RESOLUTION: A HEALTHIER NEW YEAR

Resolution: A Healthier New Year

Every January 1, you make a New Year’s resolution that this will be the year you get healthy, only to lose motivation by March. You’re not alone! But you can turn your goals for a healthier you into reality.

Set realistic goals

Hate running? Setting a goal of running a 5K is probably not the goal for you. If you don’t enjoy what you’re doing, your resolve is likely to crumble quickly. Similarly, restricting yourself from eating the foods you enjoy will only make you want those foods more. Set a series of small, realistic goals and create a plan to reach them. You’ll get there!

See your doctor!

How long has it been since you’ve seen your doctor? Before beginning any new diet or exercise program, it is a good idea to get an annual physical. You’ll have your blood pressure checked, follow up on any tests or vaccines you need, and discuss ways to stay healthier.

Many people, especially men, put doctors’ visits on the back burner (men make 130 million fewer visits than women to the doctor each year1). It is important for everyone to see their doctor at least once a year and to see their doctor immediately should an issue arise. Sprained wrist? Changing mole? Blood in your stool? Deep sadness lasting more than a couple of weeks? Don’t wait – call your doctor.1,2

Resolve to be a healthier you

Whether you plaster your Facebook feed with daily updates on your progress or you’re not one to publicly declare a New Year’s resolution, you should strive to be a healthier version of you in the new year!

Whatever you do, just move

Yoga, spinning, hiking, put on your favorite tunes and dance in your living room – whatever you do, make it a goal to move more. Don’t be afraid to mix it up, too. Try snowshoeing, hiking, swimming, a dance class with your partner – even building a snowman can be a good cardio workout! Having fun is the best way to ensure you will keep being active all year long. 

Slow and steady wins the race

It’s the time of year for TV commercials touting prepackaged diet plans, gym memberships…and how many online posts about the latest can’t-miss fad diet have you scrolled by already? Save yourself from a month of deprivation and/or eating the strange concoctions your sister’s best friend’s cousin’s aunt swore worked for her! Trying to abruptly and completely overhaul what you eat is a recipe for disaster. Instead, make small changes one at a time.

Drink too much soda? Start by replacing one glass a day with water and work up from there until you gradually drink less and less. Can’t live without French fries? Don’t eliminate them from your diet but do try cutting your usual portion in half. Always eating on the go? Make sure you have healthy foods that you can grab on your way out the door to avoid the fast food drive-thru later. Little changes will add up over time.

You know what you should eat, but what about how to eat? Eating mindfully means paying attention to your food while you eat it. Taking the time to savor your food may help you be more emotionally satisfied by it and more aware of your body’s needs.3

  • Slow down. Really smell, taste, and chew your food before swallowing it.
  • Avoid distractions. Put down the smart phone and turn off the TV to put your full attention on the meal at hand.
  • Small plates. Using smaller plates helps with portion control.
  • Leave the food in the kitchen. Keep serving bowls in the kitchen so that you have to think twice before going back for seconds.
  • Put the fork down! To help you slow down, put your fork or spoon down in between bites.4

Take time for you

Stress can wreak havoc on your health. Taking time for yourself, whether it is to schedule regular “meetings” on your calendar for a quick workout or simply powering off the electronics and going to bed a little earlier (admit it, you’re not really getting the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep each night, are you?), is important for your physical and mental health.2

Turn off the phone and take a walk in the park, listen to music, read a good book, try that new recipe you cut out of the magazine but never got around to trying…in this age of constantly being connected, taking a break from electronics can help ease anxiety and stress, resulting in a healthier you.5

Give yourself a break

So, you intended to stop at one but ended up eating the entire bag of cookies? Don’t beat yourself up over it. Tomorrow is another day, and you have the power to make it a healthier one.

New year, new you

Whatever changes you wish to make in 2019, making this the year you will be more present for yourself and those you love is one New Year’s resolution worth keeping!

Health Mart. Caring for you and about you.   

Nothing herein constitutes medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, or is a substitute for professional advice. You should always seek the advice of your physician or other medical professional if you have questions or concerns about a medical condition.

Sources:

  1. WebMD: “5 Healthy New Year’s Resolutions for Men.” Available at: https://www.webmd.com/men/features/5-healthy-new-years-resolutions-for-men#1 Accessed 12-4-17.
  2. Drexel Medicine: “How to Realistically Achieve 5 Common New Year’s Resolutions.” Available at: http://www.drexelmedicine.org/patient-services/primary-care/more-about-primary-care/how-to-realistically-achieve-5-common-new-years-resolutions/ Accessed 12-4-17.
  3. Self: “5 Healthy New Year’s Resolutions That Are Easy To Keep.” Available at: https://www.self.com/gallery/easy-healthy-new-years-resolutions Accessed 12-4-17.
  4. Self: “12 Mindful Eating Tips That Will Change Your Relationship With Food.” Available at: https://www.self.com/story/mindfulness-healthy-eating-weight-loss Accessed 12-4-17.
  5. Forbes: “10 Health-Related New Year’s Resolutions To Try.” Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/robertglatter/2016/12/31/top-10-health-related-new-years-resolutions/#447941ff3c3f Accessed 12-4-17iStock-638981580
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Protect Yourself from the Sun

Protect Yourself from the Sun

Did you know that skin cancer rates are on the rise in the U.S., where it is the most common type of cancer?1 It’s no wonder. Just in the past year alone, one-third of the adult population has been sunburned at least once. And that lobster-red look is a clear sign of exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays—a known cause of skin cancer, which can impact any age, gender, or race.1,2

Risks of tanning. But you’re not off the hook if you stop at tanning. That’s your body’s response to sun injury.1 When you tan—either outdoors or indoors—you increase your risk of melanoma—the deadliest form of skin cancer. You also increase your risk of:

  • Premature skin aging—wrinkles and age spots
  • Damaged skin texture
  • Potentially blinding eye diseases1

Here’s the silver lining in this gloomy cloud: Avoiding the sun’s UV rays is one of the best ways to prevent skin cancer.1

General guidelines. You probably know the drill, but it bears repeating:

  1. Seek shade and stay out of the sun, if you can, when UV rays are strongest—from 10 am to 4 pm.
  2. Be extra careful at higher altitudes where skin burns faster.
  3. Limit exposure to water, sand, snow, and concrete—surfaces that reflect light.
  4. Use sun protection even on cloudy days, when certain types of UV rays can be stronger.
  5. Rely on diet and supplements to get your vitamin D, not the sun.2,3

Sunscreen. Don’t use a product that combines sunscreen and insect repellant. Reapplying it will expose you to too much of the repellent’s ingredients. Also, avoid spray tans and bronzers—they won’t protect your skin from UV rays.4

Do choose sunscreens that:

  • Block both UVA and UVB rays.
  • Are labeled with sun protection factor (SPF) 30 or higher.
  • Are water resistant—they’re more protective when you sweat.
  • Are products you will use consistently. Generally, creams are best for dry skin and the face, gels work well for hairy areas, and sticks are easier to apply near eyes. Mineral-based sunscreens—such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide—work well if you have sensitive skin.2,3

Wear sunscreen every day, even if you plan to be outside a short time. For best results, apply it generously 15 to 30 minutes before you go outside to all exposed areas—don’t forget your feet and ears. (A lip balm works best for your lips.) Always reapply after swimming or sweating and about every two hours or as often as the package suggests.2,3

Sun-protective clothing. In addition to sunscreen, wear clothing that can better protect you such as:

  • A hat with a wide brim. This works better than a baseball cap or visor for shielding your whole face from the sun.
  • Sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays.
  • Long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
  • Loose-fitting, unbleached, tightly woven fabrics.
  • Special clothing that absorbs UV rays.3

Don’t forget to protect those parts of your body that may be in constant sunlight— your nose, forehead, and eyes.  Questions about sun-protection products or other ways to protect your family in the sun? Remember, I’m right here—your ready resource.

Nothing herein constitutes medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, or is a substitute for professional advice.  You should always seek the advice of your physician or other medical professional if you have questions or concerns about a medical condition.

 

Sources:

  1. CDC: “The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Prevent Skin Cancer.” Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/skin/pdf/consumer-booklet.pdf Accessed 6-6-17.
  2. American Academy of Dermatology: “Sunscreen FAQs.” Available at: https://www.aad.org/media/stats/prevention-and-care/sunscreen-faqs Accessed 6-6-17.
  3. MedlinePlus: “Sun Protection.” Available at: https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000378.htm Accessed 6-6-17.
  4. FDA: “5 Tips for a Healthy Vacation.” Available at: https://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm389469.htm Accessed 6-6-17.