Choose a Personal “Big 4” Goal
Six Resolutions to Get Your New Year Off to a Healthy Start – How many of us have made New Year’s resolutions, only to find them evaporate like mist in the months that follow? As another year draws to a close, that should make us even more determined to succeed this time around—especially since our health is at stake.
On my list for 2014 — and hopefully yours — is a list of six resolutions which can put us on track for a healthier lifestyle. In the process, they can also help us prevent and control the Health Power targeted four big troublemakers for people of color:
RESOLUTION #1: Lose five percent of your weight through smart, healthy choices in your daily routine. For a 150-pound person, this means trimming around seven pounds from your frame. If you’re 200 pounds, it translates into trimming 10 pounds off. For most people, these goals can be met. To understand how, you need to become familiar with what Health Power calls the Calorie Formula, and many health experts call the Energy Formula. What this means, in simple terms, is that in order to lose weight, you must burn off more calories than you take in. To lose one to two pounds every two weeks, one has to burn off 250 to 500 calories more than you take in each day. The following resolutions will give you a handle on how to achieve this.
RESOLUTION #2: Make healthy food choices. Cut back on high calorie foods, like fast foods, snacks, desserts and fried goodies like French fries that not only add weight, but clog up your arteries. Also, give up the soft drinks, which are loaded with sugar. Replace them with healthy snacks, like apple slices and granola bars, juices, and at least five fruits and vegetables a day. Controlling portion sizes is another way to limit your calorie intake. For more helpful ideas on healthy eating, see our Cooking Good and Eating Healthy Tip Sheets, and Reading Food Labels.
RESOLUTION #3: Make exercise part of your daily routine. Exercise burns off the calories you take in, making it possible to shed pounds. Aim for some type of physical activity at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week. If you haven’t been active over the years, walking is a great way to get in shape. The key is finding something you like to do, perhaps riding a bike, dancing, gardening, jogging, or of course, walking. Also, take the stairs instead of riding in elevators if they’re safe; park further away from a store than you normally would so that you will have to walk further; and when taking a bus or subway, get off before your stop and walk the rest of the way. See the Fitness Branchof our Food and Fitness Channel for more tips on fitness.
RESOLUTION #4: Stop or limit drinking alcoholic beverages. By limiting your alcohol consumption to no more than a drink a day, you’ll be doing yourself a world of good. Your chances of heart disease and liver damage will be reduced. Plus, you’ll lose weight more readily since you’ll no longer be taking in all the fat and calories present in most alcoholic drinks. See ourWise Drinking table with the number of calories in popular drinks.
RESOLUTION #5: Control stress. The strongest cravings for food often occur when you’re facing problems and stress in your life. When you’re trying to come to grips with financial pressures, relationship conflicts, health problems or work stress, it’s natural to turn to high calorie, fatty foods for “comfort.” Come up with a game plan to control these stresses in your life. You may not be able to eliminate all of them, but by managing them better you’ll put yourself on the road to a healthier life.
RESOLUTION #6: Quit Smoking. If you are a smoker, make this the year to stamp out your smoking habit – for good. It often takes smokers three or four tries before they’re successful. Don’t be afraid to seek help – from over-the-counter quit-smoking aids like nicotine gum, patches, hotlines and smoking cessations classes which many communities host. Also, our 5 Quit Smoking and Win Tip Sheets may be very helpful:
Tip Sheet No. 1: Planning for the First Quit Week
Tip Sheet No. 2: What’s in Cigarette Smoke
Tip Sheet No. 3: Fighting Smoking Triggers
Tip Sheet No. 4: Why Quit Smoking
Tip Sheet No. 5: How to Help Friends Quit Smoking
If you stay motivated and focused, you’ll greatly increase your chances of success.
- Putting an encouraging note to yourself on the refrigerator or pantry door, for example, can be helpful.
- So is surrounding yourself with friends and family members who are supportive in helping you reach your ambitious goals.
- In other words, being with people often who are not only good listeners, but might be your walking or exercise buddy, or be with you in the kitchen while you create healthy dishes and menus for the year ahead.
Remember the Health Power motto: Knowledge + Action = Power! ®