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TLC Diet: The Definitive Guide

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High blood cholesterol is a serious health concern. It increases the risk of heart disease and can affect anyone. Fortunately, there are remedies for keeping your blood cholesterol under control. You can eat healthy and exercise daily to protect yourself from the dangers of high cholesterol. Among diets, the best known cholesterol-fighting diet is the TLC program.

TLC is an acronym for Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes. It is a three-pronged cholesterol management program that incorporates diet, physical workout and weight-loss activities.

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​Envisioned and developed by the National Institutes of Health's National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) – we will discuss more about the NCEP later - the TLC diet plan is also supported by the American Heart Association as a sustainable way to counter high LDL cholesterol, also known as bad cholesterol, for its harmful effect on our health. It is endorsed by other health organizations as a heart-healthy food regimen that can effectively bring down the risk of coronary disease.

​The key element of the plan, the modus operandi, is to cut back on the fat content of the food we eat, especially saturated fat. Saturated fat is the main cause of high LDL cholesterol in blood. It is found in foods like whole-milk dairy, fatty meat and fried greasy junk food. The idea is to get people to eat more of fiber-rich and less of cholesterol-rich food with a strict diet program clubbed with regular exercise and weight management activities. The TLC diet helps people avoid medication and manage their blood cholesterol in an organic manner. Remember, anyone can develop high blood cholesterol, and everyone can take remedial measures to lower it.

TLC Diet Guide at a Glimpse​

We have tried to make this guide as comprehensive as possible. In the following segments we will be discussing:

  • Cholesterol, its types, the role it plays in our metabolism and how it impacts our health.
  • Risk factors of high blood cholesterol and heart disease.
  • Medical conditions causing high blood cholesterol.
  • Steps we can take to combat risk factors that are within our control.
  • History of NCEP.
  • Calculating Risk Factors.
  • Calculating Framingham Risk Score.
  • Knowing your target LDL cholesterol level.
  • What is TLC diet and how it works?
  • TLC diet research findings.
  • Side effects of TLC diet.
  • Understanding nutrients.
  • TLC flow-chart – Getting started.
  • Importance of reading food labels.
  • TLC diet food list.
  • Sample TLC diet menus.
  • TLC diet cooking tips.
  • TLC diet weight management.
  • How to avoid injuries?
  • Benefits of physical activity and exercise.
  • Choosing the right workout regimen.
  • Changing eating habits with TLC.
  • TLC diet low-calorie food list for weight loss.
  • How to eat right when eating out?
  • Metabolic syndrome.
  • Making TLC a way of life.
  • How to stay on track?
  • How to get back on track in case of a lapse?
  • Conclusion.

​Apart from these topics, we have tried to make this guide more informative by incorporating little vignettes of definitions, concepts, cautionary notes and reminders. The guide is peppered with blurbs of ‘Definitions at a glance’, ‘Things to remember’ and ‘Cautionary note’s.

Let us get started. We will begin with the basics. First we will understand:

  • What cholesterol is?
  • Its different types.
  • What role it plays in our body’s metabolism?
  • And how it influences our health?

​TLC Diet: The Definitive Guide

​What is Cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance occurring naturally in the walls of all the cells in our body. It is needed by our body for synthesizing hormones, vitamin D and other digestive juices. Our body makes all the cholesterol it needs. But cholesterol enters our body through the food we eat too. This leads to excess cholesterol which gets deposited in the cellular walls.

Cholesterol, being a fatty substance, does not mix with blood, which is watery in nature. Hence, it cannot travel on its own through the medium of blood. The body resolves this issue by binding cholesterol molecules, which are fat or lipid molecules, to molecules of protein which function as transportation vessels for cholesterol. These unique packages of fat and protein coursing though the bloodstream are called lipoproteins. Lipid forms the core of the molecule while protein makes up outer layer.

​There are two types of lipoproteins that transport cholesterol:

  • Low-density lipoproteins (LDL), or Bad cholesterol: LDL transports fat molecules to cells and tissues throughout the body in the extracellular water. The higher the LDL content, the greater the risk of coronary issues. LDL comprises of nearly two-thirds of the cholesterol present in our body.
  • High-density lipoproteins (HDL), or Good cholesterol: HDL transports fat molecules from tissues to the liver which ejects it from the body. It acts as a scavenger, carrying excess cholesterol back to the liver from where it is removed through excretion. The lower the level of HDL, the higher the risk of coronary disease.

Maintaining both types of lipoproteins at a healthy level is crucial for the body’s metabolism. If the density increases beyond the acceptable level, the excess cholesterol gets trapped in the walls of blood vessels. Over time, this deposition thickens to form what is known as plaque. Plaque is dangerous to health. It narrows down our arteries and makes them rigid and hard. This hardening of blood vessels due to formation of plaque is called atherosclerosis.

Atherosclerosis can happen in arteries in any part of the body. If it occurs in the heart, it can cause serious cardiovascular disease. It causes the inner diameter of arteries to shrink due to plaque deposition. This lowers oxygen and nutrition supply to the muscles of the heart, resulting in a condition called angina, characterized by heart pain.

Some cholesterol-rich plaque may burst releasing fat and cholesterol into the bloodstream causing blood clots which block the flow of blood in the blood vessels, ultimately resulting in cardiac arrest.

When atherosclerosis affects the muscles of the heart, it is called coronary heart disease or coronary artery disease. In this article we will refer to it simply as heart disease or coronary disease.

Triglycerides: These are a kind of fat found naturally in the blood and in the food we eat. They are produced in the liver. High triglycerides content increases risk of coronary disease. Smoking, drinking, obesity, lack of physical activity and consumption of carbohydrate-rich (more than 60% of total calorie intake) food are known to increase the level of triglycerides in the body.

Let us now discuss the major risk factors that contribute to heart disease.

​Risk Factors of Heart Disease

Risk factors are causes, conditions, habits or behaviors that increase the possibility of heart disease. Some of these factors are within our control and can be changed while others cannot. Let us see what these factors are.

​Risk Factors You Cannot Control

Age: Risk of heart disease increases once you have crossed the age of 45, if you are a man, and 55, if you are a woman.​

​History of early heart disease in your family: Your susceptibility to heart disease increases if your father or brother was diagnosed with heart disease before the age of 55 or if your mother or sister was diagnosed with it before the age of 65.

​Risk Factors You Can Control

  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure (than 140/90 mmHg)
  • LDL cholesterol greater than 130 mg/dl
  • HDL cholesterol less than 35 mg/dl
  • Obesity
  • Lack of physical exercise
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Premature menopause without estrogen replacement

​Let us now understand these factors in detail. We will start with risk factors that are beyond our control.

​Age and Sex: Once a person has crossed the age 20, blood cholesterol begins to rise and continues to go up till about 60 to 65 years. Generally, before the age of 50, cholesterol levels in men tend to be higher than in women. But after 50, women’s cholesterol is seen to be more than men’s because menopause oftentimes causes LDL levels to rise. According to guidelines laid down by NCEP, all adults of and beyond the age of 20 should have their cholesterol level checked once every five years.

​Heredity: Our genes determine how much LDL cholesterol our body produces and how quickly the excess cholesterol is removed from the body. In other words, high blood cholesterol can be hereditary and be handed down from one generation to the next. Thankfully, there are a number of things we can do to keep our blood cholesterol under control.

​Cautionary note: You can develop high blood cholesterol even if it does not run in your family. So have yourself checked to avoid heart disease and other high cholesterol related illnesses.

Now we shall discuss risk factors that are within our control and can be changed for the better if we put in enough effort.​

Diet: ​The food we eat contains 3 nutrients that lead to higher LDL cholesterol in our body. The first is saturated fat. It is found in foods that are sourced from animals. Second is trans fat which is found in foods made from hydrogenated oils and fats such as fried junk food, fatty crackers, etc. The third is cholesterol that is found in animal products.

​Cautionary note: Saturated fat bumps up LDL cholesterol level more than anything else in your diet. Combined with trans fat and cholesterol from animal products, it can increase LDL to perilous levels. Therefore, it is essential to curb intake of food rich in these components.

Obesity: ​Keeping our weight in check is another way to combat high cholesterol. Overweight people typically have high LDL and triglycerides and low HDL count. Triglycerides are a fatty substance found in blood and it increases the risk of heart disease. Losing excess weight and sustaining a healthy body mass index (BMI) through regular exercise and a healthy diet can go a long way in keeping your LDL, HDL and triglycerides at the desired levels.

Physical Exercise: ​A sedentary lifestyle with little or no physical activity is a major reason behind high blood cholesterol. Regular workout prevents fat deposition by burning excess fat. Physical activity is a sure shot way to reduce LDL and triglycerides and increase HDL content in the body.

Smoking: ​Smoking reduces good cholesterol in the blood. It is also harmful for the lungs and causes cancer. Quitting smoking can increase the level of HDL and keep heart disease at bay.

Alcohol: ​Excessive consumption of alcohol is detrimental to health. Studies have shown that people who stay away from alcoholic drinks have higher HDL cholesterol. Hence, avoiding alcohol is central to maintaining a healthy blood cholesterol level.

​Medical Conditions Causing High Blood Cholesterol

​Although it is common knowledge that dietary components like saturated fat and trans fat are the biggest contributors of cholesterol, certain health conditions and medications also aggravate the problem. Some of these are:

  • Hypothyroidism
  • Cholestasis
  • Acute intermittent porphyria
  • Protease inhibitor use
  • Nephrotic syndrome
  • Monoclonal gammopathy
  • Oral contraceptive
  • Chronic liver disease
  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Cushing’s syndrome

If you have any of the above conditions, we suggest you have your blood cholesterol checked. These health conditions automatically put you in high risk zone and make you more susceptible to high cholesterol and heart disease.

Definitions at a Glance

Cholesterol: A fatty and waxy substance occurring naturally in the cells of the human body.

Lipoprotein: Cholesterol navigates through blood by attaching themselves to protein. This package of cholesterol and protein is called lipoprotein. It is a combination of fat and protein molecules. Molecules of fat or lipid form the center while protein makes up the outer covering of the particle.​

Based on their density, lipoproteins are divided in 3 types:​

  • High-density lipoprotein (HDL): Also called bad cholesterol, LDL cholesterol transports fat molecules to cells and tissues throughout the body in the extracellular water. The higher the LDL content, the greater the risk of coronary issues.
  • Low-density lipoprotein (LDL): Also called good cholesterol, HDL cholesterol transports fat molecules from tissues to the liver which ejects it from the body. It acts as a scavenger, carrying excess cholesterol back to the liver from where it is removed through excretion. The lower the level of HDL, the higher the risk of coronary disease.
  • Very-low-density-lipoproteins (VLDL): VLDL functions as the carrier vessel for lipids. It transports triglycerides, cholesterol, phospholipids and cholesteryl esters around the body. It is produced in the liver.

Triglyceride: It is kind of fat found naturally in the human body and also in the food we eat. It is produced in the liver. Triglycerides are used by the body to store energy and provide energy to muscles and tissues. High levels of triglyceride combined with high LDL cholesterol can increase the risk of heart disease.

​Hypercholesterolemia: It is the scientific term for high blood cholesterol. It is characterized by abnormal amount of cholesterol in the cells and plasma of blood.

Hyperlipidemia: It is the condition of excess lipid content in the blood.​

Atherosclerosis: An ailment characterized by hardening of blood vessels due to formation of plaque. It reduces the flexibility and elasticity of arteries and makes them narrower, hindering blood supply to the heart.​

History of National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP)

In the year 1985, with the objective of streamlining medical treatment of high blood cholesterol, the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) introduced the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP). The primary function of the NCEP is to take all necessary steps to reduce blood cholesterol level in Americans to prevent and reduce illnesses and deaths due to heart disease.

The NCEP designed a two-step approach. Step 1 was to start people with high cholesterol on a diet comprising of less than 30% total fat, less than 10% saturated fat and less than 300mg/day of cholesterol. If that failed, Step 2 was implemented which entailed being on a diet containing less than 7% saturated fat and less than 200mg/day of cholesterol. Step 2 was also recommended for people who either already suffer from or are at risk of myocardial infraction.

The NCEP recommends Step 1 diet plan for everyone, irrespective of whether or not they have cholesterol issues.

In May 2001, the NCEP brought out the Third Report of the Expert Panel on Detection, Evaluation and Treatment of High Blood Cholesterol in Adults (Adult Treatment Panel III [ATP III]) which recommended the new TLC diet regimen for people suffering from:​

  • High LDL cholesterol or other lipid disorders
  • Coronary heart disease or other cardiovascular disease
  • Diabetes mellitus, insulin resistance or metabolic syndrome

The report was widely accepted by various health organizations around the world, including the American Heart Association (AHA). The TLC diet plan was unanimously endorsed as an effective scientific way of controlling cholesterol levels in the body and preventing heart disease.

​Identify Your Cholesterol Level

Physicians recommend regular testing of cholesterol and triglycerides to check for anomalies in the way cholesterol is produced, used, transported and discharged from the body.

High cholesterol has no symptoms. You can have high cholesterol and still not be aware of it. Therefore it is crucial to have your LDL, HDL and triglyceride levels checked once in a while. As mentioned before in this article, the NCEP recommends checking cholesterol once every five years for all adults aged 20 years and older. If you already have high cholesterol, you need to check it more often. It is advisable to seek your doctor’s opinion regarding the frequency of tests.​

Lipoprotein Profile:​ The blood test for measuring cholesterol is known as lipoprotein profile or lipid profile. It measures the levels of total blood cholesterol which includes the cholesterol present in all lipoproteins, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and triglycerides. Lipoprotein profile measures the total amount of fatty substances in the blood. It is a part of cardiac risk assessment and is used to determine a person’s risk of developing heart disease and to monitor treatment.

Typically, a fasting period of 9-12 hours is needed before doing lipoprotein profile. Some labs also offer non-fasting lipid profiling. But, in case you already have elevated cholesterol, it is better to fast before going in for a test. The procedure involves drawing a small amount of blood from a finger or an arm. Each component is measured in milligrams per deciliter of blood or mg/dL.​

The following table shows the gradations of levels.​

Total Cholesterol​

Desired level:

  • Less than 200 mg/dL or 5.18 mmol/L

Borderline high level:

  • 200-239 mg/dL or 5.18 to 6.18 mmol/L

​High Level:

  • Greater than 240 mg/dL or 6.22 mmol/L

​LDL Cholesterol

Optimal level:

  • Less than 100 mg/dL or 2.59 mmol/L for healthy persons without any known disease.
  • Less than 70 mg/dL or 1.81 mmol/L for people with diseases like atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD), diabetes, etc.

Near/above optimal level:

  • 100-129 mg/dL or 2.59-3.34 mmol/L

​Borderline high level:

  • 130-159 mg/dL or 3.37-4.12 mmol/L

​High level:

  • 160-189 mg/dL or 4.15-4.90 mmol/L

​Very high level:

  • Greater than 190 mg/dL or 4.90 mmol/L

​HDL Cholesterol

Low level (high risk):

  • Less than 40 mg/dL or 1.0 mmol/L for men
  • Less than 50 mg/dL or 1.3 mmol/L for women

Average level (average risk):

  • 40-50 mg/dL or 1.0-1.3 mmol/L for men
  • 50-59 mg/dl or 1.3-1.5 mmol/L for women

High level (less than average risk):

  • Greater than 60 mg/dL or 1.55 mmol/L for both men and women.

Triglycerides

Desired level:

  • Less than 150 mg/dL or 1.70 mmol/L

Borderline high level:

  • 150-199 mg/dL or 1.7-2.2 mmol/L

High level:

  • 200-499 mg/dL or 2.3-5.6 mmol/L

Very high level:

  • Greater than 500 mg/dL or 5.6 mmol/L

Forecasting Risk of Heart Disease

The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, USA established the Adult Treatment Panel III, a special panel of experts, to look into the various concerns arising from elevated cholesterol. In 1998, based on data sourced from the Framingham Heart Study, the ATP III created and launched the first version of the Framingham Risk Score.

Framingham Risk Score​

The Framingham Risk Score is a tool for measuring and predicting the 10-year cardiovascular risk of a person. It is a gender-specific algorithm that takes into account a wide range of risk factors that can affect blood cholesterol and therefore increase risk of heart disease. It considers the age, sex, LDL, HDL, diabetes, blood pressure and smoking history of an individual.

The current version of the Framingham Risk Score was published in 2008. It is a reliable score and is widely used in the USA for predicting cholesterol-induced coronary heart disease.

Risk Factors

Treatment of high blood cholesterol depends on how much you are at risk of developing heart disease. Answer a few simple questions to know your degree of risk and the ideal level of LDL-C you need to maintain in order to stay healthy. The ATP III has fixed the target LDL-C levels by factoring in results of lipid tests and major risk factors. If an individual’s LDL cholesterol level is more than the target values, the ATP III recommends medical treatment.

In simple terms, you can calculate your risk by finding out your Framingham Risk Score and your total risk factors. You will know which category of risk you fall in and consequently your target LDL-C level.

Total risk factors & Framingham Risk Score → Your risk category → Your target LDL cholesterol level.​

In the following part of this guide, we will learn how we can calculate our risk factors and Framingham Risk Score. Let us start with risk factors:

Calculating Risk Factors

Step 1:

Tick the number of risk factors you have from the following list:

  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure (≥140/90 mmHg* or taking medicines for high blood pressure)
  • Low HDL cholesterol (less than 40 mg/dL)**
  • History of early heart disease in the family (Father or brother is diagnosed with heart disease before age 55; mother or sister diagnosed before age 65)
  • Age (45 or older for men; 55 or older for women)

Add up the number of risk factors to get your total risk number.

*mmHg stands for millimeters of mercury

**If your HDL level is 60 mg/dL or more, subtract 1 from your total count. High HDL level affords a fair amount of protection against heart disease.

Important note: Obesity and lack of exercise are not included in the above list but they need to be addressed to stay away from heart disease and lead a healthy life. Also, diabetes is dangerous enough to wreak havoc by itself and cause serious heart disease. Refer Step 3 for more details.​

Step 2: You can calculate your risk of developing heart disease in the next 10 years with the help of a risk score. As per Step 1, if your total risk factor count is 2 or more, refer the tables below to get your Framingham Risk Score. If you have only 0 or 1 of the factors as per Step 1, you are out of the danger zone. Your risk score is low to moderate and you can proceed to Step 3.​

Step 3: Here you will find out your heart disease risk category. Use your total number risk factors as per Step 1 and your Framingham Risk Score (applicable only for those whose total risk factor count is 2 or more) to find your category in the table below.​

Risk factor & Framingham Risk ScoreYour category isYou target LDL level is
Heart disease, diabetes and a Framingham Risk Score of more than 20%I: High riskLess than 100mg/dL
2 or more risk factors and a Framingham Risk Score of 10-20%II: Less than high riskLess than 130mg/dL
2 or more risk factors and a Framingham Risk Score of less than 10%III: Moderate riskLess than 130mg/dL
0 or 1 risk factorIV: Low to moderate riskLess than 160mg/dL

Calculating Framingham Risk Score

Depending your sex, use the following tables to calculate your Framingham Risk Score.

For Women​

Framingham Point Scores by Age Group
AgePoints
20-34-7
35-39-3
40-440
45-493
50-546
55-598
60-6410
65-6912
70-7414
75-7916

Framingham Point Scores by Age Group and Total Cholesterol
Total CholesterolAge 20-39Age 40-49Age 50-59Age 60-69Age 70-79
<16000000
160-19943211
200-23986421
240-279118532
280+1310742

Framingham Point Scores by Age and Smoking Status
Age 20-39Age 40-49Age 50-59Age 60-69Age 70-79
Nonsmoker00000
Smoker97421
Framingham Point Scores by HDL Level
HDLPoints
60+-1
50-590
40-491
<402
Framingham Point Scores by Systolic Blood Pressure and Treatment Status
Systolic BPIf UntreatedIf Treated
<12000
120-12913
130-13924
140-15935
160+46
10-Year Risk by Total Framingham Point Scores
Point Total10-Year Risk
< 9< 1%
91%
101%
111%
121%
132%
142%
153%
164%
175%
186%
198%
2011%
2114%
2217%
2322%
2427%
25 or more≥30%

​For Men

Framingham Point Scores by Age Group
AgePoints
20-34-9
35-39-4
40-440
45-493
50-546
55-598
60-6410
65-6911
70-7412
75-7913
Framingham Point Scores by Age Group and Total Cholesterol
Total CholesterolAge 20-39Age 40-49Age 50-59Age 60-69Age 70-79
<16000000
160-19943210
200-23975310
240-27996421
280+118531

Framingham Point Scores by Age and Smoking Status
Age 20-39Age 40-49Age 50-59Age 60-69Age 70-79
Nonsmoker00000
Smoker85311

Framingham Point Scores by HDL Level
HDLPoints
60+-1
50-590
40-491
<402

Framingham Point Scores by Systolic Blood Pressure and Treatment Status
Systolic BPIf UntreatedIf Treated
<12000
120-12901
130-13912
140-15912
160+23

10-Year Risk by Total Framingham Point Scores
Point Total10-Year Risk
< 0< 1%
01%
11%
21%
31%
41%
52%
62%
73%
84%
95%
106%
118%
1210%
1312%
1416%
1520%
1625%
17 or more≥30%

What to Do if You are at Risk?

If you are in category I, it is a matter of concern. You are at high risk of suffering from heart disease and stroke. Seek a doctor’s advice immediately and get yourself treated. The higher an individual’s risk of heart disease, the more urgent it is for them to lower their LDL content. They also need to actively control any other risk factors that they may have like smoking, diabetes and high blood pressure. These are factors that are within our control and hence alterable.

Apart from seeing a doctor and managing controllable risk factors, a person needs to switch to a healthier diet. The food we eat largely determines the cholesterol content in our body. Because our body makes its own cholesterol, taking in excessive dietary cholesterol and lipids can lead to excess fat in the body which needs to be avoided.

Foods rich in fiber and unsaturated fat are recommended for people with high blood cholesterol. Also, there has to be an immediate cut down of foods laden with saturated fats and cholesterol.

High LDL Cholesterol – How to Treat?

So you just found out you have high cholesterol. What next?

Treatment for high LDL-C involves the Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes (TLC) food plan and medication. TLC diet was developed by the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP), a special program under the aegis of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, a wing of the National Institutes of Health. The NCEP was instituted with the objective of lowering illnesses and deaths due to cardiovascular diseases in the USA.

In operation since 1985, the NCEP has devised a number of steps to fight causes of heart disease. One of them is the highly-successful TLC food regimen. It is endorsed by the government of the USA and widely-accepted as an effective diet plan for countering high LDL-C and low HDL-C.

What is a TLC Diet?

TLC diet is a heart-healthy diet plan. It takes a holistic approach toward the problem of elevated cholesterol. It helps to identify the root causes of high LDL and low HDL and removes them with the help of a heart-healthy diet. It offers a meticulously designed food regimen to lower cholesterol levels and risk of coronary disease.

TLC diet ensures you consume less fat by reducing and changing the type of fatty foods in your diet. It also helps you avoid cholesterol-rich food.

TLC diet can be followed even if you are taking medicines to lower your cholesterol. In fact, it helps to lower the dose of your medicines as it has the same effect of reducing blood cholesterol. What’s more, the program goes a step further and helps to control other risk factors that affect the heart like high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity.

TLC Diet Plan - Key Aspects of TLC Diet

  • With TLC diet only 25% to 35% of your daily calorie intake comprises of fats or lipids, most of which are unsaturated fats. Unsaturated fats are healthier than saturated fats. TLC diet sources unsaturated fats from canola, olive, peanut, safflower, sunflower and corn oils.
  • Saturated fat comprises of less than 7% of your daily calorie intake. Saturated fats are found in whole milk dairy products, fatty meat, butter, lard, egg yolks and poultry.
  • TLC diet contains less than 200 milligrams of cholesterol per day. Cholesterol occurs naturally in foods like dairy products, poultry, egg yolks, red meat and shellfish.
  • TLC diet does not contain any trans fats. Trans fats are found in greasy foods like junk food, fried foods, stick margarine, cream-rich cookies, shortening, sweets, etc. It is also found in foods prepared with hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils.
  • For additional lowering of cholesterol, TLC diet recommends taking 2 grams per day of plant stenols or sterols and 10-15 grams per day of soluble fiber.
  • TLC diet contains no more than 2400mg sodium per day.
  • The program also includes weight management and physical workout. In order to fully stabilize cholesterol levels in the blood, you will have to take active steps to bring your weight under control (if you are overweight). TLC diet recommends exercise or physical activity for at least 30 minutes every day to counter the ill-effects of high cholesterol.

How TLC Diet Works?

TLC diet helps us eat healthy. It includes foods that are good for the heart and facilitate weight control. TLC diet makes sure our daily calorie consumption does not contain more than 35% fat.

The TLC program aims to treat high blood cholesterol by lowering the LDL level. It is also effective in decelerating, stopping and reversing deposition of plaque in arteries. The diet plan emphasizes on replacing fatty foods with healthier substitutes. It includes foods that contribute towards reducing LDL-C and increasing HDL-C.

TLC increases the content of mono-saturated fat or good fat in our food - around 20% of total calories consist of calories from mono-saturated fats. Mono-saturated fat lowers LDL-C but does not affect or bring down HDL-C levels. Sources of mono-saturated fat are avocados, olive, almond, canola oils and peanut butter.

Under TLC, roughly 10% of total calories comprise of poly-saturated fats. But these must be consumed in moderation because while they help to lower LDL they also lower HDL which is not desired. Therefore, their intake must be checked. Poly-saturated fats are found in fish like mackerel, trout, herring and salmon. It is also found in sunflower and pumpkin seeds, soybean, sunflower, safflower, cottonseed and corn oils.

TLC program ensures your intake of dietary cholesterol is less 200 milligrams a day. Cholesterol is present naturally in egg yolk, red meat and shellfish. TLC packs your diet with more lean meat and dairy products with reduced fat content such as skimmed milk, double-toned milk, low-fat yoghurt, etc.

TLC diet also recommends weight management and physical exercise. If you are overweight and have high blood cholesterol, you will be required to take steps to lose weight and achieve a more balanced body mass index (BMI). The reason is that obesity aggravates the problem of high cholesterol by increasing the level of LDL-C. Therefore eating healthy by proactively cutting down on fatty foods is necessary to tackle the harmful effects of obesity.

The TLC plan also recommends a moderate amount of physical exercise for at least half an hour every day, six to seven days a week. Activities like walking, brisk walking and jogging are advised for people with high cholesterol. It helps to burn fat faster and prevents excess fat from accumulating in the body. Physical activity increases the body’s metabolic rate. It enables the body to use the stored fat as a source of energy instead of carbohydrates and protein. TLC diet advocates physical activity and exercise as key tools for achieving a balanced body weight and cholesterol level.

Varying Intensity of TLC Diet

The intensity of your cholesterol treatment through TLC diet will depend on the degree of your risk of heart disease. For the first 3 months of dieting, your main goal will be to lower your LDL count to the ideal level prescribed by the TLC guidelines.

If you belong to the high risk category, your regimen will include lesser fatty foods and more fibrous foods. It will also mean you will have to undergo rigorous weight reduction and do regular exercise to lose those extra pounds. You will need to regularly monitor your progress. TLC diet recommends seeking a doctor’s opinion before getting started. After that, you can consult your doctor once every six weeks to review your progress. Also, seek guidance from a physical trainer or sports instructor regarding your workout. If any changes need to be made to your diet or workout plan, the experts can help you with it.

If you are outside the risk zone and belong in category IV, your diet plan will be more relaxed and weight management and exercise routine less rigorous.

Does TLC Diet have Side Effects?

There are no known side effects of TLC diet. So far no complaints have been reported regarding health concerns resulting from TLC diet.

TLC diet is safe for everyone except pregnant and nursing mothers. In fact, children suffering from adult health issues like diabetes and high cholesterol are sometimes put on TLC diet by doctors to bring their cholesterol levels under control.

TLC Diet Research – What do Studies Say About the Effectiveness of TLC Diet?

The medical community supports the TLC diet regimen. It is widely accepted as an effective and healthy way to combat high blood cholesterol. TLC diet is prescribed by doctors the world over as a heart-healthy diet.

Study published in the Journal of Lipid Research

In 2003 the Journal of Lipid Research published the findings of a research conducted on 36 adults. The volunteers were made to change their diet from a traditional American diet with 16% saturated fat and 180 milligrams cholesterol to a TLC diet with 7% saturated fat and 75 milligrams cholesterol. They were kept on the American diet for the first 32 days and then switched to the TLC diet for the next 32 days. After the 64-day period it was found that the LDL cholesterol level of the volunteers decreased by 11%.

Study published in the Journal of Atherosclerosis and Thrombosis

A 2007 research paper published in the Journal of Atherosclerosis and Thrombosis showed the relation between TLC diet and lowered LDL-C. 16 adults with high blood cholesterol were put on a TLC diet. After 6 months their total cholesterol dropped from 254.8 milligrams/dL to 224.2 milligrams/dL and their LDL cholesterol level dropped from 174 milligrams/dL to 143 milligrams/dL. The study also reported that 1 40-point decrease in total cholesterol lowers the risk of heart disease by 20%.

Study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition

A 2014 research conducted on 31 adults also found a definitive relation between TLC diet and lowered blood cholesterol. The report, published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, stated that replacing red meats with legumes as per the TLC regimen significantly reduced the levels of triglycerides and LDL cholesterol.

Study published in the Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology

In 1995, as part of a study conducted to verify the effectiveness of TLC diet, 32 participants were made to follow the diet plan for 8 months. After the period, it was found that their LDL-C levels had fallen by 18%. It was also found that the reduction was greater in men than women, though the reason was not known.

Understanding Nutrients and How They Impact our Health?

To understand the way TLC diet works, we need to first understand the role different nutrients play. Under the TLD mandate, we need to cut back on some nutrients and increase intake of some others. Let us now discuss each food component in detail.

Fat

Fat is a nutrient found in food. It provides energy for our daily activities. Too much fat in the body can lead to myriad problem including obesity, high blood cholesterol and the risk of developing heart disease.

There are different types of fats. Each kind has a different effect on our health. Let us take a look.

Saturated Fat

Saturated fat is a type of fatty acid in which the carbon atom is fully saturated with hydrogen atoms. Foods with a high content of saturated fat include whole milk dairy products like cheese, butter, cream and animal products like lard, fatty meats, sausages, salami, etc. Vegetables food sources that are high on saturated fat are palm kernel oil and coconut oil. Processed foods like dairy desserts and pizza also have high saturated fat content. Egg yolks, ground beef and cashews contain high amounts of saturated fat.

Studies have shown that consumption of too much saturated fat elevates LDL levels. People in countries and regions where the cuisine contains high amounts of saturated fat have higher cholesterol levels and more heart disease. Lowering the intake of saturated fat is important to combat high LDL-C.

Saturated fat is normally solid at room temperature.

As per TLC guidelines, your daily diet should contain less than 7% saturated fat.

The following table shows the amount of saturated fat one should consume per day vis-à-vis their daily calorie intake. Data in the second (saturated fat intake) column represents about 6% of total calories.

Daily calorie consumptionDaily saturated fat intake should be
12008 grams
150010 grams
180012 grams
200013 grams
250017 grams

Unsaturated Fat

Unsaturated fat is a fatty acid that contains at least one double bond in its chain. There are 2 types of unsaturated fat: monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. Monounsaturated fat is found in canola, peanut, olive and sunflower oils. Polyunsaturated fat is present in avocado, many kinds of nuts and foods made from soybean, corn, safflower, sunflower and cottonseed oils. Omega-3 fatty acid, a polyunsaturated fat good for the heart, is found in fatty fish like salmon, mackerel and tuna.

Research has shown that when the saturated fat in our diet is replaced by monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat, it helps to bring down high blood cholesterol.

Unsaturated fat is usually liquid at room temperature.

Trans Fat

Trans fats or trans-unsaturated fatty acids are a type of unsaturated fat that are found very sparingly in natural form but are widely produced in food industries from vegetable fats. All foods prepared with hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils contain trans fats. This is because hydrogenation adds hydrogen to unsaturated fat to make it more saturated, stable and solid. Foods rich in trans fats are cakes, cookies, margarine, shortening, crackers, doughnuts, cream-filled candies, biscuits and all food with frosting on it.

Junk food and fried foods like French fries are also high on trans fats. It is also found in trace amounts naturally in some meats and dairy products. Some dietary supplements may also contain trans fats. Also, soft margarine sold in tubs and in liquid form has less trans fat than solid margarine.

Trans fat is bad for the heart. It increases the risk of heart disease. It causes blockage and blood clots in arteries due to increase in plaque deposition. It is directly connected to higher LDL and triglycerides and lower HDL. It also causes systemic inflammation. In 2003 the World Health Organization issued healthy eating guidelines that stated that our diet should not contain more than 1% trans fats.

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2015 declared trans fats to be generally unsafe for human consumption and gave food manufacturing companies a period of three years to eliminate trans fats from all processed foods. Countries around the world have fixed caps on how much trans fats processed foods can contain.

In almost every country, food companies are required by the law to declare the amount of trans fats and saturated fats in their products. Details are displayed in the ingredients list and nutrition facts label behind food packets. Do make a point to check this before you buy any food item. It will help you keep track of the trans fats and other nutrients you are consuming. If trans fats are not mentioned on the label, see if the food item is made from shortening, hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils – it means the product contains trans fat.

Total Fat

Total fat is the sum of saturated, unsaturated (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated) and trans fats in food. All types of fats do not increase cholesterol. More than the total fat, the type of fat consumed has a greater influence on LDL cholesterol levels.

Therefore, it is important to aim for lowering unhealthy fats like trans fats and saturated fats. You must also watch your total fat intake because fat is calorie-dense and makes you fat by increasing body weight. Be careful not to consume foods with high total fat content as they will also have high saturated fat. Foods that have lower levels of total fat are recommended for people with high blood cholesterol.

As per TLC diet, your daily consumption of total fat should not exceed 25 to 35% of the total calories.

Cholesterol

Dietary cholesterol increase blood cholesterol level. It is often found in food rich in saturated fat. Therefore reducing intake of such foods has a double benefit. Dietary cholesterol is found in animal liver and other organ meats, prawns, egg yolk and whole milk dairy products like butter, cheese and cream.

As per TLC diet, your daily intake of dietary cholesterol should not exceed 200 milligrams per day.

Soluble Fiber

Soluble fiber is found is plants. Although our body cannot absorb fiber or use it for energy, it is still necessary for food good health. It prevents fat and cholesterol from being absorbed into the bloodstream through the walls of the intestine.

Soluble fiber is prebiotic, meaning it serves as food for symbiotic intestinal bacteria that help in digestion. This type of bacteria converts the soluble fiber into a gel-like substance inside the gut. This process produces gases and SCFAs. SCFA are known to lower blood cholesterol.

By aiding the production of SCFAs, soluble fiber indirectly helps lower blood cholesterol and risk of coronary disease. Soluble fiber also supports digestion and improves bowel movement. Also, high fiber foods make you feel fuller faster on fewer calories and are excellent if you are trying to lose weight.

Studies have shown that people who increased their daily intake of soluble fiber by 5 to 10 grams, saw their LDL-C level drop by about 5%. Under TLC, you will be put on a diet comprising of at least 5 to 10 grams of soluble fiber every day. For those who fall in the high risk category, it recommends 10 to 25 grams of soluble fiber per day for faster reduction of LDL-C.

Cautionary note: Consumption of dietary soluble fiber must be increased gradually. Sudden increase of fiber can cause abdominal cramps and bloating.

The following table shows the quantum of fiber in some foods that contain soluble fiber.


Soluble fiber (grams)Total fiber (grams)
Whole grain cereal - 1/2 cup cooked whole grain cereal contains
Barley14
Oatmeal12
Oatbran13
Psyllium seeds 1 tbsp ground56
Fruit - 1 medium sized fruit contains
Apple14
Banana13
Blackberry 1/2 cup14
Citrus fruits like orange, grapefruit22 to 3
Nectarine12
Peach12
Pear24
Plum11.5
Prunes 1/4 cup1.53
Legumes - 1/2 cup cooked legumes contains
Black beans25.5
Kidney beans36
Lima beans3.56.5
Navy beans26
Northern beans1.55.5
Pinto beans27
Lentil18
Chick peas16
Black eyed peas15.5
Vegetables 1 cup cooked vegetables contains
Broccoli11.5
Brussels sprouts34.5
Carrots12.5

Plant Stenols and Sterols

These nutrients occur naturally in many plants in trace amounts. They are mostly sourced from soybean and tall pine tree oils. Just like soluble fiber, plant stenols and sterols prevent absorption of fatty acids and cholesterol into the bloodstream, thus lowering LDL content in the blood. They do not influence HDL and triglyceride levels.

Studies have shown that adding just 2 grams of stenols or sterols to your food daily can lower LDL-C by 5 to 15% in a matter of weeks. Some margarines and packaged orange juices may contain plant stenols and sterols. But food containing stenols and sterols also contain more calories. So you will have to watch your total calorie intake. If you are increasing your intake of plant stenol and sterol, you will have to balance out your calories by cutting back on other foods.

Oatmeal or oatbran are good sources of soluble fiber. Add them to your breakfast menu to increase your intake of soluble fiber. You can also add fibrous fruits like banana, apple and peach to your bowl of oats.

Further, eating a whole fruit is always healthier than just drinking its juice. For instance, one whole orange contains six times more fiber than its juice.

Apart from oats, kidney beans and lentils also contain good amounts of soluble fiber. So adding them to your daily diet can help reduce your LDL-C count.

Other Dietary Factors

The following dietary ingredients do not affect your LDL level but are still important for good health. It is important to know how these nutrients influence your heart.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 Fatty Acids is found naturally in fatty fish like anchovies, bluefish, sardines, tuna, mackerel, herring, salmon, sturgeon and lake trout. Plant sources of omega-3 fatty acid are walnuts, flaxseed and flaxseed oil, canola oil and soybean oil. Omega-3 fatty acid does not affect the LDL level but it is effective in lowering triglycerides. Studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acids prevent blockage in arteries and is therefore good for the heart.

However, it is not recommended for children and pregnant and nursing women. Eating about 7 ounces of fatty fish a week helps to keep the heart healthy. Also, fish sourced from the wild are any day better than farm-raised fish as the latter may contain chemicals.

Sodium

The commonest source of sodium is table salt (sodium chloride). Eating less salt helps lower high blood pressure which is a risk factor for heart disease. Add more vegetables and fruits to your diet as they contain less sodium. Canned fruits and vegetables may contain slightly higher amounts of sodium. Some food ingredients that contain high levels of salt are monosodium glutamate (MSG), soy sauce, baking soda, seasoned salts and some antacids. Read nutrition and ingredients labels carefully to make sure you only purchase foods low in sodium.

Alcohol

Excessive drinking is harmful for your heart and liver. It increases blood pressure and triglycerides. Alcohol also contains calories. 12 ounces of beer contains 150 calories, 5 ounces of wine contains 100 calories and one and a half ounces of hard liquor contains 100 calories. So it is important to restrict consumption of any kind of alcohol to a minimum. In fact, drinking in moderation is believed to be good for health. Health experts recommend one drink a day for women and two for men. However, exceeding this daily limit can have adverse effects on your health.

Carbohydrates

Although carbohydrates are not central to the TLC diet plan, you still need to watch your carbs in order to keep your calorie intake in check. Carbohydrates provide energy. They are the principal source of energy for our body. They are found abundantly in starches, sugars and fibers. Fruits, vegetables, rice, wheat, bread and grains are rich sources of carbohydrate.

TLC diet makes sure you are eating the right type of carbohydrate. More than the amount, it focuses on providing you with the appropriate carbohydrate that helps in reducing LDL cholesterol and keeping your heart healthy.

Carbohydrates are of two main types: simple and complex. Simple carbohydrates are found in sweets and candies. Complex carbohydrates are found in starchy and fibrous foods like rice, bread, potato, vegetables, fruits, etc. Complex carbohydrates are healthier than simple carbohydrates. They contain more fiber and less calories.

If you are looking to looking to lose weight under the TLC regimen, your will have to cut back on high-carb foods. Being extremely rich in calories, carbohydrates lead to weight gain which is a risk factor for heart disease.

Reduction in LDL Cholesterol with TLC

The following chart enumerates the percentage reduction in LDL-C an individual can achieve through TLC. The results are based on research and give a comprehensive idea about how much you can expect to lower your blood cholesterol through diet and weigh management.

Change in consumptionReduction in LDL level
Saturated fatDecrease to less than 7% of total calories8-10%
Dietary cholesterolDecrease to less than 200 mg/day3-5%
Soluble fiberIncrease intake by 5-10 grams/day3-5%
Plant stenols and sterolsIncrease intake by 2 grams/day5-15%
WeightLosing 10 pounds body weight5-8%
Total achievable reduction in LDL cholesterol through TLC diet20-30%

TLC Diet Flowchart: Getting Started

The TLC regimen takes a holistic approach towards lowering blood cholesterol and preventing heart disease. It starts with adopting a healthy diet and being more active physically to lose weight. It also includes cutting back on controllable risk factors like smoking and alcohol and taking steps to lower high blood pressure.

Monitoring your progress is important. Coordination with a doctor or dietician will help you review and verify your results. Also, if the intensity of your regimen needs to be increased, the experts will be able to guide you.

The TLC steps are discussed below:

#1. First doctor visit – Check blood cholesterol - Start TLC diet plan

TLC begins with a change in lifestyle. Visit your doctor and have yourself tested for cholesterol levels to know your target LDL level. Follow a strict TLC diet to reduce saturated fat, trans fat, triglycerides and dietary cholesterol. Exercise for a few minutes every day. If you are overweight, you will have to watch your calorie intake and eat more of fibrous foods. Follow the TLC plan for six weeks before going for your next check-up.

#2. Second doctor visit – Check blood cholesterol – Intensify diet plan if progress is slow​

On your second visit to the doctor, do a comprehensive blood test to find out cholesterol, blood pressure and other details. If your progress is good, continue on the set path. If your progress is not up to the mark, you may have to increase the intensity of your diet and weight management schedule. This will call for further reduction in the intake of saturated fat, trans fat and dietary cholesterol. Also adding plant stenols and sterols and soluble fiber will be required. Follow this plan for about six weeks.

#3. Third doctor visit – Check blood cholesterol – If LDL is still high, start medication.​

On your third visit to the doctor, have a blood test done once again. If your progress is good, continue on the plan and keep checking your LDL level once every four to six months. If your progress is not good, you may have to start drug therapy. You will also have to make your weight loss program more intense. Regular rigorous workout will be necessary to bring your LDL under control. Also, you may have to seek treatment for metabolic syndrome.

Tips on Getting the Most out of Your Doctor’s Appointment

Your doctor/dietician/health professional is a friend guiding you on your path to a healthier life. They can help you reduce your LDL level and risk of heart disease. Therefore, it is very important that you communicate well with them. We have come up with a few tips to help you make the most of your visit to your doctor. Here they are:

  • Reveal all details: The first thing you need to do is reveal all details about your present and past health issues, eating habits and lifestyle. Complete transparency is required on your part if your diet plan is to succeed. Concealing important facts will only mar your progress.
  • Ask questions: If you have a doubt, do not hesitate to ask your doctor for further explanation. Make sure you have all the facts and figures right. Be clear on what your LDL goal is. Talk to your doctor to understand timelines and daily consumption limits of various nutrients.
  • Write down guidelines: It is important that you write down all the dos and don’ts of your diet plan, in case you forget. Write down all the instructions given by the doctor and refer them regularly to check whether you are doing it right.
  • Keeps written records: Record your progress regularly. Make notes of your test results after each visit to the doctor.
  • Review your progress: Discuss your progress rate with your doctor. Check how well you’ve been able to keep your risk factors like smoking and high blood pressure under control. If your LDL level is still high, you may have to intensify your regimen. You may also have to exercise more and reduce your intake of calories. Be very clear on your renewed targets. Ask questions if you do not understand something. You and your doctor must be on the same page.
  • Give honest feedback: If you are finding it difficult to follow the TLC diet plan, you must let your doctor know about it. Explain to him why you are unable to keep up. Be honest and open. The doctor could modify the program to make it easier for you to follow.
  • Immediately report side effects: If you experience any discomfort or side effects from being on the TLC diet, you must immediately report it to your physician. Do not ignore side effects. It could be fatal. Have yourself properly checked and ask your doctor to guide you on your next course.

Importance of Reading Food Labels

Food labels educate the masses about the contents of a food item. Packaged foods display information about their ingredients and nutrition. Reading food labels can help you restrict your intake of calories, saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol. It is a useful tool for maintaining a balanced diet and staying in good health. It allows consumers to compare food products and pick the healthier options.

Reading the list of ingredients can help you stay away from foods that could potentially increase your cholesterol problem. The nutrition facts are helpful for knowing the nutrition content per serving/ measure. It helps you calculate your daily intake of nutrients and thus maintain a more balanced diet.

Understanding the terminology of food labels is very crucial. Each word or phrase comes with a specific meaning in terms of nature and quantity of the ingredients. To avoid confusion, we have made a list of terms for your quick perusal.


Terms and phrasesMeaning
Fat freeThe food item contains less than 0.5 gram of fat/serving
Low fatThe food item contains 3 grams or less fat/serving
Reduced fatThe food item contains at least 25% less fat/serving than its regular variety
Low saturated fatThe food item contains 1 gram or less saturated fat/serving
Light in fatThe food item contains half the amount of fat found in its regular variety
Low cholesterolThe food item contains 20 milligrams or less cholesterol/serving and 2 grams or less saturated fat/serving
Low sodiumThe food item contains 140 milligrams or less sodium/serving
LeanThe food item contains less than 10 grams of fat/serving, 4.5 grams or less saturated fat/serving and less than 95 milligrams of cholesterol/serving
Extra leanThe food item contains less than 5 grams of fat/serving, less than 2 grams saturated fat/serving and less than 95 milligrams of cholesterol/serving
Calorie freeThe food item contains less than 5 calories/serving
Low calorieThe food item contains 40 or less calories/serving
Reduced/less caloriesThe food item contains at least 25% fewer calories/serving than its regular variety
Light/liteThe food item contains a third of the calories or half the amount of fat present in its regular variety

TLC Diet Food List – What You Can eat under TLC Diet and How Much?

Being on TLC diet does not mean you have to deprive yourself of tasty food. TLC aims to include healthier food options in your daily diet. Foods that are high on fiber and unsaturated fat get preference over fatty and junk food. Here is a sample of a day’s menu under TLC diet. You can of course change it to suit your cuisine and palate. The idea is to keep the total nutrient content the same as this sample.

Vegetables (including peas and dried beans): Vegetables, dried beans and peas are a rich source of plant fiber and protein. Include 3 to 5 servings a day of fresh, frozen or canned vegetables ideally without added salt, fat, sauce or sugar.

Fruits: Fruits have vitamins, fiber and many other nutrients. Include 2 to 4 servings a day of fresh, dried, frozen or canned fruits, preferably without added sugar.

Grains, cereals, bread: These are starchy food high in complex carbohydrate. Rice, wheat, bread, potato, etc are rich sources of carbohydrate. Low fat biscuits and crackers are also good sources of complex carbohydrate. These foods have less saturated fat and cholesterol. Include 6 or more servings per day depending on your calorie target.

Milk products: Include only fat-free or low-fat dairy products. Include 2 to 3 servings a day. Sources are low-fat or fat-free milk yoghurt, cream, buttermilk, cheese, cottage cheese, etc. Low-fat and fat-free milk products contain less saturated fat but provide almost the same amount of calcium and protein as whole milk products.

Eggs: Egg white is healthier than egg yolk. Egg white contains no cholesterol and few calories while egg yolk is rich in dietary cholesterol. Make sure you limit your weekly consumption of egg yolk to two yolks, including yolks in cakes and other processed foods.

Poultry, fish, meat: Include 5 or less ounces of meat, fish and poultry combined per day. Poultry that has had the skin removed contains less saturated fat. Fatty fish contain heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and are low on saturated fat. Meat must ideally be lean. Lean cuts of meat like top sirloin (beef) and center cut ham (pork) have less fat and more protein and iron. Under TLC diet, you will be required to stick to skinned poultry and lean fat-less meat. Organ meats like kidney, heart and liver, and shell fish like shrimp are rich in dietary cholesterol. These foods are not good for your heart and TLC diet requires you to limit their intake.

Fats and oils: TLC recommends including moderate amounts of nuts to your daily diet. Nuts are a source of unsaturated fat but also contain a lot of calories. Use oils that are high on unsaturated fats like canola, soybean, safflower and corn oil. Also substitute hard margarine with liquid or soft margarine. Avoid hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils. Go for foods items with ‘low saturated fat’ labels.

Sample TLC Diet Menu

Below we have shared 3 sample TLC diet menus.

Menu 1

Cuisine: American. Total calories = 1300.

Breakfast:

A bowl of oatmeal (about ¾ cup), a banana, a glass of orange juice and coffee.

This healthy breakfast contains negligible saturated fat and no cholesterol. It is also packed with soluble fiber which helps lower LDL cholesterol.

Lunch:

Half a tuna salad sandwich layered with tomato, lettuces and a light mayonnaise. Add to this a bowl of low salt vegetable soup, a whole apple and a diet soda.

This meal contains a maximum of 500 calories with a mere 7.5 grams of fat. Mayo contains about 2/3 of the total fat in this lunch box. Give it a miss if you want to make your meal healthier. Also, most soups are more salty than you would’ve thought. So make sure to pick a soup that’s low in sodium.

Evening snacks:

Low-fat popcorn or baby carrots, but not both.

Snacking in between meals is not healthy. It increases fat and calorie intake and leads to weight gain. Therefore it is important to choose an extremely low calorie snack. TLC diet recommends baby carrots or low-fat microwave popcorn. Chips and junk food are to be wholly excluded from your diet.

Dinner:

Blue cheese and cherry salad, salmon with pineapple salsa, half a cup of organic brown rice and a glass of wine.

This dinner menu is a high on nutrients that lower LDL-C and elevate HDL-C levels. Salmon and other fatty fish are rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Cherries are good sources of soluble fiber and wine is known to raise the level of HDL cholesterol.

Menu 2

Cuisine: American. Total calories = 1800.

Breakfast:

Oatmeal 1 cup with fat-free milk and a tablespoon of raisins, a cup of honeydew melon, a cup of orange juice with extra calcium and a cup of coffee with fat-free milk.

Lunch:

Roast beef sandwich, preferable with lean top sirloin, layered with fresh tomatoes and lettuce. To this, add half a cup of pasta salad with a quarter cup assorted vegetables, one whole apple and a cup of iced tea without sugar.

Dinner:

2 pounds of orange roughly cooked with parmesan cheese and olive oil, served with half a cup of broccoli and a cup of brown rice. For dessert, a cup of strawberries with half a cup of frozen yoghurt, preferably low-fat.

Evening Snacks:

A cup of canned peaches or two cups of low-fat popcorn prepared with canola oil. Do not have both in the same day.

Menu 3

Cuisine: Asian. Total calories = 1800.

Breakfast:

Scrambled egg whites cooked with fat-free oil, one whole wheat English muffin, one cup strawberries, one cup calcium-fortified orange juice and one cup coffee with fat-free milk.

Lunch:

Stir fried tofu and assorted veggies prepared with peanut oil, half a cup of rice, one whole orange and green tea.

Dinner:

3 ounces of beef tenderloin stir fried in peanut oil, quarter cup cooked soybeans, half cup broccoli, half cup rice, one cup watermelon, one cup fat-free milk and one almond cookie.

Snack:

Half a cup of Chinese noodles cooked in peanut oil and one cup green tea.

Menu 4

Cuisine: Mexican. Total calories = 1800.

Breakfast:

Corn tortilla with quarter cup Pinto beans mixed with chopped tomatoes and onions, one jalapeno pepper, one medium size papaya, one cup of calcium-fortified orange juice and one cup of coffee with fat-free milk.

Lunch:

Lean beef sirloin steak cooked in olive oil with a quarter cup each of tomatoes, onions, potato and salsa, served with Mexican rice cooked with 2 tbsp each of onions, tomatoes, carrots in 2 tsp olive oil and one jalapeno pepper. One medium size mango and one cup mixed fruit shake with fat-free milk.

Dinner:

Chicken fajita with 2 ounces of baked chicken breast cooked in canola oil with green pepper and onions, served with an avocado salad with Romaine lettuce, tomatoes and onions tossed in low-fat sour cream, and a raisin rice pudding.

Snacks:

One cup of fat-free and sugar-free yoghurt paired with canned peaches.

TLC Diet Cooking – Tips for Preparing Tasty Heart-Healthy Food

Here are a few tips to help you prepare tasty meals that follow TLC nutrition guidelines.

Cooking procedure:

  • First up, do away with butter and full-fat oils and sauces. Cook using low-fat methods like steaming, baking, roasting, poaching and light stir frying. Use cooking spray, small amounts of oil and low-sodium foods.
  • Use a non-stick pan without added fat or regular pan with a little added fat.

Milk and dairy products:

  • Opt for low-fat, fat-free and evaporated milk and avoid full cream milk and dairy products.
  • Try not to use sour cream. Instead blend 1 cup low-fat salt-free cottage cheese with 1 tbsp fat-free milk and 2 tbsp lemon juice and use it in place of sour cream. You can also substitute sour cream with low-fat or fat-free yoghurt or sour cream.

Spices and seasoning:

  • Cut down on salt and use spices and aromatic herbs to make food tastier.
  • Use low-sodium broths and bouillon.

Meat, poultry, fish:

  • Use skinless poultry and lean meats that have had their fat removed. Skip chicken neck bones and replace them with skinless wings and thighs.
  • Use turkey instead of beef.
  • Include more fatty fish like anchovies, tuna, salmon, etc. Avoid shrimps and other shell fish.

Eggs:

  • Instead of 1 whole egg, use 2 egg whites or ¼ cup of egg substitute. Instead of 2 whole eggs, use 3 egg whites and one egg yolk. Use this formula in all kinds of cooking that involves eggs.

Oil, cheese, butter:

  • Use cooking oil spray. It is low on fat and calories.
  • Avoid using lard, butter and other fats that are solid in room temperature. Instead use a dash of vegetable oil.
  • At all cost avoid hard margarine. Go for regular soft or liquid margarine that are low on saturated fat.
  • Only buy margarine made from vegetable oil. Margarines that have liquid vegetable oil as the first ingredient in their food label and are low in saturated fat and have no or minimal trans fat are healthier.

Salads and sandwiches:

  • Use fat-free or low-fat vinaigrette for salads and sandwiches.
  • Use yoghurt-based or low-fat mayonnaise dressings instead of full-fat dressings.
  • Make vinaigrettes for salads with four parts water, four parts vinegar and two parts oil.
  • Use vegetables and fruits rich in fiber to garnish salads.

Stews, broths and soups:

  • Refrigerating homemade soups, broths and stews solidifies the fat on top. Remove this congealed fat before cooking/eating.
  • If you are in a hurry and do not have time to allow the stew to cool, drop a couple ice cubes to solidify the fat, then remove it.
  • For seasoning soups, sauces and stews, sauté onions in cooking spray, water or stock instead of oil or butter.

Breads:

  • Only use whole-wheat preferably multigrain brown breads in sandwiches.
  • Use no more than 1 tbsp of fat for each cup of flour while making muffins, cakes, quick breads and cookies.
  • When baking cakes and breads, instead of half a cup of butter/oil, use 3 finely mashed ripe bananas.
  • You can also use a cup of applesauce instead of a cup of shortening/margarine/butter/oil.

Desserts:

  • Use only low-fat or fat-free varieties while making desserts.
  • When you are preparing a pie crust or patty, use only half a cup of soft margarine for every 2 cups of flour.
  • Use 2 tbsp of fat for each cup of flour in cakes, biscuits and cookies.
  • In chocolate desserts, use 3 tbsp. of cocoa in place of 1 ounce of baking chocolate. And if you need to add fat to replace that in chocolate, use a tbsp. of vegetable oil.

TLC Diet Desserts and Snacks

You can be on TLC diet and still enjoy tasty snacks and desserts. We have made a list of sweet treats that are safe for consumption under TLC diet.

Desserts:

  • Fresh and frozen fruits
  • Fat-free or low-fat frozen yoghurt
  • Fat-free or low-fat fruit yoghurt
  • Low-fat or fat-free ice-cream
  • Sherbet
  • Jello
  • Fruit ices
  • Angel food cake
  • Candies and toffees with minimal or no fat like gumdrops, candy corn and jelly beans.
  • Baked treats like cakes, cookies, pies, etc. made with unsaturated oil or soft margarine, egg whites or egg substitutes and fat-free milk.

Snacks:

  • Fresh and frozen fruits
  • Fresh and steamed vegetables
  • Low-fat low-sodium popcorn made with vegetable oil instead of butter.
  • Low-fat or fat-free cookies and crackers
  • Pretzels
  • Bagels
  • Graham crackers
  • Rye crisp
  • Melba toast
  • English muffins
  • Bread sticks
  • Ready-to-eat low-fat breakfast cereals

TLC Diet: Physical Exercise and Weight Management

Here we will take up the other two important aspects of TLC diet: physical activity and weight-loss management.

Obesity increases the risk of heart disease by lowering the level of good cholesterol and increasing the levels of bad cholesterol and triglycerides. Overweight people are also more likely to suffer from diabetes, high blood pressure, bone disease and other serious ailments like cancer. Also, if you have more weight around your waist you have a higher possibility of developing metabolic syndrome. Therefore, it is very important that you reduce your bodyweight by eating healthy and doing regular exercise.

TLC diet incorporates a healthy weight loss program to help you achieve your target BMI and ideal cholesterol levels. It does this by gradually increasing the quantum of your day-to-day physical activity. For this you have to watch your calorie intake by eating selectively.

TLC diet removes fatty foods high in saturated fat and cholesterol from your daily diet. It includes food rich in unsaturated fat and soluble fiber to help counter the ill-effects of high blood cholesterol. It also eliminates high calorie sugary foods with healthier low-fat, fat-free whole-grain options. TLC also stresses on smaller portions. The aim is to bring down the total calorie count and total fat in your daily diet by consuming the right food in the right quantity.

TLC diet includes at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise every day. If you want to lose those extra pounds, you will have to get active. Here are a few tips to help you get started.

  • Starting out: In the beginning take it easy. Start by incorporating activities that require standing like cooking, raking leaves, painting, etc.
  • Light exercise: Slowly, as you become more active and the initial stiffness in your muscles begins to ease up, do some light activity like walking, cleaning the house, carpentry, playing golf, etc. Walk leisurely at first and then slowly increase your speed. Do not over stress yourself. Do this light activity for about 30 minutes every day. Use a pedometer. It’ll help you know how many calories you’ve burnt and motivate you to do more.
  • Medium-intensity exercise: Once you are able to do light activity easily, you can upgrade to a medium-intensity exercise routine. You can walk at a brisk pace, cycle, dance and do light aerobics and gardening.
  • Rigorous exercise: The last level is high-intensity workout. We suggest you seek your doctor’s advice before getting started. Your age and health issues have to be considered. It includes jogging uphill, running with a weight, swimming, fast aerobics, playing football, soccer, tennis, squash and basketball.

TLC Diet Workout Plan: Tips to Avoid Injuries

  • If you find it difficult to exercise for 30 minutes at a stretch, you can divide the regimen into three parts of 10 minutes each or as you find convenient. The idea is to do a physical activity for at least 30 minutes every day.
  • Before you start any activity, do a small 5-minute warm-up to avoid cramps and other injuries. Do not end a workout session abruptly. Let it taper out in intensity with the last 5 minutes consisting of slower and relaxed activity.
  • If you pull a muscle or sprain a joint, take a complete break to recover. Do not exercise if you are experiencing pain or discomfort. It will only worsen the injury.
  • If you experience sudden giddiness, nausea or pain in your chest while exercising, stop immediately and call for help. Do not ignore such symptoms. They can be fatal.
  • If the neighborhood where you work out is not safe, ask a friend to join you or exercise in groups. If you wish to walk, do it in a place where there are many people around like a park or a mall. Do not go out alone after dark for a jog in an unsafe environment.
  • Drink plenty of water before, during and after workout. Physical activity dehydrates the body and can make you feel loopy. So keep a bottle of water handy while exercising.
  • Dress appropriately for the activity. Check the weather report id necessary to make arrangements in advance.

Calories Burnt in 30 Minutes

Here is a table to indicate how many calories you can burn by doing the following activities for 30 minutes. The data shared pertains to a healthy 150-pound person. Note that a heavier person will typically lose more weight and a lighter person will lose less.


Physical activityCalories burnt/30 minutes
Walking at a slow pace, 2 miles/hr85
Walking at a brisk pace, 4 miles/hr170
Cycling at a leisurely pace, 10 miles/hr205
Jogging, 5 miles/hr275
Swimming at a medium pace240
Dancing, aerobics190
Gardening135
Yard jobs like raking leaves145

Benefits of Physical Exercise

Regular workout has many advantages. Just a half hour of physical activity or exercise every day can have far-reaching health benefits. We In the following bullet points we have discussed a few.

  • Exercise keeps your heart healthy.
  • It is much easier to lose weight if you are physically agile and active.
  • Exercise makes you happy and confident. A moderate amount of physical activity every day keeps your endorphins flowing and gives you a positive outlook.
  • Being physically active can help you bring about other lifestyle changes like diet changes to lead a healthier life.
  • The more active you are the more energy you will have throughout the day.
  • Physical exercise can also be a way to bond with family and friends. Exercising in groups can help promote the overall health of your loved ones.
  • Workout helps to let off steam and reduce stress levels. It is a great way to relax and unwind.
  • Physical activities can be a lot of fun too.

Choosing The Right Weight Loss Regimen

Joining a good weight loss program is an effective way to fight obesity. TLC diet experts advise people to verify the success rate of a program before signing up for it. Success or effectiveness of a weight loss program can be found out be taking into account:

  1. The percentage of people who successfully completed the program.

  2. The percentage of people who experienced problems and side effects (be sure to make note of what those issues were).

  3. The average amount of weight lost by those who completed the program.

  4. Select a program that helps you lose weight slowly. A couple of pounds per week are fine.

  5. The weight loss regimen must be able to accommodate the TLC diet. It must be flexible and enable you to make your food choices according to your palate, cuisine and lifestyle.

  6. The program must be able to offer counseling and guidance to help you cope with your new eating habits and lifestyle under the TLC diet plan.

  7. It should offer sustainable strategies to combat weight gain.


Changing Your Eating Habits with TLC Diet

Studies have shown that a lot depends on how we eat. Here are a few tips to help you eat better.

  • Go for smaller plates. They make your servings and portions look bigger.
  • Research has shown that it takes at least 15 minutes for the message that you have eaten to travel from your stomach to your brain. You may feel like you are still hungry even after you being full. The best solution is to eat slowly. Do not hurry. Savor your food well.
  • Avoid snacking in between meals. It is a major cause of weight gain. If you feel hungry before mealtime, eat something healthy fruits (preferably the whole fruit instead of juice) and fresh or steamed vegetables.
  • Identify the eating triggers. Some activities like watching TV may make you crave a bowl of popcorn. Beware of such temptations. They will only add to your cholesterol and weight problem. TLC diet suggests pairing the activity with another activity to avoid snacking. For example, you can watch TV while doing cardio.
  • Never skip meals. It is counterproductive. It makes you hungrier and you end up overeating.
  • Drink at least 2 liters (8 x 8 ounces) of water every day.
  • Begin your meal with a healthy broth-based soup.
  • Always opt for skinless poultry and lean cuts of meat that have had their fat removed. Also, go fatty fish like salmon and anchovies as these are rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Limit your intake of red meats like beef, pork and venison only once or twice a week.
  • While buying foods, look for low-fat, fat-free, reduced-fat, toned, skimmed, whole wheat, whole grain, high-fiber, low-sodium, low-cholesterol, low-calorie, sugar-free, zero trans fat, calcium-fortified, lean, fatless options.
  • Incorporate reduced-fat salad dressings instead of regular ones. Go for red sauce instead of white and soft margarine instead of hard.
  • Finally, remember to read food labels before making a purchase.

Cautionary note: Just because a food item is labeled as low-fat or reduced-fat or fat-free doesn’t mean it doesn’t contain calories. Many a time, these fat-free varieties have as many calories as the regular varieties. Therefore, take care not to gorge on these as it may increase your total calorie intake rather than decrease it.

For instance, 2 tbsp. of reduced-fat peanut butter contains 187 calories whereas the same portion of the regular version has 191 calories. Likewise, ½ a cup of non-fat vanilla-flavored frozen yoghurt contains 100 calories while the same quantity of regular frozen vanilla yoghurt has 104 calories. So keep an eye out for such minute but significant details.

TCL Diet Low-Calorie Food List - Foods That Help You Lose Weight Faster

Food Substitutes for Faster Weight Loss
In place ofUse
Jack, cheddar, Swiss cheeseLow-calorie or reduced-calorie processed cheese
American cheeseFat-free American cheese
Ramen noodlesSpaghetti, macaroni, rice
Pasta cooked with cheese saucePasta cooked with vegetables
Alfredo white sauce pastaMarinara red sauce pasta
GranolaReduced-fat granola, crispy rice cereals, bran flakes, oatmeal, cooked grits, whole grains like barley
Creamy soupCanned soup made from broth
Gravy made with fat and/or milkGravy made with water or fat-free milk or skimmed fat
Sandwich with avocadoSandwich with cucumber and lettuce
Guacamole dip of beans refried in lardSalsa
Lunch meats or cold cuts like bologna, liverwurst, salami95-97% Fat-free lunch meats, low-fat processed meats and low-fat cold cuts
Sausage and baconLean ham, Canadian bacon
Regular hot dogLow-fat hot dog
Regular ground beefExtra lean ground beef
Beef (chuck, rib, brisket)Round and loin beef with fat removed
CrackersSaltine or low-fat crackers or soda crackers
Croissants, briochesSoft brown and serve rolls, hard French rolls
Pound, yellow and chocolate cakeAngel food cake, white cake and gingerbread
Regular donuts, muffins, pastries, sconesEnglish muffins, low-fat or fat-free bagels, muffins and scones
CookiesLow-calorie, low-fat or reduced-fat whole wheat cookies
NutsFruits, vegetables, light microwave popcorn
Whole milk custard and puddingLow-fat pudding made with skimmed milk
Ice creamFat-free or low-fat frozen yoghurt, sherbet, sorbet, frozen fruit

Eating Out – How to Keep Calorie Intake to a Minimum?

We often tend to overeat while eating out. We gorge on food that we shouldn’t be eating and that’s far from healthy. At social gatherings and during festivals, what with so much delectable food around, it becomes particularly difficult to stick to our diet plan. So here are a few tips to help you stay on track even when you are eating out.

At food joints:

  • When at a restaurant, do not hesitate to make a special request. They are used to these.
  • Go for smaller portions. Fill your plate with more vegetables than meat.
  • Opt for dishes made without sauce, butter or cheese. But if you do want sauce, ask for just a drizzle to be put on the side.
  • Avoid fatty toppings like cheese, bacon and eggs.
  • Ask for soft or liquid margarine instead of hard margarine and butter, although it’s better to avoid it altogether.
  • Choose entrees that are garden fresh, steamed, boiled, poached, roasted, baked, raw or lightly sautéed or stir-fried.
  • At Italian restaurants, ditch the creamy white sauce and go for red sauces, non-creamy primavera, lemon piccata, sun-dried or crushed tomatoes, grilled or lightly sautéed. While ordering pizzas, ask for vegetable toppings instead of cheese and meat. Also request them to use half the amount of cheese they normally use in pizzas.
  • At Chinese restaurants, order dishes that are steamed, kow (roasted, jum (poached) or shu (barbequed). Also request them to not add MSG to your food.
  • At Mexican restaurants, choose salsa or picante, rice, black beans and soft corn tortillas.
  • At fast food joints, oft for salads, medium sized burgers, grilled chicken and roast beef preparations without breading.

At social gatherings:

  • If it is a buffet, take a look at all the entrees and decide which ones you are going to eat.
  • Take smaller portions. Limit your intake of meat and fatty desserts.
  • If it is a potluck dinner, contribute a high-fiber reduced-fat dish. If all the other dishes are greasy and high calorie, you can at least eat your own dish.
  • At social events, stay away from the catering table to avoid snacking.
  • If possible, inform your host beforehand that you are on a low-cholesterol diet and ask them if they could include low-fat foods in the menu.

Metabolic Syndrome: Causes and Cures

Metabolic syndrome (MS) is a cluster of risk factors that increase your chances of developing heart disease and diabetes. The syndrome is not a disease or health condition but a bundle of risk factors that can significantly increase the possibility of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. The level of risk posed by each factor in MS varies from one to the other. Research shows that metabolic syndrome can increase risk of heart disease and diabetes even if the LDL-C level is normal.

The major causes of MS are abdominal obesity (overweight around the waist region) and physical inactivity. MS can also be hereditary. It is further connected to a health condition known as insulin resistance which causes diabetes. Insulin is a hormone occurring naturally in the human body. It helps in converting glucose i.e. sugar into energy. Insulin resistance adversely affects the use of insulin by the body. Due to the recent surge of obesity in the US, today more than a quarter of the population suffers from MS.

Metabolic syndrome is characterized by:

  • Large waist circumference: In women, 35 inches or more. In men, 40 inches or more.
  • Triglyceride level of 150 mg/dL or higher.
  • In women, HDL-C of less than 50 mg/dL, and in men, less than 40 mg/dL.
  • Blood pressure of 130/85 mmHg or higher.
  • Fasting blood pressure of 100 mg/dL or higher.

Changing your lifestyle is the only way to effectively combat MS. This is where the TLC diet enters the picture. It is an effective means of fighting the ill-effects of MS. TLC diet either reduces or reverses the MS risk factors that increase the risk of developing heart disease and diabetes. TLC diet brings the risk factors of MS under control by helping you achieve a balanced BMI through dieting and regular physical activity. So losing weight and becoming more active are two of the core aspects of treating MS.

Additional points:

  • People with MS must consume more of complex carbohydrates and less of simple carbohydrates.
  • They must also restrict their alcohol consumption. Alcohol is laden with calories. It also causes rise in triglycerides and blood pressure. Therefore, for people with MS, it is especially important to watch their alcohol intake.
  • Smoking aggravates MS. It increases triglycerides and lowers HDL-C. So if you have MS, it is very crucial that you either quit smoking altogether or curb it drastically.

If TLC diet and a change in lifestyle fail to reduce the ill-effects of MS risk factors, you may have to see a doctor and take medication. You may have to undergo drug therapy for high blood pressure and low HDL-C.

Making TLC Diet A Way Of Life

TLC diet is not just a remedy for people with high blood cholesterol. It can also be adopted as a preventive measure for maintaining a balanced blood cholesterol level. TLC diet can be followed by anyone who wishes to lead a healthy and active life.

The benefits of TLC diet are far-reaching. It takes a holistic approach towards lowering the risk of heart disease. Its objective is to lower LDL-C and triglycerides increase HDL-C and reduce the risks of metabolic syndrome through a well-balanced diet and regular physical activity.

TLC diet works best when the whole family is involved. Make TLC a family affair. It will be more fun and easier to follow. For instance, if one member falls behind or goes off track, the others can pull them back in through positive reinforcement and support.

Everyone can benefit from TLC. It is never too early or too late to start leading a heart-healthy lifestyle. The only difference is that people who have high cholesterol, will have to follow a stricter and more intense TLC regimen than others who follow it as a preventive action.

Seek your doctor’s and dietician’s advice every six weeks or whenever you feel like you need guidance. If you are working with a physical trainer, follow his advice and exercise routine religiously. These are health experts who can be of great help to you while you follow TLC. They can help you understand your food and weight loss regimen better. They can offer personalized tips to get the most out of your diet and workout schedule. They can also offer valuable guidance on how to keep injuries and sicknesses at bay.

Record Your Progress

Keep regular records of your progress on TLC. Make a chart (see below table) and record important details on a daily basis without fail. It will give you clarity and encourage you to stick to your schedule.

MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturdaySunday
Breakfast
Lunch
Dinner
Activity
Notes

TLC Diet: How To Stay On Track?

Set realistic goals

Changing your lifestyle under TLC can be difficult. That is why it is important that you set realistic and achievable goals. Do not burn yourself out quickly by aiming to high. Smaller targets are easier to achieve. You success will encourage you to keep at it and you can slowly increase your diet’s intensity.

Start easy

In the beginning, go slow. Set smaller goals. If you are not used to physical activity, just try simple tasks like cooking and walking. Avoid strenuous activities in the beginning.

Involve your family/friends

Your family and friends can act as a support mechanism while you are on TLC diet. Through their concerted support and encouragement, they can help you stick to your diet and workout regimen. For example, you can also play a sport together or take a walk or go running together. Your family and friends can also plan or prepare meals that are heart-healthy and low in calories. Your diet can become their diet.

Reward yourself

Do not be too harsh on yourself with respect to your TLC targets. Reward yourself from time to time to keep your morale high. But the reward should not food. It can be a movie or a show you’ve been meaning to watch for a long time or a music concert or simply shopping.

Keep track

As mentioned before, it is important to keep track of your progress. It helps you stay focused and on-track. Maintain a chart to record details on a day to day basis. Analyze the chart data to know how much more you need to achieve in how much time.

Seek guidance from experts

Meet your doctor every six weeks to discuss your progress and future targets. Do not hesitate to ask questions. Get all your doubts cleared. Be open and frank about any issues or discomfort that you might be facing. Also, meet with your dietician (if you have one) and discuss your performance and review your goals. Further, evaluate your weight management progress with your trainer or sports instructor from time to time.


TLC Diet: How To Get Back On Track After A Lapse?

  • Do not worry if you go off-track once in a while – it happens to everyone. What is important is to get back on track without too much delay. Here are a few tips to help you do it.
  • Try to find out the cause of your lapse. Ask yourself why and how it happened. Make note of it and make sure not to repeat it again. In future, steer clear of the factors that made you go off track.
  • Do not worry too much about a lapse. It is normal and it happens to everyone. You are changing your lifestyle. It is a big step. A few mistakes are expected. Just don’t be too laidback.
  • Find out if the reason for your sidetracking was that you burnt yourself out too quickly. If that is the case, lower the intensity of your diet and workout sessions. Take it easy and slow.
  • Make smaller goals. Bigger goals can demoralize you if you fail to achieve them or go off track. Break the diet regimen into smaller targets that are easy to achieve. Then start where you left off.
  • Refer your diet and physical activity chart to understand at which point you faltered and why. Use it plan your future goals better. It will prevent you from falling behind on your routine.
  • Finally, when you get back on track, reward yourself with a non-food reward. It will help you stay motivated and focused.

Conclusion

TLC represents an all-round change in lifestyle for a healthier heart and better overall wellness. It involves a diet of heart-healthy food and a weight management plan through physical activity and exercise. The aim of TLC diet is to fight high blood cholesterol by lowering the level of LDL and increasing the level of HDL cholesterol. It also lowers triglycerides and metabolic syndrome risks. TLC makes your heart stronger by keeping heart disease at bay. It prevents atherosclerosis and fights metabolic syndrome.

TLC is not just a curative measure; it is also a preventive one. It is an organic way of ensuring a healthy heart and a healthy mind. It is beneficial at many levels and can be adopted by whole families as a means to stay fit and healthy.

So make TLC a way of life. It can change your life for the better and help you live a long and healthy life.

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