DASH Diet Weight Loss & Maintenance

Hypertension

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It is a good article on adherence issues with the DASH diet, but I only eat 5 servings of veggies a day, not 7, at least most days. In fact I don’t recall the diet calling for 7 servings at all, 4-5 per day is more like it. I definitely hit 5 fruit servings too.

Most of my veggies are eaten at my main meal, where I will usually eat at least 2 cups of broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, etc at one sitting, but it has sharp cheddar or some other delicious cheese melted on it to make it yummy.  All that fibre certainly helps to keep me full.
I personally think the biggest issue is you need to make a commitment to follow the diet for a long time, not a short one, because once it becomes ingrained as an eating pattern, it becomes preferred.  Especially strong, is how distaste for salt and salty foods increases the longer the diet is followed.   However it takes awhile to get there…

 

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These are all foods I eat often as part of the DASH diet.  The MIND diet is a hybrid of the DASH and Mediterranean diet.  I pay particular attention to these foods because alzheimers disease runs badly in my family. My mother is currently very ill with this disease and my grandmother had it as well.

I began following the DASH diet in June of 2009 at the recommendation of my Doctor to reduce my blood pressure, because I was at that time hypertensive.  Fortunately, I was able to eliminate the hypertension without blood pressure drugs, using only the DASH diet, weight loss (lost 90 pounds with DASH) and exericse.

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An accurate article detailing some of the health benefits I have experienced during the past 9 years, following a 1500mg sodium/day DASH diet. Moreover, in addition to a 90 pound weight loss with DASH diet and complete elimination of hypertension 7 years ago, I also experienced cessation of almost nightly, intestinal pain.

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I thought this was a helpful, short summary of the DASH diet, although I have followed a 1500 mg per day sodium limit for the past 9 years, rather than 2300 mg per day limit.  Before my 90 pound weight loss with the DASH diet, I was seriously hypertensive 170/90, so I follow the 1500 mg per day limit to keep my blood pressure in check.

 

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I started following the DASH diet in June 2009, on the recommendation of my doctor due to hypertension. My systolic pressure had reached 170 and he said it was an unacceptable level for someone only in their early forties.
He initially suggested medication or going on the wait list for weight loss surgery. He believed a substantial weight loss would go a long way to lowering my blood pressure. I decided against medication and surgery in favour of his final and last suggestion/possible solution, the DASH diet.
After he gave me a pager information sheet on the diet. I went home and did additional research and discovered that the effects of the diet could be enhanced for those with hypertension, by also making it very low sodium. I decided to go this route, along with with calorie restriction to lose the weight. I still follow a 1500 mg sodium limit per day to keep my now normal blood pressure, low.
After an 18 month weight loss process with DASH, ending in 2011, I lost 90 pounds and have not regained the weight since.

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The DASH diet that I have followed now for almost 9 years come this June, to lower my blood pressure and lose 90 pounds, just won best diet again for the 8th year in a row!!  All diet’s were rated by medical professionals and experts.  Check it out and if you are interested in learning more about DASH, you can also follow my facebook page here.

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Research is now showing that it is not only salt that contributes to high blood pressure, but also sugar. Too much sugar makes the effect of too much salt, that much worse. I am sure it is very difficult for scientists to tease out which is worse. My hypertension was completely eliminated through DASH diet and my 90 pound weight loss and too much sugar is very much associated with obesity. My doctor was very clear with me, that if I lost weight, my blood pressure would recede and he was 100% correct. I focused on reducing sodium because my intake was was too high and I had not even realized it. However my sugar intake was also reduced, just by following the DASH diet, because it is low sugar diet.

I highly recommend following the DASH diet to reduce intake in both areas!

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Dementia and Alzheimer’s, run in my family tree. After the Doctor gave me the DASH diet back in June 2009, I went home and researched it online. This was challenging because I was also doing a difficult final stats class, but I felt hope and momentum, my faith in DASH growing as my blood pressure began to come down a bit, even without the weight loss.  My doctor told me that I would see the greatest results in reduction in blood pressure with weight loss.

I realized it probably was too much to try to lose weight with it until I really figured it out and finished my final exams. I planned to start using the diet for weight loss in Jan 2010.  I actually got started over Christmas though, right after I finished my M.Ed program. I had lots of free cognitive capacity now to research how best to use the diet to lose weight and I threw myself into this fun work!

I felt that in addition to reducing blood pressure and helping me lose weight, it was probably the perfect diet for possible prevention of the family diseases like, diabetes, dementia and Alzheimers.  Certainly my online research, was not showing good correlations between high blood pressure and later onset of these diseases.   The Doctor had warned in my late 30’s, I was on track to develop diabetes, if things did not change.  Today I remain hopeful that DASH has helped me to prevent the development of these diseases, either/or the onset of them will be much later than it could have been.

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I pretty much gave up juice back in June 2009 as part of my switch to the DASH diet to try to lose weight, and reduce my blood pressure.  Back then I was still hypertensive and desperate to make changes that would help me avoid medication and/or weight loss surgery.

Eight years later, we still don’t keep juice in the house, unless we have house guests coming. Now I eat the whole fruit/veggie and water instead and I aim for 8-10 servings a day. Orange juice used to be an everyday drink for me, sometimes 2-3 times a day, but to be honest I have not missed it much at all since I gave it up.  I already didn’t care much for pop anymore, so fortunately, I never had to worry about that piece at all.

In adopting DASH, some changes were harder to make than I thought they would be, like wringing the salt out of my diet while others, like ditching juice, seemed really easy.

 

 

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