Friday, December 11, 2009

A Healthy Start for the New Year

Christmas will be here in a little over a week, and New Year’s Eve will soon follow. When you start making your annual list of New Year’s resolutions, why not put getting more exercise and developing a healthy diet at the top.

Use the USDA MyPyramid to map a healthy eating plan that focuses on grains, fruits and vegetables for plenty of fiber, vitamins and minerals. As a bonus, foods high in fiber can help with weight loss since they are lower in calories and more filling. Complete your eating plan with low-fat milk or milk products, lean meat, poultry or fish, and legumes. Cut back on fat if your diet is currently high in fat. Do not forget that portions count, so follow MyPyramid recommendations to keep them reasonable. Plan for occasional small indulgences of favorite foods to avoid feeling deprived and ending up overeating.

Those who are successful at losing weight and keeping it off are physically active. So, plan to start exercising this year. Exercise not only helps with weight maintenance, it also reduces the risk of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and some cancers.

Here are a few simple lifestyle changes that can help you prevent weight gain during the winter months:

-If you have a job where you are in one place all day, stand up and walk around a little every hour. Walk to the water fountain, but not to the vending machine. Make it a rule to not eat at your desk. Many people have become computer potatoes at work, just like couch potatoes at home.

- When you do watch television, do something active. This can be housework, a craft or even exercise. At least, keep your hands busy with a worthwhile project instead of an unhealthy snack.

Remember, it is important to focus on the positive changes that you are making each day. Developing a healthy lifestyle takes time and commitment. Many times we are fast to acknowledge the negative setbacks and slow to pat ourselves on the back for positive changes.

In the New Year, make taking care of yourself a top priority. Incorporate these and other healthy lifestyle changes into your daily activities.

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