New Year! Healthier You!

Written by Lena Gill, RD, CSO, CD

If you did not make a New Year’s resolution, it is still not too late.  Some people make resolutions on their birthday, but any day will do.  In fact, January 15-21, 2012 is “Healthy Weight Week” which focuses on “A time to celebrate healthy diet-free living habits that last a lifetime and prevent eating and weight problems.”

As we’ve mentioned in previous blog entries, achieving and maintaining a healthy weight has been shown to reduce risk for cancer, diabetes, heart disease and other weight related issues.  Weight loss is at the top of most of our New Year’s Resolutions and it seems to be a recurring goal for most of us year after year.  Let’s make 2012 the year we actually achieve the resolution to lose weight and gain better overall health!  If you are already at your ideal body weight, then make maintaining it your goal.  Either way, the following are some tips I have for those who are trying to eat healthier.

  • Try to make healthy food choices 80% of the time, which gives you some leeway for the remaining 20% of the time.  You can enjoy all foods on a healthy eating plan, but pay attention to how much and how often you select higher calorie, higher fat foods.  Eliminate the word “diet” from your vocabulary and focus on healthy lifestyle patterns.
  • Limit snacks to 2 per day and keep them at the 150 calorie level.  Most nutritious, wholesome snacks fall into the 150 calorie level and can be very filling.  (My favorite snack is ½ cup of cottage cheese with ½ cup canned peaches.)
  • Focus on doing more instead of less.  What I mean by this, is to resolve to EAT MORE fruits and vegetables (instead of telling yourself you WON’T EAT chips), DRINK MORE water (instead of telling yourself to STOP DRINKING pop), and so on.
  • Find an exercise you enjoy and then do it! Aim for 30 minutes per day.  It’s OK to break this time into smaller segments, too.  Exercise improves mood and may be just the ticket to get through the post holiday winter doldrums.
  • Remember:
    • Washing your hands is the best way to prevent the spread of bacteria and viruses.  Make it a goal to wash your hands frequently so you stay your healthiest.
    • Quitting smoking is the single most important thing smokers can do to improve their health.  Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death.  If you smoke, resolve to quit today!
    • Beware of the diet and health New Year’s resolution spoilers!  AICR has some good solutions to whatever may befall your best efforts to achieve a healthier lifestyle this year.

What is your health related resolution for 2012?  If you are already at your healthy weight, do you have some tips to share with others who are just getting started in their healthier lifestyle endeavors?  Any struggles you’d like help with? We’d love to hear from you!


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