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As 2013 begins, check out these New Year resolutions for women’s health and nutrition – resolutions that are easy to keep!
Shilpa K., 36, has a New Year resolution – a weight loss goal of 10 kilos. Before I can ask her how she plans to go about it, she laughs that she’s been having the same resolution for three years running now. She meets January with a lot of good intentions, religiously eating steamed vegetables and waking up early for a yoga routine.
By April it’s down to planning ‘healthy meals’ when time permits and yoga once a week. By September she’s guiltily eating all that she had decided not to and soon it’s December, time to make fresh resolutions.
It’s that time of year again – a time when we hope things will change, when we are determined to make things different.
While vague goals like ‘being healthy’ are sure to fall by the wayside, small, specific and achievable targets have greater chances of being met. Here is a list of important yet attainable New Year health resolutions that are sure to make you healthier and happier.
Don’t just avoid whole categories of foods because you’ve heard they’re bad for you. It’s a common misconception that carbohydrates make you fat. Wrong. You need a healthy balance of every food type – carbohydrate, protein, fats, vitamins, minerals and fibre – to stay healthy and active. Make sure you are getting a portion of all these every day.
Develop healthy eating habits. It is far better to eat smaller meals at regular, fixed intervals than one big balanced meal when you find the time. Avoid crash diets and don’t force yourself to eat unpalatable things because they are ‘healthy’.
Good hydration has plenty of health benefits and is very easy to achieve. The average adult woman requires about 2.2 litres of water a day. Thankfully, it includes water intake in every form and you don’t actually have to drink that much. While the thumb rule of 8 glasses a day is still your best bet, eating fruit with high water content like watermelon also counts.
Getting exercise is the most difficult part of a health regime for most of us. The easy part is signing up for the gym, buying sweats and downloading fitness apps on to your smart phone. The difficult part is getting your limbs to move. Time and place are often the limiting factors. Be realistic before setting exercise goals you know you’ll never make.
It is even more important to stay active and burn calories. Do you take the stairs whenever possible? Are you sure you don’t hop onto your scooter (or car) to get milk from the shop down the street? Stretch that extra bit when you are hanging up clothes to dry. Put a new group of muscles into action whenever possible. Get fitness tips that fit into your day.
If you smoke, then you know what’s on top of that list. If you don’t, you can find some other bad habit to part with – binge eating, cut down on alcohol, stop biting your nails, the list is endless. Try and quit doing something that’s been nagging you, you will feel victorious, confident and much happier.
Stress, anger, guilt, grief can all have adverse effects on your emotional well-being. Learn to let go. Leave your work-related problems in the office when you leave for the day. Don’t carry baggage with you. Learn to be calm and avoid road rage. Learn to talk about and solve your problems in positive ways. Carrying negative emotions around will only burden your heart and affect your health.
Have you thought of how you may be at risk for developing some conditions? Does hypertension or diabetes run in the family? Have family members been operated for anything? Get yourself checked. Make sure you are checking yourself for lumps in your breast. Ask your doctor about Pap smears. Ensure that your diet has enough calcium (or get calcium supplementation) so you don’t fall victim to osteoporosis.
Above all, don’t ignore warning signs. Have a headache that’s always plaguing you? Has your back been killing you for years now? Don’t wait for these things to just go away. Get yourself examined. You may just be told that everything is normal and there’s nothing the matter with you. But better that than a melon-sized tumour being detected at a late stage.
While physical exercise has managed to find a place of importance in our lives, few of us remember to exercise our brains. What better way to exercise the brain than to just use it? Especially to learn something new. Keeping the brain alert and active makes you happy and is known to help avoid conditions like Alzheimer’s.
When was the last time you indulged in a hobby? Most of us give up hobbies because they are something to do in your leisure time and God knows nobody has any of that. But being creative can give you a great outlet for expressing yourself, leave you with immense satisfaction and also boost your confidence. So pick up your needles or brushes again and just give your creative self a chance.
Besides juggling work and home, women often end up obsessing over the health of their family at the expense of their own. The child with perennial colds and coughs and the elderly parents or in-laws who require care may be keeping you very busy, but remember that you won’t be able to take care of anyone else if you don’t stay in shape yourself. Give yourself time and care. Make sure you are getting adequate sleep and rest.
When was the last time you appreciated the simple beauty of a sunrise? The hues of a rainbow, a tree that has burst into bloom or a squirrel nibbling on a nut? Or have you become too busy with the business of life? Then it’s definitely time to stop and smell the roses, to take in your daily dose of nature. Resolve to get out of the drudge of daily existence and get inspired.
Trying to live a healthy life need not become a task. Make a few small changes to your lifestyle and give your health a fair chance this new year.
Pic credit: beX out loud (Used under a Creative Commons license)
Dr. Lakshmi Ananth is a doctor and a writer who wields both scalpel and pen
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