Get your new year off to a healthy start with these 10 resolutions
For New Year’s resolutions even a doctor would approve, look no further than the advice offered by the American Medical Association.
“This is the perfect time of year for each of us to consider our personal goals, and how we can make positive health choices in the coming year,” said AMA President Barbara L. McAneny, M.D. “We encourage everyone to prioritize their long-term health by making small lifestyle changes now that can have a lasting effect in improving their health.”
The AMA’s 10 recommendations for a healthier new year, include the following.
• Learn the risk for type 2 diabetes: Take the self-screening test at doihaveprediabetes.org. Steps taken now can help prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes.
• Be more physically active: Adults should engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity, or 75 minutesof vigorous-intensity activity, per week.
• Know blood pressure numbers: Visit loweryourhbp.org to better understand blood pressure numbers, and take the necessary steps to get high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, under control. Doing so will reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke.
• Reduce intake of processed foods, especially those with added sodium and sugar: Also, reduce consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages, and drink more water instead.
• Take antibiotics exactly as prescribed: Antibiotic resistance is a serious public health problem, and antibiotics will not help those who have a virus, such as a cold or flu.
• If consuming alcohol, do so in moderation as defined by the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans: Up to one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men, and only by adults of legal drinking age.
• Talk with a doctor about tobacco and nicotine use and quit: Also, make your vehicle and home smoke-free to eliminate exposure to secondhand smoke.
• Pain medication is personal: If taking prescription opioids, follow the doctor’s instructions, store them safely to prevent diversion or misuse, and properly dispose of any leftover medication.
• Make sure family members are up-to-date on vaccines: This includes getting the annual influenza vaccine for everyone age six months or older.
• Manage stress: A good diet and daily exercise are key ingredients to maintaining and improving mental health, but don’t hesitate to ask for help from a friend or mental health professional when needed.
For those interested in losing weight in the new year, experts with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advise: “When it comes to weight loss, there’s no lack of fad diets promising fast results. But such diets limit your nutritional intake, can be unhealthy, and tend to fail in the long run. The key to achieving and maintaining a healthy weight isn’t about short-term dietary changes. It’s about a lifestyle that includes healthy eating, regular physical activity, and balancing the number of calories you consume with the number of calories your body uses.”
To help make those resolutions for 2019 stick, the Mayo Clinic offers the following tips.
• Have a specific goal: Having a target weight number and time period to reach that weight are better than saying, “I’d like to lose some weight.”
• Set a realistic goal: With the right program, 50 pounds can be realistic. Ask programs under consideration what their average weight loss among participants is at one year out. Depending on the program and its weight loss approach, smaller, more doable goals may be more appropriate.
• Have a specific plan: Take the time to plan and research. A specific plan should be in place before starting.
• Set a specific target date: It doesn’t have to be the magical “January 1.” It is better to pick a date that has a plan in place for support.
• Think positively: Behavior only changes from the positive. Remember, there are programs to help.
• Confront temptations: Get rid of food that won’t help reach the goal — this should be part of the planning.
• Tell friends: Changing habits for the better may affect one’s inner circle of friends. Share the goal with them, and enlist their help in achieving it.
• Remember the reward: Make a list of the “real” reasons you want to lose weight (your health, your family). When you lack reasons to change, it is easy to fall back into old habits.
• Take backslides in stride: Most people slip up at some point. Those who are successful are the ones who get back on track. Look at how many days are still have left in the calendar year, and see what can be accomplished before the year is up. Don’t give up.
• Commit: Make weight loss a priority — just like a job or a family. Get off the back burner.
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