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Make this the year you actually achieve your health goals with these five tips.
This is it, 2012. The year all your meals are healthy, you exercise every day, you lose the extra pounds, you get your stress under control and you quit smoking, right?
Hold on. Those are all admirable goals. But try to tackle everything at once and you’ll burn out within weeks, left with nothing but a wilted head of lettuce in your fridge and an unused gym membership. To build healthy habits that stick, David Tobias, M.D., a family medicine specialist on the medical staff at Baylor Regional Medical Center at Plano, offers these tips.
1. Think lifestyle change, not diet. A diet—following a strict eating plan for a fixed length of time—will likely work while it lasts. But afterward, most people return to their old ways of eating and regain the pounds they shed. Instead, you need to regularly reach for plums instead of potato chips and seltzer instead of soda.
2. Know what you eat. To lose weight, you need to know which calories to cut, whether they’re in the bagel left behind in the conference room or your daily vanilla latte. Keep a food journal for a week or two and see where your problem areas lie, then trim those extra calories.
3. Make exercise fun. Most people have full schedules, so exercise comes at the expense of something else. Make it less of a sacrifice by upping the fun factor with exercise DVDs, games such as Wii Fit™ , workouts with a buddy, or if you like sports, start exercising by participating in sports activities that you enjoy such as playing basketball, tennis, etc.
4. Stay a step ahead of stress. Stress can sabotage your good-health efforts, so watch for symptoms such as headaches, back pain or anxiety. Exercise, hot tubs, saunas, massage therapy, faith, meditation and laughter can help minimize the effects of stress.
5. Banish the cigarettes. No matter how long you’ve smoked, when you quit you begin to add years to your life. Many people succeed after several attempts at quitting, so keep trying.
Find a Good Health Partner
To learn more about setting good-health goals, talk to your doctor. For a referral to a physician on the Baylor Plano medical staff, call 1-800-4BAYLOR or visit BaylorHealth.com/Plano.
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