Most people have good intentions when making annual New Year’s resolutions and then slide back into old habits. Make 2020 the year you’re going to keep your resolution to live a healthier life and consider the guidelines below.
Learn a Little
“When it comes to understanding your own health, it’s important to be proactive. Consider seeing your physician to check your health status and discuss your risk for certain conditions and diseases,” says Tasneem Yakoob, M.D., a board-certified Internal Medicine physician at Kelsey-Seybold’s new Cypress Clinic located at 13105 Wortham Center Drive.
If you don’t have a primary care physician, the time to select one is now. Commit to learning more and staying informed about your body and health this year. Dr. Yakoob recommends setting goals to:
- Know your numbers. Check your blood pressure, cholesterol level, blood sugar if needed, body mass index (BMI), and other key measurements.
- Schedule preventive health screenings. These can help detect and properly treat illnesses like heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer in early stages. Ask your physician which tests are recommended for you, as well as when and how often you need them.
- Make sure you’re current on vaccinations. Immunizations help you and everyone around you stay healthy.
- Get a physical exam. Make it thorough!
“Everyone’s health needs are different, and your best health resolutions are tailored to your needs,” says Dr. Yakoob. “If you put some effort into figuring out what you really need, then you can prioritize your 2020 health goals and game plan accordingly.”
As in any decision making, being informed when goal setting helps give you the necessary perspective to help set yourself not only on the right path, but also toward the right end goal.
Do Less to Achieve More
“Simple acts that take little time can amount to major differences in how healthy you look and feel. Put greater emphasis this year on creating healthy habits. Instead of one or two big goals, try setting lots of small, task-like goals that you can easily accomplish each day,” suggests Dr. Yakoob.
- Take a break. Anytime you feel sick, stressed, or physically or mentally overwhelmed, get the mental and physical rest you need.
- Clean and disinfect. Wash hands with soap for 20 seconds and rinse with clean running water. Clean, then disinfect surfaces – especially in the kitchen and bathroom – and children’s toys regularly to eliminate germs and keep them from spreading. (And don’t forget cell phones.)
- Read food labels. Find out if, and how much, fat, cholesterol, sodium, sugars, protein, and other ingredients are in the product. Check the serving size so you know how much you can consume.
- Choose healthier foods. Choose foods high in fiber but low in saturated fats, like fruits, leafy greens, and whole grain cereals.
- Stay hydrated. Train yourself to drink six to eight glasses of water each day. If needed, set alarms to remind yourself to drink every 30 minutes.
- Combat the craving. If you smoke or use tobacco, stop. When you feel the urge to do it, don’t – instead, take deep breaths, drink water, chew gum, have a piece of candy, or do something else. The craving should pass in two to three minutes.
- Learn even more. Take five to 10 minutes to skim through an article or listen to a podcast about different health topics that interest you.
“Remember, just because something doesn’t take a massive effort doesn’t mean it can’t give worthwhile results,” observes Dr. Yakoob. “Simple steps like reading food labels can be the difference in lowering calories, pounds, and cholesterol. They can also help increase and improve appearance and satisfaction. In addition to the long-term benefits of healthier habits, you’ll enjoy the satisfaction of checking off multiple items on your resolutions list.”