at least a week, can be very helpful. You may also want to jot down how you’re feeling in general so you can start to understand what drives eating decisions. (Stress? Happiness? Sadness? Boredom?) Reviewing the diary on a regular basis may also help you learn how your eating may change depending on the situation, or whether it’s a workday or weekend.

Tracking Your Activity

It also helps to use an activity tracker to know your activity level and write down intentional steps you take toward becoming more physically active. Many people have found that fitness devices and phone apps have helped them put their best foot forward and make improvement in their level of physical activity.

Make Healthy Changes, But Start Small

Once you have a clear picture of your eating habits and your activity level, focus on small goals that can be easily attained. Setting yourself up for success makes you more likely to remain motivated to keep working toward your larger goals. Even a goal of “one bite less” can be enough to motivate you to get going in the right direction.

Make Healthy Trade-Outs

Set healthy goals for your diet, starting small by substituting heart-healthy options. For example, trade butter, which is high in saturated fat, for a healthier vegetable oil, such as olive or canola, or incorporate more fiber-rich whole grains by substituting a whole-grain wheat bread for white.

Try a Taper-Off Approach

Another approach, is to tackle a big problem area with gradual steps. For example, if you’re overeating sweets, such as having ice cream every night, start by eating half as much each time, then shift to every other day and then once a week as a small treat; that is more realistic than trying to eliminate it all at once.

Celebrate Successes One Meal at a Time

Celebrate successes, even small ones. A big meal out with friends may bust your calorie budget, but focus on eating healthy for the next meal rather than beating yourself up. A small step backward shouldn’t undo all your steps forward.

You’re planning for lifetime of healthy living, so keep working on your changes even if it takes a while to feel the rewards.

Recent Discussions From The Nutrition & Dining Forum
StuMan avatar

I had read that chocolate could be helpful in reducing Afib experience and thought I would experiment.

Background: I am a 61 year old somewhat skinny, healthy racquetball player.  I have had 5 Afib experiences between 2016 and April 2017.  After the last experience I decided to drink hot cocoa once a day.  Since I don't want to intake sugar I use stevia as a sweetener; and I use goat milk instead of cow's milk (since I have a cow's milk allergy).  I take 1.5 teaspoons unseetened cocoa powder in a large mug  (50/50 milk and water mix) which I drink every morning.  Anecdotally I have not had an Afib experience since.  Maybe coincidence, maybe not.  

I do not take any drugs and am vary wary of oblation.  My doctor says I would be a good candidate.  She also wants me to take drugs.  I do neither and feel completely normal now.  She wanted me to think of AFib as a "friend" that I would have to get to know.  Jesus!!  Are cardiologists really worth an average salary of $400,000 a year with advice like this?  Obviously Afib is not serious for me right ow and maybe it will return.  So far so good.  I do NOT want to take blood thinners.  She said internal bleeding is a normal side effect.  Well it is not normal for me.  And I do not want to make it normal

MrsZee avatar

I copied this line from the section on healthy eating.  "If you’re on an anticoagulant medication, it’s also important to remember to pay attention to those foods that are high in vitamin K."  It doesn't say whether you need to consume more​ foods with high vitamin K or get less ​vitamin K.  I found that to be a poorly written sentance with nothing further to say why you are paying attention to those that are high. Does anyone know the rest of this story?  Thanks


Oceanside avatar

I want to share with you how my electrophysiologist changed my life. After my diagnosis, following an ep study, she recommended I start on a plant based diet. She recommended I watch a movie called Forks over Knives which is an amazing documentary about heart disease, diabetes etc and the links to our western diet. She gave me two websites. Nutrition and nutrition as two great resources. Also, The book, Eat to Live by Dr. Joel Fuhrman who has a similar meal plan which is a little more forgiving if you can’t be totally plant based. 
I embraced the diet, lost 40 pounds over 8 months. My blood pressure is now normal with no more medication. I no longer have to take flecanide for arrhythmia or diltiazam for rate control. I have had no afib for 9 months and I was having two hour episodes every two months! I wear an Apple Watch and use the Kardia device with my iPhone to take ecgs regularly to keep track. This way of eating can reverse type two diabetes and reverse arteriosclerosis (blocked arteries).  Please check it out. I didn’t like the medications and how they affected me. I do continue with eliquis because I am a female and over 65. But, if I continue afib free for over a year, I will ask my doctor if I can go off blood thinner.  I hope you can feel better, but sometimes we have to look to ourselves and change our lifestyle. It was hard for me to give up caffeine, dairy,most alcohol and sugar, processed foods etc. But, at the end of the day I feel better, no afib for now and I believe my disease is not progressing and may be reversing. Best to you.

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