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