8 Ways to Lose Weight and Improve Cholesterol

Slimming down can do wonders for your waistline and your cholesterol levels.

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Lose Weight, Improve Cholesterol

Millions of Americans have high cholesterol. And if you're overweight, you're not doing your cholesterol any favors. A higher percentage of body fat—especially around your waistline—can raise levels of bad-for-you LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, and dampen production of good-for-you HDL cholesterol. The good news is that losing even a few pounds can improve your cholesterol numbers. Sound like a win-win? Keep reading for simple ideas.

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Weight Loss Tip #1: Eat Foods You Love

No need to deprive yourself of delicious foods to lose weight. If you adopt an uber-low-cal diet of grapefruit and Melba toast, your body will think it's starving and store fat, not shed it. Instead, start by lightening up the foods you already love. Choose lean cuts of meat for burgers and steaks and consider swapping whole-fat dairy for low-fat versions.

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Weight Loss Tip #2: Don't Skip Breakfast

Breakfast may be the most important meal if you want to lose weight. Load your morning plate with plenty of lean protein and fiber. Both are filling to help regulate your appetite so you're less prone to cravings later in the day. Fiber-rich whole grains (like oatmeal) and protein-rich nuts are good choices—both may also help lower your cholesterol.

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Weight Loss Tip #3: Manage Stress

The next time you're about to gobble down that pint of double-fudge ice cream, think about what's motivating you. Is it really hunger? Or could it be stress? If it's the latter of the two, watch out. Stress makes your body release a hormone called cortisol. This pesky hormone triggers cravings for fatty, sugary foods. That's not good for your belly—or your cholesterol.

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Weight Loss Tip #4: Seek Fit Friends

Spend less time (especially mealtimes) with your "every day is pizza day" crowd and more time with your fellow gym rats. Fit friends share your healthy goals, which can help you burn more and eat less. That doesn't mean you should ditch your heavier friends. Just make sure to foster new friendships with folks who also exercise and eat right.

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Weight Loss Tip #5: Restock Your Kitchen

The culprits most likely to sabotage your weight-loss plans: the bag of chips, home-baked chocolate-chip cookies and frozen pizza lurking in your kitchen. Luckily, you can satisfy cravings just as deliciously if you toss out such waist-padding temptations and restock your kitchen with healthier fare that will quell your hunger and help improve your cholesterol.

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Weight Loss Tip #6: Sleep Well

Sleep to lose weight? Sounds like a late-night TV commercial pitch. But it's true that poor sleep could be derailing your weight-loss efforts. That's because getting less than six to eight hours of sleep each night can slow down your metabolism, crank up your appetite and make you too weary to exercise. So make it a priority to get plenty of shut-eye.

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Weight Loss Tip #7: Exercise

When you have high cholesterol, exercise offers several benefits. It burns calories, which helps with weight loss. Even better, it boosts "good" HDL cholesterol and lowers "bad" LDL and triglycerides. Work plenty of activity into your day, including a mix of aerobic exercise and some strength training. Everyday chores, such as cleaning the house or mowing the lawn, count, too.

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Weight Loss Tip #8: Keep a Journal

Want more motivation to lose weight? Keep track of your progress. Studies have shown that keeping a food journal can help double your weight loss! This is an affordable, quick way to help keep yourself on track and reach your weight-loss goals. Write down what you ate, the calories and how you felt. A journal can help you spot danger zones in your days and help you make better choices tomorrow

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