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New Year’s Health ‘Re-Solutions’

The first quarter of 2016 is almost over, and chances are you did not stick to your New Year’s resolutions.  Don’t fret, use this as a time to make your resolutions into “RE-solutions”.

A healthy lifestyle is most important - this means living healthy, eating healthy, exercising and making good choices in your life. Don’t get hung up on the numbers on the scale. Fitting into that dress from 2 years ago, or those pants you wore last year is not necessarily as important as living your life in a healthful way.

A healthy lifestyle means a healthy diet. This means six or more portions of fresh fruits and vegetables, and taking in good fats and lean protein. Try to limit the intake of salt and sugar in at least 90% of your meals  (this will help to lose weight too), and stay away from bad fats.

Drinking only moderate amounts of alcohol is acceptable, which means no more than one alcoholic beverage daily for women or two for men.

Near daily exercise is important in a healthy lifestyle. This includes a combination of aerobic exercise, - light or moderate weight resistant, and stretching.  

Avoid prolonged or unnecessary use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (‘NSAIDs’).

If you smoke - stop immediately. The effects of smoking are dangerous and do not lend to a healthy lifestyle.

The practice of a healthy lifestyle should be coupled with monitoring blood pressure and LDL cholesterol (with the help of your doctor) and with keeping your wellness visit appointments.

Losing weight as a new year’s resolution is a cliché. Losing that extra 5, 10, or 15 pounds is not as important as the consistent practice of a healthy lifestyle (and keeping your blood pressure and LDL cholesterol low). Weight loss can be difficult-if not impossible- to achieve and the struggle to lose weight may be a frustrating uphill battle. If it turns into  a daily nightmare it can make you feel worthless and give up on your health altogether. The best part is if you institute and follow a near-daily practice of a healthy lifestyle... very often over time, you will find you lose that extra weight.

Here is a list of “RE-Solutions”:

If you smoke, quit. Daily exercise and a perfect diet won’t come even close to offering you the health benefits of quitting smoking. Smoking can destroy your arteries (giving you heart attacks and strokes) and your lungs (causing emphysema) and contribute to an assortment of cancers.  Smoking is essentially negating all the other healthy choices you are making.

If you have high blood pressure, eliminate salt from your diet.  Take your medications, and monitor your blood pressure at home, aiming at the blood pressure goals that your physician recommends for you (less than 140/90 mm Hg, or even lower, depending on your medical history).

If you are diabetic, do whatever it takes to keep your A1c at the level your physician recommends (around 7% or even lower, again depending on your unique health circumstances). Monitor your blood sugar and blood pressure at home and discuss with your doctor whether a statin is appropriate for you.

If you have high cholesterol, eat at least six portions of fresh fruits and vegetables a day. Take in the good fats, that can be found in the forms of fish, olive oil, unsalted nuts, or dark chocolate. Discuss with your doctor whether medications are necessary.

If you are overweight or obese, eat a healthy diet and exercise at least five times a week. Exercise should including not only aerobic but also resistance and stretching exercises.  Do not smoke, do not drink more than moderate amounts of alcohol, make your home as sugar-free as possible, and keep your blood pressure and LDL cholesterol low (with the help of your physician). If your obesity has already caused significant health problems, discuss with your doctor about bariatric surgery and obesity-treating medications.

Remember: it is what we do on most of our days that counts. Good health is built or destroyed, one day at a time.

Don’t get hung up on that scale, and remember each journey starts with one step. So make that first step today and start toward a healthy lifestyle. So what if it’s not January? So you broke your resolution? This is your “do-over” , your mulligan, your chance to start again!  Make the decision today to hit the reset button and start that healthy lifestyle.  Have a most healthy (rest of )  2016!