Do you remember January 1st, 2016….seems like a distant memory now. Remember the New Year’s resolutions you made? Have you kept them? Most people would say - no, I gave up on it about March (maybe May if you were “good”)! Well, it is never too late to start again!
The struggle to lose weight, quit smoking, eat healthy and exercise is a lifelong one. It is not hundred meters dash; it’s a marathon. So, setbacks are to be expected and need to be dealt with in a pragmatic way, without overreacting or completely abandoning your efforts to become a healthier person.
Don’t let the calendar dictate your promises or your failures. As your health and personal well-being should be at the top of your list of most important things in your life, you need to be determined to stand up after every fall and never accept defeat. Sometimes, all you need is that little push to get you going again. If, for example, you used to eat unhealthy every day of the week, aim at a healthy Tuesday; that’s a real progress. Once you conquer this first step you can add another day, allowing yourself your old-style unhealthy binge on the rest of the week. Capitalizing on your positive psychology of eating healthy on certain days, it is very likely that, over time, you will be able to eat healthy most days of the week. One healthy day is better than none! There is a quarter of the year left, enough time to prove you can really improve to yourself and achieve your initial goal.
Let’s talk about diet: if you can only eat five or more portions of fruits and vegetables a day and cut out sugar (especially sugary soda), even if you also eat some junk food, you have made a big step forward. Then, try to eat lean meat and the good fats (olive oil, fish, nuts), and prefer fresh non-GMO foods over processed food. Control your calorie intake, as too many of the bad carbs or even the good fats, can lead to belly fat or abdobesity. This can lead to a whole host of problems down the road (diabetes, heart attacks, stroke, to mention but a few).
Also, take advantage of your “wellness” visits to your primary care doctor. Most plans require no copay for these visits. If you have not made that doctor’s appointment that you meant to do- do it now! Many insurance companies have a flex fund or HSA account where money is put aside, and if you don't use it, often you lose it. So put that money to use and make your health a priority. A wellness visit can unmask a high blood pressure or cholesterol, prediabetes or diabetes and start you on the right path towards health.
Exercise usually ranks high on New Year’s resolutions. With summer, and vacation and work and kids and,and, and….well you see where this is going. It is easy to fall off the workout wagon. But climb back on. Pretend the calendar says 1/1 again! Get to the gym, grab a friend or your spouse and start a walking routine (and light weight training every other day-muscles improve your metabolism), check around to find home exercise equipment that someone ELSE is now selling after buying it last Christmas! Make their loss your gain. Consider buying a standing or a treadmill desk and use it at work. It is a waste of precious time and opportunity if we spend all our working hours sitting; we get the “sitting disease’, as many scientists now call it-contributing to obesity, muscle wasting, diabetes, high blood pressure and more.
If your resolution was to stop smoking and you haven’t ... please consider stopping now. There are several smoking cessation tools, including groups and/or medication to help. Ask your doctor to help you quitting. Be aware, though, that if you are not really determined to quit, no nicotine patches or gums, no Wellbutrin and no Chantix will get the job done.
Make today your “new year” day and get in gear! If you do this, by December 31st, you will not need to make as many resolutions.
To your health!