COOKEVILLE — It’s a new year and time for a new start.
Many new year’s resolutions often involve healthy initiatives, such as exercising more, quitting smoking and eating healthy.
But a lot of those are unsustainable and are broken within a few weeks.
“It does take dedication and persistence, but healthy resolutions can be sustainable,” said Dr. Carol Berg, family practice physician at Cookeville Regional Medical Center. “Some people may have to have a support system and that’s okay.”
A support system is helpful in accountability, whether it’s time to quit smoking, exercising more or eating healthy.
What should be at the top of your list is a visit to your doctor for all the necessary check-ups.
Getting regular blood work and necessary screenings can help spot potential problems before they turn into something more serious.
To help you make resolutions more sustainable, here are a few tips:
Eat more whole foods
Whole foods include vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, whole grains and fish. This type of diet could reduce heart disease risk factors, body weight and blood sugar levels, as well as decrease your risk of certain diseases, such as type 2 diabetes.
Sit less and move more
Sitting too much can have a significant impact on your overall health. It could even be linked to an increased risk of overall mortality.
If you have a desk job that requires long periods of sitting, make a resolution to go for a 15-minute walk at lunch or get up and walk for five minutes each hour.
Cut back on soft drinks, other sweetened beverages
Sugary drinks are linked to an increased risk of obesity, fatty liver, heart disease, insulin resistance and cavities in both children and adults. Gradually minimizing intake of sugary drinks may help you kick that habit for good.
Get quality sleep
Sleep deprivation can have serious consequences. It could increase your risk of weight gain, heart disease and depression.
Some simple ways of improving your sleep hygiene is to decrease screen time before bed, reducing light pollution in your bedroom, cutting back on caffeine and getting to bed at a reasonable hour.
Find physical activity you enjoy
Make exercise fun. Look at what activities make you feel productive and fit it into your schedule.
You could take a half-hour walk, jog or bike ride before work or swim at a local gym on your way home. Then set an attainable goal, like walking so many miles a week or month.
Self-care doesn’t have to be elaborate, just a little time out for yourself. It’s well worth the investment.
Cook more home meals
A study of 11,396 adults found that those who ate five or more home-cooked meals per week were 28% less likely to be overweight, compared with those who ate fewer than three home cooked meals per week.
Start slow. Make one meal a day, then increase the frequency over time until you’re making the majority of your meals and snacks at home.
Spend more time outside
Spending time outside can improve health by relieving stress, elevating mood and even lowering blood pressure. It’s a sustainable and healthy goal.
Limit screen time
Spending too much time on electronic devices has been linked to depression, anxiety and loneliness. Set a resolution to cut back on the time you spend on your computer, tablet or phone.
This may be particularly helpful for people who have anxiety or depression. There are many books, podcasts and apps that teach you how to start a meditation practice.
Most people who lose weight through restrictive dieting regain up to two-thirds of the weight lost within one year.
Try a more sustainable method of weight loss by focusing on increasing physical activity and eating healthier foods.
Go grocery shopping regularly
Make a new year’s resolution to visit the supermarket or farmer’s market more frequently to stock up on nutritious ingredients.
Add more produce to your diet
Studies have shown that eating a diet rich in produce helps protect against various illnesses, such as diabetes, heart diseases, certain cancers and obesity.
Cut back on alcohol
Set a reasonable goal to keep yourself on track, such as limiting drinking to weekend nights or setting a drink limit for the week. Try substituting a non-alcoholic drink, such as fruit-infused sparkling water or kombucha.
Try a new hobby
Research shows that partaking in a hobby that you love can help you live a longer, healthier life.
Try a hobby that you’ve always been interested in – or re-visit an old hobby.
Dr. Berg will be giving more tips during the next Health Talks, set for Tuesday, Jan. 25, from noon-1 p.m.
Book your spot at https://tinyurl.com/mx68mefc. Once you book a spot, the Zoom meeting information will be available.
For more health news, follow Cookeville Regional Medical Center on all social media channels.
If you need to find a doctor, visit crmchealth.org for a list.