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Healthy New Year's Resolutions

It's almost that time again - time for making New Year's resolutions. Like most folks, will yours have one about losing weight?  Dr. Donnica offers her tips for writing healthy new years' resolutions that have a better likelihood of being achieved.  For starters, she says, focus on the "Thou shalt" resolutions, rather than the "Thou shalt nots."

Writing New Year's resolutions is a time-honored American tradition. For many of us, these resolutions focus on what we want to improve in our health-related behaviors. We tend to focus on things we want to lose (generally weight), give up or cut down on(watching TV, drinking alcohol), or stop (smoking).  While many of us do say we want to start or increase our exercise time, we often view that as a punishment instead of as a gift.

This year let's try a different approach.  Try writing 10 healthy resolutions that you can and will achieve; write resolutions that are not only specific and achievable, but which you can view as GIFTS to yourself and to your family. Too often women fail to focus on their own health because they feel a need to focus on their family members first. The best gift we can give to our loved ones is to take care of ourselves. 

I suggest starting the process with a positive and healthy attitude.  Make as many of the resolutions "Thou shalt" commitments, as opposed to "Thou shalt nots."  The first priorities are to focus on overcoming dangerous behaviors.  If you smoke, drink too much alcohol, or practice reckless sexual behaviors (those that increase your risk of unwanted pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases), just stop.  If you need help, see your physician or a trained psychologist.  Enlist the support of your friends and family members.

If you need to lose weight, you know it and your body knows it. This year, try something new and leave off the "I will lose 15 pounds" resolution.  Instead, try positive and specific resolutions that will enable you to achieve the desired weight loss without focusing on the "losing" concept.  For example, try "I will eat 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day" or "I will start each day with a healthy breakfast sitting down."  No! Coffee and a doughnut is not a healthy breakfast.  You don't need to have a four-course meal, but ideally you should have 4 food groups represented, and protein should be one of them.

Increasing water consumption often helps dieters and most Americans are not getting enough water daily.  Do you really need 8 glasses per day?  At least.  To calculate exactly how much you should be drinking, divide your weight in pounds by 2.  This is how many ounces per day you need before exercising.  With exercise, add an additional 8 ounces per 20 minutes of aerobic exercise.

Go through each resolution and write a paragraph about it.  Add something about sleep. Add something about fun!

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 Try writing 10 healthy resolutions that you can and will achieve; write resolutions that are not only specific and achievable, but which you can view as GIFTS to yourself. 

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