They’re called ‘January Joiners’ -people who join the gym in January as part of a New Year’s resolution and by February will have disappeared. This nickname is based on the belief that many of us make the hopeful New Year’s resolution to lose weight only to be confronted by harsh realities of actually doing it.
Losing weight, healthier eating and taking better care of yourself are all great goals to have for the New Year but what steps are you going to take to help achieve them? Well, here are a few things that can help.
If you’re asking yourself if you really have to do some exercise, the answer is yes. Exercise and healthy eating are the cornerstones of good health but both of these factors can be difficult hurdles to climb. So we suggest, starting simple. When it comes to exercise, set one or two easy goals that you can stick to. For example, if you’re not usually active then start by walking as a form of exercise. Find time to go for a 30-minute walk at least twice a week. Short, achievable goals are always best. The goal is to keep active. It doesn’t matter what you do, just move.
2) Staying up to date on your general health checks
When was the last time you had a general health checkup? Do you know what your blood pressure is doing? What about your cholesterol? A general health exam is a must-do item for all adults and the older you are the more important they become. In the last 6-8 months have you had?
- An annual physical exam
- Pap smear
- Screening for colorectal cancer
If the answer is no, and you’re due for one of these exams then schedule an appointment soon. Additionally, if you need a little extra help to stop smoking or with diet & nutrition / weight gain, your doctor is a brilliant resource for all of these issues. They can provide you with helpful advice or point you in the right direction of where to get extra help.
3) Reboot your diet
When it comes to healthier eating, there are lots of little changes you can make around the edges. Here are our top tips for small but significant changes that you can make to your diet:
- Reduce your salt intake by cutting down the amount of salt you cook with. Substitute salt with herbs and spices for flavor.
- Substitute ‘red’ meats like beef and pork for chicken and turkey
- Increase your water intake to at least 1L a day
- Try to add a vegetable-side to every dish: Steamed carrots, roasted bell peppers or baked mushrooms are easy side dishes that can brighten up your meals in addition to all the healthy nutrients they contain
- Cut down on take-outs and restaurant meals. Pack your lunch for work when possible
4) Family planning: Thinking of starting a family in 2019?
If you’re thinking of starting a family in the coming year or perhaps extending the one that you have, get ahead by taking care of some pregnancy-related issues now. For example, understand your contraception options and when its time to stop using it, schedule a pre-pregnancy checkup, discuss any current medications that you might be taking and their safety in pregnancy and of course, starting prenatal vitamins.
5) Well-woman exam
A well-woman exam is different from a general check-up. This exam focuses on different elements of gynecological health such as a breast examination, pelvic exam and pap smear. These preventative exams are fully covered by most insurance plans.
6) Stress-busting activities
Stress is unavoidable and it’s particularly easy to become stressed at this time of the year. Excessive amounts of stress can lead to anxiety, fatigue, muscle tension, headaches, sadness or depression. So make time for hobbies, interests, and relaxation. Seek out social support, keep active and of course, eat well.
We hope these tips prove useful and that 2019 is will be a safe, happy and healthier year!