by TRI LAC, MD; Scripps Clinic, Mission Valley

scripps_try_lacAmbitions are high after the ball drops on New Year’s Eve. It’s a new year and a chance for a new you. Millions of Americans set lofty health-related resolutions for the year to come, from reviving their gym membership and losing weight to quitting smoking. But before you spend money on a new workout wardrobe or go boom-or-bust on the next fad diet, consider these modest tips for a healthier you in 2015:

* Take advantage of our beautiful year-round climate. Walk at least 30 minutes three times a week. Gradually progress to walking every day.

* Eat a diet that’s high in fiber, such as fruits and vegetables, but low in saturated fats. Eat less meat and more beans and nuts.

* Drink six to eight glasses of water each day.

* Get adequate sleep. Sleeping at least seven hours a night typically benefits adults by boosting alertness and decreasing their chances of causing a traffic accident.

* Use a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher on exposed skin.

* Stop using tobacco and cut back on drinking soda. See your doctor for cessation strategies.

*Choose a primary care physician who’s a good fit and you’ll be more likely to keep your cholesterol under control, know your risk factors for diabetes, and undergo preventive health screenings that can help catch diseases in the early stages.

Choosing a healthier lifestyle is not just a verbal commitment – turning your new health choices into habits involves changing your mindset and understanding the true value of your personal health. Here are a few tips for making your changes permanent:

Don’t make comparisons. That new fad diet may be a quick fix but not a long-term solution – and just because it worked for your friend or neighbor doesn’t mean it will work for you. Your health is about you, so make it that way.
Take it one change at a time. Change is hard – don’t make it harder with multiple changes at once.
Energize naturally. Self-restraint takes energy, and the best way to replace your energy levels is with natural glucose from fruit sources – the artificial stuff won’t work.
Laugh it off. Feeling overwhelmed? Put on a funny movie, or watch your favorite cat video online – doing something that makes you laugh helps release tension.
It’s not a sprint – it’s a marathon. We all want instant gratification, immediate results, and the path of least resistance. However, obtaining optimal health doesn’t happen overnight. Set reasonable goals and manage expectations, slow and sustainable wins the race.
Take pride in ownership. Your health is priceless – value it that way. There are no trade-ins, upgrades, or return policies. Take pride in the most precious asset you own.
Pump up the jams. Grab your ear buds and play some of your favorite upbeat songs. Music can put you in a better mood and also serve as motivation.
Look in the mirror. The buck stops with you, and the person staring back in the mirror is the key to your success. Change is possible and can be attained with a mindful commitment to responsible living.

Tri Lac, MD, is an internal medicine physician at Scripps Clinic in Mission Valley. Dr. Lac provides care for adult patients and treats a wide range of medical issues.


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