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The 250/250 Diet: Created By a Cardiologist, Recommended By a Nurse

Posted Nov 25 2013 12:00am

The 250/250 health plan isn’t the latest fad diet. Its focus is on helping people develop healthy eating habits and exercise routines rather than encouraging unnatural, extreme dieting and exercise binges. The results won’t necessarily deliver in the first week or month, but the changes in fitness and weight are longer-lasting than your average fad diet.  They’re not just short-term changes designed to make your body drop weight unnaturally fast – they’re positive changes for life.

What is the 250/250 health plan?

The 250/250 health plan is simple: eat a little less, move a little more.
By cutting 250 calories out of your diet and increasing your physical activity to burn 250 calories per day, you can lose one pound of fat per week. The math: you’ll have a daily calorie deficient of 500 calories - which in one week adds up to 3,500 calories.  One pound of fat contains 3,500 calories.

The 250/250 health plan has many benefits. Increasing your exercise:

  • Decreases chances of cardiovascular disease
  • Improves moo
  • Boosts energy
  • Aids weight loss
  • Improves sleeping patterns


Altering your daily calorie intake helps decrease: 
  • High blood pressure
  • Chances of developing type 2 diabetes
  • Chance of stroke
  • High cholesterol

Why is it a safe eating and exercise plan?

Created by cardiologist Dr.Nanette Wenger, many respected cardiologists support the eating and exercise plan advocated by the 250/250 diet. Cardiologists often recommend it for their patients, as it keeps in line with healthy eating and exercise recommendations from the American Heart Association.

The plan encourages healthy eating rather than crash dieting.  Crash dieting may be an initially effective way to lose weight, but many people find themselves with low energy levels because they cut far too many calories. They also may find themselves developing certain nutritional deficiency symptoms, as extreme diets often encourage cutting out whole food groups.  Your body needs a balanced diet with lots of variety  - crash dieting restricts too many food groups, leading to unbearable cravings.

Crash dieting can also cause heart problems. For example, the Atkins diet causes people’s cholesterol levels to rise dramatically, which cardiovascular institutes (like the Florida Cardiovascular Institute, which specializes in treating heart failure and heart attacks) find to be one of the main reasons that their patients develop cardiovascular problems.

Recommended exercises

For exercise, choose an activity that you like doing and that you can access easily.  You’ll need some sort of physical activity on a daily basis, and complicated routines that require lots of equipment usually aren’t the best way to get started. Here are some easy exercises to help you burn off an extra 250 calories every day: 

Walking: A great low-impact activity that you can do anywhere to help you burn calories. Walking for an hour at an average pace of 3.5 miles per hour can burn between 300-600 calories (depending on your weight). Try to incorporate this hour into your daily routine - why not walk to work, take a walk on your lunch break, or take an evening stroll after dinner? All you need is a safe footpath and a pair of comfy shoes. 

Cycling: Another great low-impact physical activity that’s kind to your joints as well as your waistline.  You can burn 300-400 calories when cycling at a moderate pace of 5.5miles per hour (the exact number of calories you’ll burn depends on your body weight). Like with walking, try incorporating cycling into your routine. (And you don’t need a real bike to cycle - gym stationary bikes are just as effective.) 

Swimming: This low-impact physical activity slims and tones all muscle groups. Swimming for 30 minutes at a casual pace will burn – depending on your weight – between 200 and 400 calories per hour.
Another key to keep an exercise routine going is to keep it varied and interesting. Walking, swimming and cycling are just a few examples – find one (or several!) that suit your schedule and interests. If you have an exercise routine that you actually like, it’s far more likely that you’ll be able to keep it up.

Recommended ways to cut down on 250 calories a day

These are ten of the most common and effective small changes you can make.   Don’t worry - you can still eat carbs, have an occasional drink, and enjoy your morning coffee. 

Snacking on energy bars? Although these can seem like a healthy alternative, they weigh in at about 250 calories per bar. Try string cheese as a satisfying alternative – it’s easy, convenient, and only around 60 calories. 

Pumpkin Spice Latte with whipped cream? Relax; I’m not going to recommend giving up your favorite coffee drink.  Just cut the whipped cream and wave goodbye to 70 calories. 

Time to start sharing your dessert.  Sharing (depending on portion size and type) can help cut hundreds of calories. 

Mashed potatoes. My grandma’s special recipe includes butter, cream cheese, a little olive oil and a dash of full-fat cream.  Replace these calorie-packed ingredients with Greek yogurt and a little butter. The yogurt gives the mash a tasty tang, and you can cut up to 400 calories (per serving) in the process. 

 Soup can be a low-cal and nutritious meal. Just be wary of cream-packed soups like clam chowder (around 480 calories per serving). Why not try some minestrone soup instead? Since it’s made from a broth base instead of dairy, it only has around 180 calories per serving.  Bonus: it’s packed full of vegetables! 

Cut your cereal.  There’s a lot of controversy at the moment surrounding the actual health benefits of breakfast cereal.  Reported to be full of sugar, they may not be the healthiest breakfast choice in the morning. However, if you can’t function without your morning cereal, try cutting your cereal serving by one-third. Calories saved: 100. 

Avid cinema fan? One of my favorite treats at the movies is the popcorn. Who wouldn’t love it? First, popped in hot oil; then drenched with butter and salt. The bad news is that jumbo- size movie theater popcorn buckets can contain up to 1,500 calories – split between you and a friend, that’s 750 calories each! The alternative? Order a smaller size – or make your own at home and skip the excess salt and butter.

Use egg whites instead of a whole egg. You’ll save 50-65 calories per egg. 

Choose mustard over mayo on your sandwiches and salads. This will save you around 70-75 calories per serving. 

Partial to a few cookies in the afternoon? Try replacing your 3-4 cookies with fruit. You’ll still satisfy your sugar craving (as well as getting some great fiber, vitamins and minerals along the way) and cut up to 100 calories.

The 250/250 healthy eating and exercise plan is straightforward, simple to follow, and offers a real alternative to unhealthy fad diets that put your health at risk (and may just set you up to gain the weight back). The secret:  start today. Your waistline and your heart will thank you for it.
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