I am 5′ 1″, 48 years old, and weigh 193 lbs. (I have just lost 17 lbs.) I have high blood pressure, cholesterol and sugar diabetes. I am on Capoten and have the blood pressure under control. I need to know how many calories per day I can consume to continue to lose weight. I am not very active and my frame is large. Also can you tell me how much sodium my mother should be limited to. She is 72 and has had open heart surgery. After which she had a major heart attack. She has about 1/3 of the use of her heart left. She has been told to restrict her sodium. (She has had 2 congestive heart failure attacks in one year). How much sodium and where to find low / no sodium foods?

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    Congrats on the recent weight loss!

    Have you tried the Healthy Body Calculator® yourself to see how many calories you need to lose weight? You can customize your results by choosing the percent fat calories you want or whether to lose 1 or 2 pounds per week. I doubt that you have a large frame considering your height, but you can check that out with the calculator also by measuring your elbow width.

    You didn’t ask about your high blood pressure, cholesterol or blood sugar, but weight loss should help bring those levels under better control. Another thing you can do for yourself is exercise 30 minutes 5 days a week. Choose an exercise you like and ask a friend to join you.

    If your mom has had 2 congestive heart failure attacks in one year, she does need a sodium restricted diet. Usually, persons with CHF follow a 1 gm sodium diet, but her doctor may want her on a lesser amount of sodium (i.e. 500 mg). What that means is you don’t cook with salt or use it at the table. Also, canned food is not allowed other than fruit. Salted and brined foods are also high in sodium. You don’t necessarily need to buy low sodium foods other than possibly condiments or salad dressings, canned soups, etc. which you should be able to find in your local grocery store in the “dietetic” section. A dietetic food is not necessarily salt free. It may mean sugar free or that one other ingredient has been changed from the “regular” food. The best would be to cook everything fresh and from raw ingredients so you avoid not only added salt, but also hidden sources of sodium.

    I would suggest you contact a registered dietitian who can read your mom’s medical chart to recommend a specific amount. Call the clinic where your mom’s doctor practices and ask to make an appointment with a dietitian.