Start the year in the right health direction
Happy new year to you and your family! At the start of 2017 you may be taking stock of different areas of your life such as family, finances, work and health. Alone and with your family members, this is a good time of year to assess where you are in life, and to make plans for a few lifestyle adjustments if needed. Here are some health reminder check-ups to get you- and keep you – in tip top shape this new year.
Plan to have certain health parameters checked out on a regular basis this year, as recommendation by your health care provider:
- Blood pressure
- Blood cholesterol
- Glucose or blood sugar as well as A1C
Check out your diet to make sure you that on most days you have a good foundation for eating:
- 3 meals per day at regular times
- Variety of foods from most of the food groups: protein, grains, fruits, vegetables, dairy
- More whole, unprocessed foods: ex. apples rather than apple juice, brown rice rather than instant white rice, etc.
Keep an eye on your waistline or the scales periodically. If waistline or weight is moving up, start to make some changes before things get out of control.
Waistline measurement guidelines:
- Men: 40 inches or less
- Women: 35 inches or less
Bathroom scales: weigh once per week in the morning after emptying your bladder.
Other areas to think about at the start of the new year:
- Are most of your meals prepped from home? Eating out takes a financial toll on the family budget but also brings more calories and sodium than a home-cooked meal.
- Do you keep sugar and sugar-containing drinks and foods to a minimum? Besides the additional calories, sugar spikes your glucose levels and causes inflammation in the body.
- Are you drinking mostly water throughout the day to stay hydrated? Specialty waters and fancy coffees are not needed. And water is FREE.
- Are you active every single day, within your physical capabilities? The body is designed to be active all day long so be sure to use those muscles in simple ways. It does make a difference parking farther away in the parking lot, taking the stairs and enjoying an end-of-day walk.
- And finally, are you taking the time to destress each day in a positive way? Mental health is important too.
Recipes to try:
About the Author
Rita Smith is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator. She's been working in the field of nutrition and disease prevention for more than 35 years and currently works at Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital in Charlottesville, Va. Each week, Rita provides nutrition counseling to clients who have a variety of disorders or diseases including high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, gastroparesis and weight management. For these clients, food choices can help them manage their health problems.