Is Your Ticker a Time Bomb?
Author: Adam Macdougall Date Posted:19 February 2019
A healthy heart might not be the main thing you are thinking about when you start to lose the kegs, but slimming down and getting rid of the gut is one the best things you can do for your heart health.
The truth is heart disease is Australia’s #1 serial killer, with 51 people dying everyday. The most common causes of heart disease are correctable like an unhealthy diet, lack of exercise, being overweight and smoking.
The good news is that it is not hard work to improve your heart health (and turn your odds around) by following a few simple steps.
1. Eat a Balanced Diet and Don’t Skip Breakfast.
Eating a balanced diet doesn’t mean going strict - it is all about making simple, healthier choices. The main thing to avoid is sugar and salt (we all know the drill) but making the switch now can save you years in the long run. And while eating veggies might not be that exciting - a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, and whole grains can help protect your heart AND help drop the kilos off your waist. Aim to eat more beans, leaner meats, fish, and switch to low-fat or fat-free dairy products.
Foods to Switch or Avoid:
- Cheap cereals - these are packed with nasty sugars and won’t keep you full for long, instead reach for a protein-rich option like eggs on sourdough.
- Deep-fried fast foods - avoid these as much as possible, try to keep your belly full of the good stuff so you do not ‘need’ to stop in at the fast food joint on the way home.
- Bakery products - again, save it for the Saturday soccer post-game treat and get it out of your day-to-day routine.
- Packaged snack foods - snacks are beneficial for avoiding binge-eating but they need to be HEALTHY to be useful, like our Man Bars, which are packed full of protein to keep you fuller between meals.
- Margarines - try a healthier heart option like an olive oil spread.
- Full-fat dairy products - with so many of the options now available, a simple shift towards low-fat cheese and milk can avoid fat build up.
- Fatty Red meat - we all love a good steak too but switching to the lean meats now could save your heart. You can still have your BBQ nights with a decent T-Bone if you are making good choices throughout the week.
Most important is to not skip breakfast. If you skip this meal you are likely to cheat through your meals for the rest of the day. So get your diet sorted from the moment you wake up.
Adam’s Hacks for Build Exercise Habits that Stick:
1/ Park far from the site or office then walk.
2/ Take the stairs, not the lift.
3/ Walk the kids to school or the bus stop.
4/ Get off the bus/train one stop beyond where you live and walk home.
5/ Go for a walk with your partner or walk the dog every night after dinner
6/ Go on a post-lunch walk, even if it’s just around the block.
7/ If you have an office job, stand up every half an hour and stretch for 5 minutes.
8/ Use walking as a time to unwind, take time to yourself and go for a walk
3. Maintain a Healthy Weight
If you’re already carrying extra weight around your waistline, there is a good chance you are already at a higher risk of heart disease. Following the Man Shake plan will help you get that gut under control - keeping the gut off is the next step.
Following a healthy diet and starting good exercise habits into your daily routine is going to get your weight down and set you on the right path but most importantly, you need to avoid slipping back into the unhealthy toxic eating habits that packed the weight on in the first place.
This is why we love protein! This is the one hack to add your daily diet that will fill you up faster and stop you from reaching for the crap foods that caused your problems in the first place. The Man Shake is packed full of protein to keep you content throughout the day. Keep a bag handy in the cupboard to stave off the afternoon slump and sugar cravings.
4. Get to Sleep
Poor sleep can harm your health. People who don't get enough sleep have a higher risk of obesity, high blood pressure, heart attack, diabetes AND depression.
For the shift worker, sleep can be a killer. Getting decent sleep cycles is important so be sure to use black-out blinds at a minimum and watch your diet and patterns.
If you have small kids, and it’s causing a bad sleep pattern, offer to do a on-duty / off-duty rotation with the Mrs. It will keep her happy and avoid you both waking up exhausted.
Other contributing habits include staying up late watching TV and getting on social media - if you are in a bad rut, and can’t sleep until 11.30pm, try taking a book or magazine to bed to get yourself to sleep earlier.
If you feel like you have been getting enough sleep, but you are still tired throughout the day, ask your doctor if you need to be evaluated for obstructive sleep apnea.
5. Manage Your Stress
Most of us will cope with stress in unhealthy ways from time to time — such as overeating, drinking or smoking. But if you want to live longer, you are far better off switching out these bad habits for good ones, which will turn our health and stress around. Simple stress busters include taking a 20 min walk around the block, quick and simple breathing exercises, or even investing a punching bag.
6. Stop Smoking
Not tomorrow, or next week. It’s time to quit now. No matter how long or how much you smoked, you'll start reaping rewards as soon as you quit.
7. Get Checked
The good news is that heart disease is detectable and treatable. So get a good GP. Book in an annual visit. Get them to send you a reminder. Easy.