Set goals to improve your health

Nadine Wilson

Monday, December 31, 2012

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DON'T fall into the trap of making yet another New Year's resolution to lose 100 pounds, only to feel even more depressed and unaccomplished when December comes around again.

Setting goals to improve your health is good, but they can only be accomplished if they are realistic. One suggestion going forward this year would be to make simple changes to your lifestyle that will see you improving your mind, body and spirit with little effort. You already know that you should eat right and exercise to lose weight, but don't underestimate the value of making the following changes in your life.

1. Give up smoking. There is nothing good about smoking, and while it might be difficult to stop, it is possible to quit. Start small, by skipping smoking for half a day, then a full day, then a full week, then a month, until you can finally live without it. "Women who stop smoking greatly reduce their risk of dying prematurely. There are many methods you can adopt to help you quit smoking. If you relapse, do not give up. Many smokers quit a few times before achieving success," said family physician Dr Jacqueline Campbell.

2. Have morning devotionals. Having time alone with God daily can help to give you peace of mind which can help to make your life seem less stressful. Stress and anxiety are risk factors for health problems such as hypertension and heart disease. Some persons remain obese throughout their lifetime, too, because they are emotional eaters who binge on food when they are unhappy. Management consultant Hyceen Johnson says meditating on God's word has been helpful for her. "It keeps you grounded and each day you get up and you recognise that you ought to concentrate on the creator with positive thoughts for the day," she said.

3. Invest in a water bottle. Water is important as it helps to keep the body hydrated and decreases hunger pangs. Instead of drinking your calories in beverages such as beers, sodas and fruit juices, have some water instead. Freezing a bottle of water overnight will ensure that you have something to sip on throughout the day.

4. Get more sleep. Sufficient sleep will help you feel better and reduce your risk of cardiovascular diseases. Sleep gives the body the chance to repair muscles and other tissues, while at the same time allowing the brain to refresh. It also results in the production of chemicals that strengthen the immune system. Getting eight hours of sleep is recommended for optimum health.

5. Reduce sugar intake. Minimising the amount of sugary foods you eat can help to keep certain health issues at bay, such as diabetes and tooth decay. Sugar also suppresses your immune system and makes you age faster. If you are serious about losing weight this year, cutting back on sugar is one sure way to win your battle with the bulge.




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