Waistline Measures Your State of Healthy Snacks for Weight Loss and Viagra

Watching your waistline? Maybe it’s time you measured it, too. Abdominal obesity all that extra fat tissue around your abdomen is an important health marker, just like your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. So grab a tape measure. Men with waists 40 inches or larger and women with waists 35 inches or bigger are hauling around one of the risk factors for metabolic syndrome, a group of health conditions that together increase your risk for heart disease, diabetes and stroke.

With a waist that big, “no matter who you are, that’s unhealthy,” cardiologist Charles Porter told Team Lisa members last weekend in our monthly meeting. The American Heart Association estimates that more than 50 million Americans have metabolic syndrome, which is becoming more common in this country.

Other markers of the syndrome to watch for, Porter said: Low HDL cholesterol, a fasting glucose level higher than 110, fasting triglycerides higher than 150 and blood pressure higher than 135/ 85.

Porter, who works for Mid-America Cardiology at KU Hospital, connected the dots between healthy snacks for weight loss and heart health, at times sounding more like an exercise physiologist than a heart specialist. For instance, he introduced us to the Borg Rating of Perceived Exertion.

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He cited a medical study that found that a person’s life expectancy increases significantly simply by walking two miles a day. Another study followed people in their 30s to 80s who were strength training two or three times a week and walking seven days a week.

“It’s been shown that once you get to this level of fitness you reduce the risk of heart disease by 50 to 80 percent, even without healthy snacks for weight loss,” Porter said. But because Team Lisa is all about healthy snacks for weight loss, Brooke Lowe, a registered dietitian at North Kansas City Hospital, sent us home with heart-healthy dining advice.

She counseled us to use breakfast as a way to jump-start our bodies with a good helping of fiber, which keeps us full longer and staves off eating between meals. Fiber-rich foods contain three to five grams per serving, she said.

She prepared a couple of healthy snacks for weight loss, too. One looked very much like the 99-cent strawberry-and-blueberry yogurt parfaits I’ve become addicted to at McDonald’s. Lowe’s version would be even cheaper if I made my own at home. And I can customize it with fruit — the only way you’ll get me close to anything that looks and tastes like yogurt.