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Being overweight

If you are struggling with your weight, you are not alone. Over 60% of Canadian adults are either overweight or obese.  This is a growing concern because being overweight or obese are major risk factors for heart disease and stroke.

By achieving and maintaining a healthy weight and waist, you can significantly reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke.  A healthy weight can also help control other conditions such as high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol and diabetes.

Achieving a healthy weight isn’t always as simple as eating healthy and being active, but that is a great beginning. Here are three easy ways to help you maintain a healthy weight.

1. Assess yourself

Waist circumference

Did you know that you can have a healthy weight, but still be at an increased risk of heart disease and stroke? How our bodies store excess weight (specifically fat) can negatively impact our health. Measuring our waist circumference can help to assess our obesity-related health risk. Even if you are a healthy weight, excess fat carried around the waist can increase your risk of high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, heart disease and type-2 diabetes. Learn how to measure your waist circumference.

BMI (Body Mass Index) 

Another way to determine if your weight falls within a healthy range is to calculate your Body Mass Index (BMI). BMI is a ratio of height and weight that allows for a range of weights to be associated with good health instead of just one ideal weight. Find out if your weight is putting you at risk for obesity-related diseases such as high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, diabetes and heart disease and stroke. Find your BMI.

2. Eat right

When it comes to your diet, variety is the key. Sample an array of foods that are nutritious, can help prevent disease and taste great. To create balanced meals that are moderate in portion size, follow Canada's Food Guide. For exclusive, heart-healthy recipes, visit our recipe file.

3. Get active

There are many important reasons for making physical activity part of your life. It's a great way to maintain a healthy weight, reduce high blood pressure, lower blood cholesterol levels, manage stress and cut your risk of heart disease and stroke. The Heart and Stroke Foundation recommends Canadians make active living part of their daily lives. Just 150 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity per week, in bouts of 10 minutes or more is all it takes to start. It is beneficial to spread the activity over several days a week.

Check out the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines to Healthy Active Living.

Tips for maintaining a healthy weight:

  • Eat a healthy diet and be physically active on a regular basis.
  • Lose weight slowly. Achieving a healthy weight is a long-term commitment.
  • Avoid fad diets.
  • Aim for 5-10 servings of vegetables and fruit daily. Different coloured vegetables and fruit provides a broad variety of nutrients.
  • Quench your thirst with water in place of sugar sweetened beverages.
  • Manage portion size. Divide your plate into four sections. Fill half your plate with vegetables and fill the remaining quarters with whole grains, meat or meat alternatives such as beans.
  • If overeating is your way of coping with stress, identify the source of your stress and learn new ways to cope.

For more information on healthy weight, please read our brochure Your Health Your Weight: Simple Steps to Making Healthy Choices.

For more information visit our section on Healthy Weight.

Heart&Stroke Healthy Weight Action PlanThe Healthy Weight Action Plan
Get started on your personal weight loss goals today with the MY Heart&Stroke Healthy Weight Action Plan, in print or online. The Heart and Stroke Healthy Weight Action Plan is a 12-week step-by-step program that will support you in achieving healthy habits and a healthy weight – for life.

Last reviewed: June 2015
Last modified: June 2015