Julie Whittington, RD

Healthy tips from a Registered Dietitian

Make 2009 New Year’s resolutions for your health

Happy New Year!  Have you made your 2009 New Year’s resolutions?  Most of us should probably include some health resolutions in the list.  With the majority of American adults being overweight or obese and even more than that struggling with weight concerns and disordered eating, you know that weight management is a big issue.  You might be a teenager struggling with self esteem and the pressure to be thin, a child bullied for being overweight, a middle aged woman with an eating disorder, an overweight adult struggling with overweight most of your life or someone struggling with emotional issues so strong that they interfere with your ability to keep your body well nourished.  The list does not end there.  Most people struggle with eating right and keeping health in check. 


Do not give up hope, though!  It is a new year with endless possibilities.  Just remember, most people cannot make changes all on their own.  Most of us need the support of family and friends to help us stay on the right path.  However, there is no way that family and friends can simply expect someone to make healthier choices if that person is not ready to change.  So, help yourself and help those around you who love you (and want you to make a healthy change) by deciding to make healthy commitments and welcoming their support.  Consider what health professionals you need in your team.  A doctor, dietitian, physical trainer, psychotherapist and/or psychiatrist and maybe others are on the list.  If you struggle with heart conditions you may need a cardiologist.  If you have chronic fatigue syndrome you may need a neurologist and physical therapist.  Talk to your doctor to determine who you need in your circle.


Next, you can set those resolutions!  Try to take small, achievable steps so you can see progress and not get defeated.  Too often, people set lofty goals at the start of the year and then give up on them or forget about them by the time February arrives.  You want your resolutions to be small enough that you can achieve them but big enough to make a significant difference in your life.


Here is a list of resolutions you can consider in setting your own.  Everyone is different and you should cater your goals for your own personal lifestyle:


  • Aim to get at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity on most days.
  • Incorporate some mindful breathing or stretching exercises into your daily routine (for example, buy a yoga DVD and learn some moves to do every day when you wake up).
  • Aim to eat 2 cups of fruit and 2.5 cups of vegetables per day (this is based on a 2000-calorie diet).
  • Aim to cut down on saturated and trans fats every day.  This means less fried food, whole fat dairy products and processed food like pastries and cookies.
  • Take a daily multivitamin if your diet falls short of recommended amounts of nutrients.  Pregnant women, individuals eating less than 1600 calories per day and individuals with digestive ailments like Celiac Disease all should take a multivitamin for the appropriate age and gender group.
  • Cut down on alcohol (if you consume more than your recommended amount).
  • Eat more naturally and more locally to protect your health and the environment.
  • Aim to reduce stress.  Take up yoga, try massage or acupuncture or increase physical activity.  There are many ways to bring more joy and less stress to your life.  Not only will you feel better, but it may improve your relationships and lifespan!

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