Diet with a Pacemaker

Hi - I wanted to see if anyone has been on a high protein diet program after getting a pacemaker. I've not been able to lose weight at all and am thinking of going on a diet called OPTAVIA, which is predominantly high protein. Any help is greatly appreciated! I love this group - it has given me a lot of peace of mind, especially since I can't relate to my family or friends about certain things (even though they are very supportive).



Enjoy your food while you lose weight

by Gemita - 2022-06-06 06:31:29


Thank you for your post and I am sorry you are having such a miserable time.  I am sure many of us, perhaps through no fault of our own, are busy trying to control our weight too?

About the Optavia diet, I see it is a high-protein diet, with protein making up to 35% of daily calories. The processed, powdered variety of protein which Optavia contains may cause some unpleasant symptoms because the protein isolate, plus additives could cause bloating and other Gastrointestinal distress.  The FDA does not regulate dietary supplements like shakes and powders for safety and efficacy the same way it does for food, so powders and protein 'blends' may therefore contain undesirable ingredients.

Optavia will not affect your pacemaker, but it might adversely affect your general health and interact with any meds you may be taking for your heart condition. To sum up, the Optavia diet is a low calorie, low carbohydrate, high protein, highly processed diet … and expensive.  Not sure whether those features would attract me to committing to this plan for safe weight loss Champak?  Any restrictive, low calorie diet which may promote rapid weight loss is in my opinion unhealthy and any weight loss achieved may quickly go back on when you resume a normal calorie intake.

Have you considered asking your general doctor for advice or for a referral to a dietician to help you with a safe weight loss diet or to a cardiac physiotherapist to work with you on a safe exercise programme?  Are you able to exercise a little more than usual because balancing food intake with an exercise programme is a healthy and effective way of losing extra pounds slowly, safely and then keeping your weight stable.  If we can expend more energy through exercise, than the energy (fuel) we are taking in from our food (my husband’s diabetic clinic calls it balancing the scales), then most of us will lose weight.  Balancing the scales doesn’t mean we need to cut out completely our favourite foods either, so you can still have those occasional treats, but you just increase your energy expenditure afterwards to compensate for the extra calories.

I am in my 70s, hubby in his 80s.  We both feel better eating fewer carbohydrates these days since carbs, especially highly processed refined carbs like white breads, pasta, rice, can quickly convert to energy and cause weight gain, spiking blood glucose levels in the process.  When we eat carbohydrates, we try to eat complex ones that take longer to hit our blood stream and break down.  These are carbs like whole grain cereals, wholemeal pasta, whole grain rice, wholemeal breads which are slower to release their energy, thereby keeping us feeling satisfied for longer.  We eat protein, mainly in the form of fish, as well as nuts and seeds, pulses like lentils and chick peas. We enjoy chicken, lean cuts of red meat, eggs occasionally too as good protein sources, as well as low fat dairy foods (like yoghurts).  We eat vegetables in abundance and love fruit as well, but please remember fruit contains sugars, some fruits more than others, so limiting certain fruits like cherries, grapes, freshly made fruit juices which are packed full of concentrated goodness…. and calories … is important too!

Our doctors suggested we increase our protein intake, while reducing "portion" sizes of carbohydrates in general.  Enjoy your food while you lose weight safely   

Fasting Windows

by SeenBetterDays - 2022-06-06 08:14:23

Hi Champak

I have tried to revamp my diet since the pacemaker implant.  My approach has been quite radical and probably will not be suitable for everyone.  I suffer with auto immune issues and so have been reading about how certain food groups can be allergenic if you fall into that category.  I have cut out dairy and gluten and increased my intake of healthy protein (oily fish, chicken, occasional red meat), incorporated lots of veg and good fats (such as avocados, olive oil, nuts and seeds).  I have tried to cut back on fruit (as Gemita rightly says as delicious as it is, it contains a lot of sugar) and also alcohol (just a very occasional glass of red wine).  Alcohol is high in calories and not great for heart health in large amounts.  The other strategy for weight loss is to try and eat within a certain time window.  I have stopped now as I don't want to lose more weight but I found if I ate between 10am and 6pm that definitely reduced my weight (there is a lot of research on intermittent fasting and weight loss).  Obviously I wouldn't advocate cutting out any food groups or being too stringent on eating times without proper advice.  You may have specific circumstances or medications which may make this a bad idea.  These are purely things I have tried from a personal perspective and I know that we all have to find out what works best for our individual bodies.  My brother swears by the ketogenic diet where the body runs on fat rather than carbohydrates and he has lost all of his excess weight.  However, it's not an easy diet to implement so might not be what you're looking for.  Gemita offers fantastic advice on a balanced healthy diet coupled with exercise which is what we mostly try to achieve but can be tricky at times.  Good luck with it, I hope you can achieve your target weight loss.  It's really positive that you are taking steps to improve your health.

Keep going



Protein shakes

by LondonAndy - 2022-06-06 13:33:22

I haven't done the Optavia diet, but on a couple of occasions foo periods of 2 months or more at a time, I have used diet meal replacement shakes, which are high protein powders mixed with water or milk. Never occured to me they might have any effect on an electrical device, and they didn't.

Shortcuts and fad diets

by AgentX86 - 2022-06-06 18:34:38

I'm not big on any fads, and that's what the magic diets are.   The fact is that dieting is always calories in/calories out.  High protein meals tend to be low calorie.  Steak is surprisingly low in calories.  The bread and potato that goes with it is where all the calories are. Sugars are about as high calorie as possible for anything you can put in your mouth. 

Now I have to admit that I have a sweet tooth the size of Texas, so am really bad.  Despite eating more carbs than anyone should be allowed, my weight is pretty stable (+/- 5lbs over the last three years). I can only to that because I walk ten miles a day.  Energy in/energy out.

No, I'm not suggesting that anyone eat like  I do. Certainly not.  I'm just saying there is no magic.  You have to keep calories down or exercise up.  Note that exercise will create cravings to repace the sugars burned in the exercise. The body wants to regulate itself but can only do so much.  That's why there are plateaus when losing (or gaining) weight.

Extremes usually don't work

by TLee - 2022-06-06 20:54:09

My dream diet woud be eating anything I want, anytime I want (true for anyone, I would think!). When I get lazy about watching what I eat, that is pretty much what I go back to--I will eat a lot of sweets, lots of starchy goodies, use no portion control, snack at all hours....And I usually end up feeling horrible & bloated, and in need of larger clothes, and that is after only a few days! My first inclination then is to drastically change my diet. I have tried going very high protien, low carb, but I can't get through the first couple weeks of what some call the "keto flu". In my opinion if something makes you feel that bad, it can't be really good for you. I've done meal replacements, whether high protien or not, but they just seem to make me hungrier. I am going to agree with most everyone else, eating a healthy & varied diet is the best approach. In my case, I learned a lot through being forced to follow the "heart healthy" menu during a couple of hospital stays. My hospital had decent food, and it was not too difficut to find things that I liked that kept me under the fat & sodium limiits. I try to use the same method now by reading labels and making substitutions that help keep those numbers down while still giving me something I want to eat. I will admit that I could be better at this (maybe if I was back in the hospital!), and the pounds have not been exactly falling off, but I think it is the best and heathiest long-term plan.

Best diet

by Good Dog - 2022-06-07 08:33:11

First-off, I agree with AgentX86. Losing weight is simply about calories. There is nothing magical or difficult to understand about that. If you want to lose weight, just simply burn more calories than you take in. I once lost 50 pounds and won a contest at work by eating lean cuisine for lunch and dinner while exercising everyday. I loved the concept, because it was easy to count the calories. They are listed on the box. However, health is another matter. Most of those frozen prepared meals are loaded with salt. So I would never recommend them to anyone with blood pressure or heart issues. I too, do not like the fad diets, but I will say, 'it is my opinion" that low-carb diets are perhaps the healthiest if, and it is a big if, you consume healthy fats like salmon and avacado as an example. If you are truly keeping your carbs low, then you do not have to pay much attention to calories. The beauty is that you can get plenty of healthy protein without gaining weight. However, low-carb diets can be tough to stick with. I don know enough about the liquid diets (liquid protein) to say one way or another. 

Perhaps the one common denominator that I have experienced is that if you love to eat, there are no "easy" diets. That is why my weight is like a roller coaster. I am only speaking for myself. If you want to keep the weight off and eat healthy, it requires a long-term dedicated effort and a committment. 

Look for other conditions too as a cause for weight gain

by Gemita - 2022-06-07 09:22:35

Champak, Please remember that many health conditions can lead to weight gain too that will be difficult to manage by calorie restriction alone which is why I feel it is important to consult and work with a professional if weight loss is difficult to achieve.  I am thinking here of a heart, kidney or a liver condition, or an autoimmune condition like hypothyroidism which could lead to weight gain.

healthy diet

by new to pace.... - 2022-06-07 11:00:12

i understand if you are able you should start walking at least 30 minutes a day.  That will help keep the pounds off.  Of course drink plenty of water.

Sometimes the medications you take cause the extra pounds to stay.

for your meals use smaller plates. or eat smaller meals during the day. 

new to pace

Look for other conditions

by AgentX86 - 2022-06-07 14:18:40

This is crucial for all of us, and I don't mean just pacers, everyone. If there is any uneplained weight gain or loss, seek medical attention.  There are many causes, including cancer. Of course, if you're dieting and sticking to it, weight loss can be explained.

Walking, by itself, won't do anything other than keeping you more fit, which is obviously a good thing.  Any exercise will cause the body to demand more food to compensate.  That natural bodily process has to be resisted to lose weight.  It's called a diet. ;-)

RE: Diet with a Pacemaker

by Champak - 2022-06-12 23:51:09

Thanks everyone! I totally agree that these fad diets may have short term weight loss and when you stop the diet, the weight comes back on. Not to mention the cost, like Gemita said. I am a vegetarian to start with and do walk for about an hour, daily,  at least on days where it isnt super hot. [Texas is having some ridiculous temperatures these days]. Will keep trying - but looks like I'm fighting a losing battle :). Eat healthy and stay hydrated - my continuing mantra!


diet fads

by new to pace.... - 2022-06-13 05:40:12

Since you are a veggie keep an eye on the amount of carbs, sugar and salt  you eat also.  I try to keep my carb level at 30 which is quite low.  Salt at less than 150mg.

Those hot days i walk in those box stores or any type will do.  Take a cart and push it around the whole store walking heel to toe.  Do not shop, do that after you walk the whole store.

new to pace


by Bionic Beat - 2022-06-14 16:11:16

I just wanted to add to New To Paces' idea of walking in big box stores.

If you go early morning, they are pretty empty and you can do a few laps of the perimeter without others in your way.  

Some malls have walking clubs as well, free and easy air conditioned walking.

Best Wishes,

Bionic Beat


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