Commit to a Healthy and Happy 2019
A new year brings the promise of fresh starts and new beginnings, as well as an opportunity to commit to a healthier lifestyle. But while creating resolutions is easy, carrying them forward throughout the year can prove challenging.
“One way to stay committed to your goals is to establish the ‘why,’” said Regina Gurley, PA-C, Psychiatric Physician Assistant at Wayne UNC Health Care. “Your why is the reason for making the resolution in the first place – and it’s the foundation of any behavior change.” It’s also important, before making any lifestyle changes, to consult with a physician.
Wayne UNC Health Care experts suggest the following tips for supporting healthy resolutions in 2019.
1. Take time to eat. “Distracted eating often leads to overeating,” said Kali Williams, MS, RD, LDN, Registered Dietitian at The Center for Nutrition and Diabetes Health. “Slowing down, paying attention to your food and setting your utensils down between bites, helps you enjoy your food more and more easily notice when you feel full.”
2. Get better quality sleep. According to Johnny Williams, RPSGT, REEGT, Neurodiagnostic Supervisor for the Wayne UNC Sleep Lab, knocking the thermostat down to 68 degrees or lower before tucking into bed can improve sleep quality. “Also, darken your room with curtains or dim the display on your alarm clock,” said Williams. “Quality sleep not only improves your health; it also helps set you up to make better decisions throughout the day.”
3. Practice gratitude. Take some time at the beginning or end of the day to reflect on what you’re grateful for. “Keep a journal to help shift your focus from daily stresses and the distractions of the day,” said Gurley. “Reminding yourself of the small, positive aspects of your every day life helps develop a sense of balance and perspective that supports your health and well-being.”
4. Set small, achievable fitness goals. “The key to an achievable physical activity resolution is to start small,” says Mike Paul, DPT, Clinical Lead for Physical and Occupational Therapy at Wayne UNC Health Care. “Walking, jogging, golf, swimming, cycling and hiking are all activities that can be done in 30 minute or greater intervals that people find enjoyable.” Resolutions can fall short of commitment when people set the bar too high. It’s best to pick a physical activity because you want to, not because you have to. “It is not all about losing weight but becoming a healthier you,” said Paul.
5. Make – and attend – annual primary care appointments. Many women skip seeing their primary care doctor once a year, especially if they’re seeing specialists, such as their OB/GYN, regularly and conducting preventive screenings. But primary care physicians take a bigger picture look at overall health, including monitoring indicators like blood pressure, cholesterol, weight and more. Our UNC Physician Network practices are accepting new patients – learn more online.
Sustainable resolutions do exist, and they can help build a foundation for a long, healthy and happy life.