Christmas 2014 is in the rear view now and you are making your plan for health in 2015. And if you wonder what professionals like me, a Registered Dietitian, discuss with their personal clients, allow me to provide a few key thoughts.
Unlike what the prolific media will tell you in so many formats whether in print magazines, on-line “resources”, television news, television infomercials, etc., body weight matters but it is not the only piece of your health picture that you should bring into focus. There exists a growing body of evidence that reports that it is possible to be moderately overweight (not obese) and still enjoy a healthy life. The best way to know if you are in this category while carrying a few extra pounds is to know your total heath picture. And the only way to know how healthy or not you are, is to access preventive care through your physician according to the guidelines established for your age group and gender. For example, if you are over 50 and have not had a screening colonoscopy, it is time to “get your rear in gear” and access this life saving screening.
In conversations with my clients, I remind them that the best source of health information for them is their family history. Have you had a conversation with your parents or siblings about their health and what issues they may be dealing with? Do you know what illness plagues your family tree? Is it heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure etc? With this information, your family physician can better help you to understand your risks. Importantly, you must know your health risks because you cannot escape your genetics but you can optimize your genetics and live a longer, healthier life than your ancestors did.
Your Plan For Health In 2015: One Step At A Time
What does this mean for you? If multiple people in your family have diabetes, this is a risk for you and you should guard against developing the disease. If you are overweight, it is time to bring your weight back to normal levels. If you know that you do not move enough (that’s code for never exercising), time to get moving. Movement matters and if you need a list of activities that you can do that will not feel like a chore, watch for an upcoming list.
Now how do you get started to make the changes that you know that you need to make? My best wisdom is simply this, and it is borne out of my experience with people who have succeeded with my support. Pick ONE change to make and do it! No talking about goals, no talking about tomorrow. Make that ONE change that you can sustain over time. Maybe this is the year that you change what you drink between meals. One of the most successful strategies that my clients use is just that; they change from soda of any kind to a flavored water for example if plain water just does not work. And across time, they report that one change is sustainable and they feel much better.
But that is just ONE change suggestion. Your ONE change may be different and more suitable for you. Worried about having strong bones as you age? Add back dairy to your diet. Worried about gaining more weight as you age? Watch that sugar intake. Worried about developing diabetes? Keep your weight and activity in check. Worried about high blood pressure? Keep salt and sodium in check.
You can be a healthier you this year. As the Nike slogan reads, “just do it”. And here is a 2015 New Year’s toast 2Your Health!!