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15 Ways to Avoid Metabolic Syndrome

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By: Erin Coleman, B.S. - Nutritional Science, R.D., L.D.,

Writer at The Fit Father Project

metabolic syndrome

Metabolic syndrome occurs when multiple conditions occur together to increase your risk of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.

These conditions include increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels.

Reducing your risk of metabolic syndrome means adopting healthy lifestyle habits or taking medications when necessary.

Metabolic syndrome affects more than one-third of adults in the United States.

Making healthy lifestyle changes is one of the best ways to lower your risk of developing metabolic syndrome.

Here's how to do it.

Want to become “harder to kill”? Check out these actionable health tips for men over 40!

What is Metabolic Syndrome?

Metabolic syndrome is a condition that increases your risk of chronic, or long-lasting, diseases.

You have metabolic syndrome if you experience three or more of the following risk factors:

  • A waist circumference of more than 40 inches in men or more than 35 inches in women (central obesity)
  • Fasting blood triglycerides of 150 mg/dL or more OR taking medicine for high triglycerides
  • Low HDL cholesterol (less than 40 mg/dL in men and less than 50 mg/dL in women) OR taking medicine for low HDL cholesterol
  • Fasting glucose (blood sugar) of 100 mg/dL or more, OR taking medicine for high blood sugar
  • High blood pressure of 130/85 mm Hg or higher OR taking medicine for high blood pressure

Having these chronic disease risk factors, especially more than one of them, drastically increases your risk of developing a chronic disease.

Making healthy lifestyle choices is one of the best prevention strategies.

If you already have metabolic syndrome, ask your doctor if taking medications to control blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides, blood sugar, or your appetite, is right for you.

Ask your provider to check your thyroid, testosterone, and other hormone levels as hormone imbalance can affect your metabolism, body weight, and the way you feel overall.

In this video, Dr. A explores the latest research from modern medicine to give you the best information on how to lower your cholesterol.

What Are the Risk Factors for Metabolic Syndrome?

Anybody can develop metabolic syndrome, but certain factors increase your risk of experiencing it and heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic conditions.

Examples include:

  • Overweight
  • Obesity
  • Genetics
  • Family history of metabolic syndrome
  • A sedentary lifestyle
  • Eating unhealthy foods
  • Smoking
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Sleep deprivation

Just about any unhealthy lifestyle habit can increase your chance of metabolic syndrome, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and high triglycerides.

Properly control blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol with lifestyle changes or medications to get and stay healthy for life.

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How Can I Lower My Risk of Metabolic Syndrome?

You can drastically reduce your risk of developing metabolic syndrome and chronic diseases associated with it by adopting the following healthy habits:

Get Regular Exercise

Getting regular exercise can reduce blood pressure naturally and help you achieve or maintain a healthy weight.

Aim to get at least 30 minutes of exercise daily, plus 45 minutes of activities of daily living.

This might include doing laundry, cleaning your house, walking the dog, doing yard work, or playing with your kids outside.

For actual exercise, try jogging, biking, walking, rowing, using an elliptical machine, or jumping rope.

Complete resistance-training exercises in addition to cardiovascular workouts.

Consider weightlifting, using your own body weight as resistance, or using resistance bands.

Watch this video to learn how to set up a home workout schedule that works for you!

Get Enough Sleep

Get the right amount of sleep to significantly reduce your risk of overweight and obesity, as studies show sleep deprivation is associated with unwanted weight gain.

Aim to get at least 7 hours of sleep each night to lower your risk of becoming overweight and metabolic syndrome associated with it.

To boost sleep quality, go to bed at the same time each night.

Avoid consuming caffeine late in the day, use a white noise machine to block out loud sounds, and sleep in a cool dark room.

Keep your bedroom clean and avoid watching television, a computer screen, or other electronic devices right before bed.

Getting regular exercise can help you sleep better at night, but avoid late-night workouts. Don't go to bed hungry or very full.

This video will provide you with 7 sleep tips that you can start implementing TODAY to get higher sleep quality.

Reduce Stress

According to numerous research studies, reducing chronic stress is an excellent way to keep your blood pressure low naturally and reduce your risk of becoming overweight or obese.

Stress can alter hormone levels responsible for appetite control and when you're thinking stressful thoughts during mealtime, you're more likely to overeat.

Take the necessary steps to keep stress levels low by trying the following:

  • Take a mental health day off from work
  • Try yoga or tai chi
  • Meditate
  • Get a massage
  • Become more spiritual
  • Set aside at least 30 minutes daily to relax
  • Free up an overly busy schedule

See your doctor if you can't shake stress in your life on your own or if you experience depression or anxiety associated with it.

Counseling sessions help you learn behavioral changes strategies and better cope with chronic stress and anxiety.

Check out these 5 at-home stress relief techniques!

Don't Smoke

If you smoke, you're at risk of metabolic syndrome, high blood pressure, heart disease, and numerous other chronic diseases.

Smoking can exacerbate uncontrolled blood sugar and increase your risk of serious medical complications related to diabetes.

If you're unable to quit smoking on your own, consider joining a smoking cessation program to help you achieve optimal health and significantly lower your risk of metabolic syndrome.

Your doctor can often help too, offering behavioral therapies, FDA-approved prescription medications, or nicotine replacement therapy.

Wondering how smoking affects weight loss? Watch this video to discover the answer.

Make Dietary Changes

Changing up your diet is one of the best ways to lower your risk of experiencing metabolic syndrome and debilitating chronic diseases.

Follow a few simple tips and tricks to keep your cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure, blood sugar, and body weight in check:

  • Steer clear of high sodium and fried foods
  • Limit added sugar as much as possible
  • Increase your intake of fruits, vegetables, chicken, fish, legumes, nuts, seeds, low-fat dairy foods or plant-based alternatives, avocados, olive oil, and other healthy fats
  • Avoid soda, sweet tea, lemonade, and other sugary drinks
  • Don't eat ham, hot dogs, sausage, bacon, and other highly processed meats
  • Avoid full-fat cheese, ice cream, whole milk, high-fat meat, and other sources of animal fats
  • Fill half of each plate with non-starchy vegetables (leafy greens, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumbers, tomatoes, celery, asparagus, zucchini, mushrooms, etc.)
  • Fill one-fourth of each plate with protein foods (grilled chicken, fish, very lean organic red meat, shrimp, seafood, eggs, seitan, or other protein foods)
  • Fill one-fourth of each plate with fiber-rich starches (quinoa, brown rice, wild rice, oatmeal, whole-grain pasta, other whole grains, corn, peas, black beans, pinto beans, lentils, or other legumes)
  • Eat about three servings of low-fat milk, plant milk, plain Greek yogurt, low-fat cottage cheese, or other low-fat dairy foods

If weight loss is your goal, drink water before meals to help control your calorie intake and eat less at mealtime. Take a multivitamin supplement if your doctor recommends it.

Learn about the best foods for weight loss and try this sustainable men's diet plan to lose weight and keep it off.

See Your Doctor Regularly

Early detection and treatment is one of the best ways to control metabolic syndrome and reduce the chance of chronic disease risk factors getting out of hand.

See your doctor at least once annually for a check-up, or more often if your provider recommends it.

They can monitor your weight, blood pressure, blood cholesterol, triglycerides, blood sugar, and other indicators of metabolic syndrome to detect problems and offer treatment before serious complications arise.

Your provider uses a blood pressure cuff to check for hypertension, or blood tests to screen for high cholesterol, hormone imbalance, and elevated triglycerides.

Your doctor might recommend you lose weight, make dietary changes, get more exercise, or take dietary supplements or medications as needed to keep you as healthy as possible.

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Steer Clear of Alcohol

Drinking alcohol, especially in excess, is a risk factor for metabolic syndrome and other chronic diseases.

Alcohol also adds unnecessary calories to your meal plan, which can contribute to unwanted weight gain.

In fact, some alcoholic beverages contain up to 500 calories or more per drink!

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that drinking alcohol increases your risk of getting the following types of cancer: mouth, throat, voice box, esophagus, colon, rectum, liver cancer, and breast cancer in women.

If you can, steer clear of drinking alcohol entirely.

At the very least, limit alcoholic drinks as much as possible.

It's not the alcohol. Discover what actually causes you to gain weight if you drink often.

Self-Monitor

Self-monitoring is one of the best ways to prevent or reduce the risk of getting metabolic syndrome.

When you're at home, between doctor visits, track your body weight, body mass index (BMI), blood pressure, and blood sugar if you're at risk of diabetes.

Calculate your BMI by multiplying your body weight (in pounds) by 703, dividing that number by your height in inches, and dividing by your height in inches again.

Aim for a BMI number of less than 25.

Record the results in a journal. If your levels increase to values above general guidelines, make healthy lifestyle changes and see your doctor to find out if you should take medicines to reduce your risk of developing a disease.

Do these 7 simple health tests at home to evaluate your health!

Take Dietary Supplements

Taking dietary supplements can reduce your risk of metabolic syndrome.

It can prevent nutritional deficiencies and unpleasant symptoms associated with them, such as fatigue, hair loss, and decreased athletic performance.

Taking supplements, including omega-3 fatty acids to improve triglyceride and cholesterol levels, can lower your risk of metabolic syndrome and the need to take medications.

Not sure what supplements to take? Check out our Trusted Supplements Help Guide.

Drink More Water

Drinking too little water contributes to metabolic syndrome for numerous reasons.

Chronic dehydration can negatively affect your workouts, energy levels, and even your body weight.

If you weigh more than you'd like to, drink water before meals to reduce your risk of overeating.

Drink 2-4 cups of water when you first wake up before breakfast to replenish fluids after a good night's sleep.

Men should aim to consume at least 16 cups of fluids daily.

Watch this video to get some quick tips on how to hit your daily hydration levels.

Keep a Food/Exercise Journal

In addition to tracking health parameters, record your food intake and exercise minutes in a journal or app.

That way you can better visualize the type and amount of food you're eating, and how much physical activity you're getting daily.

Keep track of beverages and snacks too.

Even if you don't count calories, using a food journal can help you eat less food when weight loss is your goal.

Have a Social Support Network

Having a social support network you can trust is crucial when trying to avoid metabolic syndrome.

It's important for reducing stress levels, keeping you motivated for workouts, and maintaining optimal mental health and happiness.

Whether your social support network consists of friends, family members, coworkers, or all of the above, maintain close relationships with the ones you love to maximize your well-being.

One of the keys (and best parts) of the Fit Father Project is the Fit Father Brotherhood. Click here to see how over 22,072 men in 98 countries are getting results with the Fit Father Project!

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Here’s How Busy Guys 40+ Are Finally Losing Weight…

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If you’re in your 40s, 50s, & 60s, you need to eat and exercise differently to lose weight & actually keep it off…

Make a Meal Schedule

When planning healthy meals to keep metabolic syndrome in check, it's helpful to plan out a meal schedule ahead of time.

Eat a meal or snack every few hours or so.

You can use the following meal schedule as a guideline:

  • Drink 2-4 cups of water when you wake up
  • Eat breakfast: 7:00 am
  • Have a mid-morning snack: 9:00-10:00 am
  • Eat lunch: noon
  • Have an afternoon snack: 2:00-3:00 pm
  • Eat dinner: 5:00-6:00 pm
  • Have an evening snack (optional): 8:00 pm

Create your own healthy meal and snack schedule based on your lifestyle, preferences, and work schedule.

If you want to lose weight fast, eat healthier, and spend less time cooking, follow this meal prep for weight loss plan.

Set Personal Goals

Set goals to obtain optimal health parameters and reduce your risk of developing metabolic syndrome or a disease.

Record daily or weekly diet, exercise, sleep, spiritual, personal growth, mental health, or other health and wellness goals related to metabolic syndrome risks.

Reward yourself for meeting the goals you set!

Join a Healthy Lifestyle Program for Men

Joining the Fit Father Project, a healthy lifestyle program designed specifically for men, can keep you healthy, fit, and motivated.

It helps reduce your risk of metabolic syndrome and other diseases.

As a Fit Father Project member, you receive motivational support and guidance from health experts.

You have access to fat-burning, muscle-building workouts for men, custom meal plans, menus, recipes, and much more!

In addition to making healthy lifestyle changes to reduce your risk of metabolic syndrome, try the Fit Father Project at no cost by signing up for a free diet plan and workout today!

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Erin Coleman B.S. - Nutritional Science, R.D., L.D.

Writer at The Fit Father Project

Erin Coleman is a registered and licensed dietitian with over 15 years of freelance writing experience.

She graduated with her Bachelor of Science degree in nutritional science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and completed her dietetic internship at Viterbo University in La Crosse, Wisconsin.

Prior to beginning her career in medical content writing, Erin worked as Health Educator for the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Internal Medicine.

Her published work appears on hundreds of health and fitness websites, and she’s currently working on publishing her first book! Erin is a wife, and a Mom to two beautiful children.

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*Please know that weight loss results & health changes/improvements vary from individual to individual; you may not achieve similar results. Always consult with your doctor before making health decisions. This is not medical advice – simply very well-researched info on metabolic syndrome.

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