How To Take Charge Of Your Health Meaningfully In 2015

Posted: January 9, 2015

What does it mean to ‘take charge of your health’? Set big goals and forget about them? No! Small and specific is the way to go.

Like most people, you may have set a fitness resolution for 2015. Rather than a vague “must improve health,” it helps to have a clear idea of what exactly you must do.

Take a holistic approach to health this year. Here are some specific ways to take charge of your health and feel better this year.

Stick to your fitness routine

Easy to say, we know. Fitness is the number one casualty among all New Year resolutions that die an early death. If you find yourself procrastinating, why not try the 2 minute rule? Just get your gym clothes on and out of the door in 2 minutes.

You can also trick your brain using what behavioural psychologists call “implementation intentions” to bridge the gap between intentions and actual behaviour. Use if…then statements such as, “If the alarm rings at 6 AM, I will go to the gym”. Write down similar statements to trick your brain into processing intentions better.

Make the right changes to your diet

  • Don’t skip breakfast or any meal.
  • Drink fewer soft drinks or completely avoid them.
  • Eat five servings of fruits and vegetables every day. Buying precut fruits and veggies can make this easier.
  • Add anti-inflammatory foods such as fatty fish, dark leafy greens, nuts, and colourful vegetables such as beetroot. Ginger and turmeric are also known anti-inflammatory agents.

Meditate to control stress

Heart diseases, obesity, asthma, diabetes, depression, Alzheimer’s disease, faster ageing, and a host of other problems are directly linked to stress. This year, get your stress under control by practicing mindfulness meditation. Being mindful is about being aware of your thoughts and actions in the current moment, dropping all judgement. Here is how you can get started.

Check if your hormones are well balanced

Hormonal disorders such as hypothyroidism and PCOS may remain undetected for several years unless you get tested. If you feel sluggish, tired, depressed, or find it difficult to lose weight, the underlying cause may be a hormonal disorder. Get an endocrine panel test this year to check if your hormone levels are within normal limits. If they aren’t, it is time to get treated and find relief from the symptoms.

Quit/cut sugar

Sarah Wilson, author of the best seller I Quit Sugar, says in her book, “We have a deep-rooted resistance to quitting sugar. We grew up with an emotional and physical attachment to it.”

Around the world, the No Sugar movement is gaining momentum and warning people about the threat that sugar poses to human health. Cutting sugar from your diet can make you look younger, lose weight, reverse prediabetes, and reduce sugar cravings.

Yearly health check

Get a complete health check-up this year. A typical health check-up package at a hospital will include blood investigation, kidney function test, lipid profile, ECG, urine routine, chest x-ray, Pap smear, abdominal ultrasound, pelvic examination, and mammogram. If you’re over 60, also consult with an ophthalmologist, ENT specialist, dentist, and cardiologist.

Take care of your heart health

Women are at a higher risk for heart attacks because they are less likely to experience atypical symptoms such as shortness of breath, cold sweat, dizziness, and weakness. Dr. Madhu Sreedharan, Cardiologist and Director of NIMS Heart Foundation, Trivandrum, cautions us not to neglect any of the symptoms and get to the hospital as soon as possible. Here are 10 suggestions for better heart health from the Harvard Medical School.

Shop healthy

Make a deliberate attempt to shop healthy this year. Fill your shopping cart from the organic aisle. If you do not have access to a supermarket that carries organic food, why not try growing your own vegetables so you can enjoy pesticide-free produce. Cut down on processed food and drinks. Instead of snacks, buy fruits.

Give yourself an occasional treat

Being too strict about your diet can often backfire because you may end up losing all control and start bingeing. It is okay to give yourself an occasional treat. During festive occasions, rather than forcing yourself to stay away from sweets, eat tiny portions of your favourite ones.

Me time

Don’t neglect to take some time out for yourself. A monthly spa, a pedicure every couple of weeks, or even just curling up with a good book during the weekend can rejuvenate your spirits. Seek your family’s support to ensure that you are undisturbed during this time.

These little steps can and will help you have a healthy, happy and glorious 2015.

Pic of woman running via Shutterstock

Nisha Salim is a self-employed writer and a social media junkie.

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