For many people, losing weight, exercising and quitting smoking are top the list of New Year's resolutions.
If you've made up your mind to make some changes in 2016, you're not alone. More than 40 percent of adult Americans make New Year's resolutions.
Losing Weight And Eating Healthy
It's not surprising many people want to try to lose weight. More than one-third of U.S. adults are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
But simply wanting to shed pounds quickly doesn't make much sense in the real world since healthy eating is a long-term lifestyle and not a fad. Nutritionist Audrey Fleck of Doylestown Hospital Nutrition Therapy and Counseling advocates a more practical approach.
"It is my opinion that a New Year's resolution is really just a one-year goal that people lose sight of in a few months," said Audrey. "My suggestion is to pick one thing to change about your diet each month. Try to come up with more of an actual plan and try to follow through with that."
For example, if you keep sugary or salty snacks in your office to satisfy a daily 3 pm craving, stock up on healthier alternatives. The American Heart Association lists healthy snacking suggestions broken down into categories including crunchy, munchy and sweet. The AHA also lists health snack recipes.
It's important to know exactly what you're eating. Find suggestions on How to Decipher Food Labels for Healthy Eating.
Winter can be a challenging time to try to lose weight, and Audrey offers tips on avoiding winter weight gain.
Getting In Shape
Starting to exercise or exercising more are also common New Year's resolutions. The CDC answers the question, "How much physical activity do adults need?" on its website.
Once you have an idea about how much exercise, you'll need to think about where you're going to get it, and that may be a gym.
"Selecting a good fitness center is the best way to get started," said David Martens, Clinical Manager of Doylestown Health's Cardiac Rehab. "It is important to make sure that the fitness center has qualified staff with degrees in exercise physiology. They know how to properly start people off with the appropriate levels of exercise and the right selection of equipment. This will ultimately result in helping to achieve their goals."
Choose a gym that's close to where you live or work. If the gym's too far away, you're less likely to use it.
The gym not your thing?
"For people not interested in joining a gym, walking is a very good exercise," said Dave. The recommended number of steps is 10,000 to 12,000 per day.
Dave added this tip: "In order to lose weight, which is also usually part of why people want to exercise, exercise trackers are very helpful. Fitness trackers are devices that look like a watch but have many interesting features such as tracking steps per day, walking distance, calories burned etc. Fitness trackers can help people accomplish these goals."
Make 2016 The Year To Quit
Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States, accounting for more than 480,000 deaths every year, or 1 of every 5 deaths, according to the CDC.
The CDC offers suggestions and resources to help Make 2016 Your Year to Quit.
Locally, the Bucks County Health Improvement Partnership (BCHIP) offers free smoking cessation classes at several Bucks County locations, including Doylestown Hospital.
Need a few more reasons to quit smoking now? Watch the Health Matters episode featuring Doylestown Health experts talking about the dangers of tobacco use.
You Don't Have To Go It Alone
A primary care provider, also known as a PCP, provides preventive health services, initial diagnosis and long-term supervision of your non-emergency health care. Your healthcare provider can help you make and stick with important resolutions you make concerning your health.
Find a Provider online or call 215-345-2121.
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