Have you written down your New Year’s Resolutions yet? This is a great time to reset your life and make this your best year ever. And what better time to take charge of your health! It is like getting a chance to wipe your slate clean and start anew. If you made resolutions last year but did not keep them, forget about that. This is a New Year!
Rather than just making a list of Do’s and Don’ts, I suggest you look first at what you want to achieve for the year. Then you can break those goals down into attainable targets. Also, I suggest you try to keep things positive rather than negative. That gives you something to look forward to rather than something you dread. Here are just some suggestions:
#1 Cook more meals at home.
You can create whatever you want with this. For example, you could have your own “Taco Tuesdays” at home or “Friday Grill & Pub Night”. Or you could assign days of the week to some cuisine at home such as every Wednesday is Italian night. When you make your meals at home, you can make them a lot healthier than a fast-food restaurant. Besides, you can then use the money you save from not eating a lot at fast-food restaurants and instead eat out once-in-awhile at a very nice restaurant. Additionally, we highly recommend the Paleo Diet because we have seen the best health results with this way of eating. They have great recipes too.
#2 Drink more water.
If you don’t like drinking water, this could seem like a goal you will dread and possibly not keep. But you can make water taste a lot better when you add electrolytes (without sugar), or experiment with new teas until you find some you really like. You could drink sugarless carbonated water and add a little lime or lemon to make it more tasteful.
#3 Eat healthier snacks.
Unfortunately, we are surrounded by unhealthy snacks. When you first walk into a grocery store you see the displays of potato chips, crackers, alcohol, etc. Commercials don’t usually advertise eating an apple, carrots, or celery for a snack! A tip is to keep the junk food snacks out of your home so you do not even have to resist them. Stock up on fruits, vegetables, and nuts. If you need ideas, Eat This, Not That! website offers some great substitutions for unhealthy snacks.
#4 Exercise daily
We have said this many times and we cannot say it enough, “You cannot outrun your fork!” No matter how well you eat, if you do not regularly exercise your chances of achieving or maintaining an ideal weight is slim. Moreover, the lack of exercise leads to a loss of muscle mass. This in turn brings on other body problems such as skeletal, cognitive, and organ malfunction.
So the question is what motivates you to exercise? Maybe it’s listening to some great music while you work out. Maybe you are the outdoor type and you like to play sports. Or, you have started tracking your steps and are trying to reach a goal. It is important to do the things you enjoy or find ways to make your exercise more enjoyable. Even during COVID, you can exercise with friends using Zoom. You can also set smaller goals that lead up to your yearly goal. For example, if you have not been exercising at all, start out doing 20 minutes a day, then 30, and so on.
#5 Get enough rest.
This just might be one of the toughest ones of all. We live in a hectic, competitive world and many of us have learned to “burn the midnight oil” to be successful. Success is an important goal, but what will success be if your body is tired, run-down, and ill? There is a reason the recommended sleep time is 8 hours a day. Your body rejuvenates itself while you sleep. During this time, many biological processes happen such as:
- The brain stores new information and gets rid of toxic waste.
- Nerve cells communicate and reorganize, which supports healthy brain function.
- The body repairs cells, restores energy, and releases molecules like hormones and proteins.
In an article from the SleepFoundation.org they give detailed ideas of how to get better sleep through the following key points:
- Creating a Sleep-Inducing Bedroom
- Optimizing Your Sleep Schedule
- Crafting a Pre-Bed time Routine
- Fostering Pro-Sleep Habits During the Day.
You may not consider yourself in charge of your life. But think of it this way, you are actually the C.E.O. of your life and that includes your health. The better you do your job, the healthier you will be. This doesn’t mean you cannot get help from others to live healthily. That’s why we at Carolina Rehab and Physical Medicine Center are here. But you are the one in the driver’s seat. Use this New Year to fully take charge and make this your best year ever! You can do this!
We wish you a prosperous and healthy New Year!
Dr. J. Craig Strickland, DC
Carolina Rehab and Physical Medicine Center
1211 48th Ave N
Little River, SC 29577