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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Overweight? All Is Not Lost!

Overweight? All Is Not Lost!

Need to shed 15 or 25 pounds? Try this trick: Pick up a 15- or 25-pound turkey in the grocery store (or a bag of soil at the nursery). Then carry it around for a few minutes. Did you find it tough to do? Extra pounds take a toll, don’t they? But weight gain is often such a gradual process that you might not even realize it’s happening.1

Sadly, more and more people are dying from weight-related health problems. This includes high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and other conditions. In 2015, 40 percent of 4 million deaths linked to weight were in people who weren’t even considered obese, just overweight.2 And for those who gain more, the risks are even greater. For example, 44 extra pounds in midlife increases your risk of type 2 diabetes by 10 times.1 There’s an emotional toll as well. A recent study found that heavy kids faced three times the risk of depression in adulthood.3

Okay, enough of the scary statistics. I’m here to also say that even small changes can make a big difference. For example, did you know that losing just 7 percent of your body weight can cut your risk of diabetes by 60 percent?4

So what can you do? As I’m sure you’re aware, there’s no shortage of weight-loss tips out there. Here are a few backed by recent research:

  • Weigh yourself regularly, especially during times of life transition, such as pregnancy or marriage. See the number going up? Nip that trend in the bud before it gets even harder to do.1
  • Down water instead of other drinks. Following 16,000 adults, researchers found that drinking a glass of water instead of a beer every day reduced the risk of obesity by 20 percent. Substituting water for sugar-sweetened drinks lowered the risk by 15 percent.5
  • Be wary of artificially sweetened drinks, though. Among 1,000 subjects in seven clinical trials, aspartame, saccharin, and sucralose showed no major weight-loss benefits. In fact, data from 30 observational studies involving 400,000 people showed a link between artificial sweeteners and obesity. These kinds of studies, however, can’t prove a cause-and-effect relationship.6
  • “Keep on walking, keep on walking,” to paraphrase Dory from Finding Nemo. A global study looked at “activity gaps” and found that waistlines have widened in places where walking rates have declined.7 The great thing about this activity is that nearly everyone can do it. And it doesn’t cost much, just the price of a good pair of shoes. On your walks, you can also try a few quick bursts of fast walking or running to burn extra calories.8
  • Get enough sleep. This link might be something you don’t think much about. But studies have shown a lack of sleep may contribute to obesity.

Of course, it goes without saying that you need to focus on healthy food choices, too. Eat more vegetables, fruits, lean meats, fish, and nonfat dairy products. And don’t tempt fate. Keep sugary, starchy foods out of your house, if you can.8

If lifestyle changes aren’t quite enough to be effective, your doctor may prescribe a medication or other measures. As you know, I’d be glad to share my insights. Good luck!

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. HealthDay: “More Evidence That Midlife Weight Gain Harms Your Health.” Available at: https://medlineplus.gov/news/fullstory_167272.html Accessed 8-2-17.
  2. HealthDay: “2 Billion Worldwide Are Obese or Overweight.” Available at: https://medlineplus.gov/news/fullstory_166514.html Accessed 8-2-17.
  3. HealthDay: “Heavy Kids Face Triple the Odds for Depression in Adulthood.” Available at: https://medlineplus.gov/news/fullstory_165743.html Accessed 8-2-17.
  4. WebMD: “Weight and Diabetes: Lose Pounds to Lower Your Risk.” Available at: http://www.webmd.com/diabetes/features/diabetes-weight-loss-finding-the-right-path#1 Accessed 8-2-17.
  5. HealthDay: “Drink Water, Fight Fat?” Available at: https://medlineplus.gov/news/fullstory_165714.html Accessed 8-2-17.
  6. HealthDay: “Could Artificial Sweeteners Raise Your Odds for Obesity?” Available at: https://medlineplus.gov/news/fullstory_167249.html Accessed 8-2-17
  7. NHLBI: “Treatment.” Available at: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/obe/treatment Accessed 8-2-17.
  8. WebMD: “Lose Weight Fast: How to Do It Safely.” Available at: http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/lose-weight-fast-how-to-do-it-safely#1 Accessed 8-2-17.

Overweight? All Is Not Lost!

Overweight? All Is Not Lost!

Need to shed 15 or 25 pounds? Try this trick: Pick up a 15- or 25-pound turkey in the grocery store (or a bag of soil at the nursery). Then carry it around for a few minutes. Did you find it tough to do? Extra pounds take a toll, don’t they? But weight gain is often such a gradual process that you might not even realize it’s happening.1

Sadly, more and more people are dying from weight-related health problems. This includes high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and other conditions. In 2015, 40 percent of 4 million deaths linked to weight were in people who weren’t even considered obese, just overweight.2 And for those who gain more, the risks are even greater. For example, 44 extra pounds in midlife increases your risk of type 2 diabetes by 10 times.1 There’s an emotional toll as well. A recent study found that heavy kids faced three times the risk of depression in adulthood.3

Okay, enough of the scary statistics. I’m here to also say that even small changes can make a big difference. For example, did you know that losing just 7 percent of your body weight can cut your risk of diabetes by 60 percent?4

So what can you do? As I’m sure you’re aware, there’s no shortage of weight-loss tips out there. Here are a few backed by recent research:

  • Weigh yourself regularly, especially during times of life transition, such as pregnancy or marriage. See the number going up? Nip that trend in the bud before it gets even harder to do.1
  • Down water instead of other drinks. Following 16,000 adults, researchers found that drinking a glass of water instead of a beer every day reduced the risk of obesity by 20 percent. Substituting water for sugar-sweetened drinks lowered the risk by 15 percent.5
  • Be wary of artificially sweetened drinks, though. Among 1,000 subjects in seven clinical trials, aspartame, saccharin, and sucralose showed no major weight-loss benefits. In fact, data from 30 observational studies involving 400,000 people showed a link between artificial sweeteners and obesity. These kinds of studies, however, can’t prove a cause-and-effect relationship.6
  • “Keep on walking, keep on walking,” to paraphrase Dory from Finding Nemo. A global study looked at “activity gaps” and found that waistlines have widened in places where walking rates have declined.7 The great thing about this activity is that nearly everyone can do it. And it doesn’t cost much, just the price of a good pair of shoes. On your walks, you can also try a few quick bursts of fast walking or running to burn extra calories.8
  • Get enough sleep. This link might be something you don’t think much about. But studies have shown a lack of sleep may contribute to obesity.

Of course, it goes without saying that you need to focus on healthy food choices, too. Eat more vegetables, fruits, lean meats, fish, and nonfat dairy products. And don’t tempt fate. Keep sugary, starchy foods out of your house, if you can.8

If lifestyle changes aren’t quite enough to be effective, your doctor may prescribe a medication or other measures. As you know, I’d be glad to share my insights. Good luck!

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. HealthDay: “More Evidence That Midlife Weight Gain Harms Your Health.” Available at: https://medlineplus.gov/news/fullstory_167272.html Accessed 8-2-17.
  2. HealthDay: “2 Billion Worldwide Are Obese or Overweight.” Available at: https://medlineplus.gov/news/fullstory_166514.html Accessed 8-2-17.
  3. HealthDay: “Heavy Kids Face Triple the Odds for Depression in Adulthood.” Available at: https://medlineplus.gov/news/fullstory_165743.html Accessed 8-2-17.
  4. WebMD: “Weight and Diabetes: Lose Pounds to Lower Your Risk.” Available at: http://www.webmd.com/diabetes/features/diabetes-weight-loss-finding-the-right-path#1 Accessed 8-2-17.
  5. HealthDay: “Drink Water, Fight Fat?” Available at: https://medlineplus.gov/news/fullstory_165714.html Accessed 8-2-17.
  6. HealthDay: “Could Artificial Sweeteners Raise Your Odds for Obesity?” Available at: https://medlineplus.gov/news/fullstory_167249.html Accessed 8-2-17
  7. NHLBI: “Treatment.” Available at: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/obe/treatment Accessed 8-2-17.
  8. WebMD: “Lose Weight Fast: How to Do It Safely.” Available at: http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/lose-weight-fast-how-to-do-it-safely#1 Accessed 8-2-17.