Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Healthy New Year!!

New Year’s resolutions – sigh! We make ‘em then we break ‘em. How are you doing so far?  Well how about a little “food for thought” as we continue on into a fresh and exciting 2012. For starters, if you have serious health issues, you must consult a doctor before beginning any diet or exercise program. 

When making personal health resolutions, many of us have an all or nothing approach. For example, “I will go to the gym five times a week to get back into shape” or “I will not snack at all ever again.” What we all know deep down is that these ultimatums only end in one result: failure.  A better approach is to consider your overall health goals and take manageable baby steps toward those goals.  The desired result is a happier, healthier you, and you want to do what is necessary to accomplish that as a lifelong goal, not just be swimsuit ready in May, or July as it were here in the North Country.

Recently, former President Bill Clinton was on the Rachael Ray show to talk about a program they are working on together to fight childhood obesity and make school lunches healthier. During the interview, Clinton mentioned that he had changed his eating habits after having a quadruple heart bypass in 2004, and later having stents inserted into his arteries to keep them from further blockages in 2010. He maintained that he eats, drum roll please, a mostly vegan diet.

Clinton went on to tell Ray, the studio audience and thousands of viewers at home that he does not miss eating meat or cheese at all. What does this former Rhodes scholar and Commander-in-Chief know that we don’t know? How was he able to return to his high school weight and reverse his symptoms of heart disease? Bill Clinton is fortunate to have Dr. Neil Ornish, a pioneer in the field of reversing heart disease and diabetes through diet, as a close personal friend. However, that does not mean that the rest of us can’t start our new year off on healthier footing.

Important lifestyle changes can come in small packages. If you realize that eating meat at every meal is not the healthiest way to feed yourself and your family, but you can’t go cold turkey on removing meat from your dinner table, sign on for the new “Meatless Monday” approach. At a loss for delicious, meatless recipes? Log on to http://www.relish.com/ and sign up for their weekly food newsletter. You will receive a recipe every Monday for a yummy, meatless entrée that your whole family will love. Recent recipes include Chilequiles Verde, a combination of tortillas, salsa, vegetables and cheese in a terrific potluck dish and Roasted Butternut Squash Lasagna, a satisfying lasagna with sweet butternut squash and béchamel sauce.

With regard to exercise, choose a fitness goal that works with your lifestyle, and start out gradually so that you don’t burn out or injure yourself right out of the gate. Get your family or friends involved in your fitness goals, the more the merrier, and the better to motivate each other when one of you isn’t feeling the love on going out for a walk, run or spinning class. Keep a record of your exercise outings: how long you worked out, how far you ran/walked/biked and how you felt. Use an online printable fitness workout log, like the one at http://www.answerfitness.com, or create your own. Watch as you gradually improve over time, and give yourself credit for small victories.

Losing weight, getting in better shape and reducing your need for certain medications are worthy goals not just for a new year, but for a lifetime. Good health is a gift that can be achieved over time. Be patient. Just by considering making changes to your eating and exercise habits you are taking a step in the right direction. Happy New Year, and Happy New You!

1 comment:

  1. This provoked a lot of thought in me. Meatless Mondays, for example, made me wonder if Susanna Hoffs is a vegetarian.

    Probably not the type of thought you hoped to provoke, but I'm already all veggies and workouts and all that death-defying wishful thinking.

    Nice, Julie. More posts. Shorter ones, too. Asking people to add multi-paragraph blog posts to their already busy 2012 (new diet, new exercise regimen) might be asking too much.