The holiday season brings excitement, cheer, and joy to me and my family as we kick off the holiday season with Thanksgiving. The season seems to go full steam ahead with endless comfort foods, family gatherings, and social commitments that last about forty days until we bring it to a close by ringing in the New Year. Most of us kick off the holiday celebrations by overindulging with all the things that bring us joy like our favorite foods, entertainment, and shopping. Holidays can leave us feeling sluggish, depressed, as we bring a close to the season. During the holidays we usually pack on a few extra pounds, expands our waist lines, and about the time we think we can get a little rest—we jump back into life as we try to catch up on job, school, and family as fatigue settles in.
As many of us are running out of holiday cheer and the realities of the season merge with our expectations, we find ourselves searching for the perfect New Year’s Resolution. The timing for setting such an important goal comes at the worst possible time—we are tired and feeling guilty for overindulging yet, most of us set a goal doomed for failure.
Here are a few suggestions to help keep your New Year’s Resolution in perspective.
• Forget the Diet: Fad diets are usually unsustainable if eliminating a particular food or a whole food group. When thinking about nutrition, forgo the adage “newer and bigger is better” and keep it simple. Eat real food and stay away from prepackaged and made in bulk foods, remembering if you cannot pronounce an ingredient—it probably is not good for you. By filling your cupboards and stomachs with as many delicious and nutritious foods as possible, you will improve your overall health while shedding those unwanted pounds.
• Get Moving: While gym membership and a goal of working out three days per week is a great goal, for many it is unrealistic and sets the stage for failure. Keep it simple, if you walk—get in the fast lane, a study from the Harvard School of Public Health showed women in a study who walked slower for exercise did not control their weight but brisk walkers did. Again, make small changes in exercise and remember to always seek the advice of your healthcare provider before making any dramatic change to your diet and exercise routines.
• Be Active in Your Healthcare: If your goal is to stop smoking, lower your blood pressure or cholesterol, you may increase your chances for success by focusing on one at a time. Again, “Forget the Diet,” you will be surprised how small changes in the foods we eat can have a positive effect on your overall health. Use your community resources like the Preston Medical Library (http://gsm.utmck.edu/library/) 865-305-9525, or the American Heart Association (www.heart.org) these are two great resources to help keep you informed about your health.
So, what about that New Year’s Resolution? Keep it simple; revise if necessary while keeping your eye on what is really important. Recognizing stress and ways to minimize the unavoidable stress life brings. Stress can undermine the best intentions of lowering your blood pressure, smoking cessation, or maintaining a healthy weight. Sometimes it is the small things that make the biggest impact on our lives. If you take the time to relax and enjoy friends and family—I am confident you will enjoy life to the fullest in the New Year.
My New Year Resolution— keep it simple!
Howard Baker, RN BSN
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