Making health resolutions that will stick

By Brooke Strickland

 

It’s a new year.  Did you make a resolution to start eating better or to start working out more? We all know that for most people looking to make a change, dieting and fitness is on the top of their list. If you’re one of the people that has made a resolution to start eating better this year or to lose some extra pounds, good for you!  Now comes the hard part: following through and not breaking the resolution!  Here are some tips to help you get started and keep you on track for success.

Plan ahead.   What do you need to stay successful in meeting your goal of losing weight or eating better?  Maybe you need to ask a friend to be your accountability partner, or even better, your work out or grocery shopping partner.  Maybe you need to start researching local gyms in the area to see what works for your budget.  Whatever it is, plan ahead and don’t wait till the last minute to start getting your resolution in order.

Be realistic.  If you make unrealistic goals, you’re more likely than not to break them.  So, instead of saying you’re NEVER going to eat your favorite food again, be realistic and set a goal that is manageable.  Setting goals that are representative of what you can actually meet will make things a lot less frustrating for you in the long run.

Share. Don’t keep your resolution just to yourself.  Share it with your friends.  This will help you gain a natural support system that will help keep you motivated and on track.

Rewards are good.  Are you doing well at keeping up with your resolution?  Reward yourself!   Treat yourself to something you enjoy, whether it’s your favorite mocha, a piece of gourmet chocolate, a movie with a friend…whatever makes you happy, reward your hard work!

Remember, no one is perfect and you’ll probably slip up on occasion.  That’s ok.  Don’t beat yourself up and don’t obsess about the mistake.  Take each day at a time and be patient.  Persistence will pay off if you work hard enough at it.

Here’s to a healthy 2013!

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How do I not get sick?

By Brooke Strickland

Do you know people that just don’t get sick while you always seem to catch the latest bug going around?  Well, there are some secrets to not getting sick all the time.  Some might not even be secrets, but we’ll share them anyway.

Going green:  This one is common sense.  Integrating green, leafy veggies into your daily mix of food intake is important.  These vegetables give you a natural boost of vitamins and minerals, all which are important to maintaining a strong immune system.

Vitamin D is your friend:  Making sure you have enough vitamin D is important – especially those who don’t live in an area that has a lot of natural sunlight throughout the year.  People that don’t have enough vitamin D are more prone to get respiratory infections and in general a lack in vitamin D can mean poor bone growth and in general a weakened immune system.

Reducing stress:  Stress, day in and day out, is hard on your body.  Find ways to relax on a daily basis.  After a long day at work, make time to sit back and unwind – physically and mentally. 

Green tea:  Drinking green tea, because of the high amount of antioxidants it contains, can help keep your immune system and your cardiovascular system strong.

Stay social:  Hibernating and keeping yourself away from friends or loved ones is not healthy emotionally and can take a toll physically on you as well.  Stay social and keep yourself in the presence of loved ones that care about you.  This is good for your overall wellbeing. 

Reduce your risk of bacteria: This is also common sense, but washing your hands (and the rest of your body with a regular shower) will help wash infectious bacteria away.  In addition, make sure to wash any vegetables or other foods that have potentially come into contact with bacteria and sterilize shared surfaces like doorknobs, phones, or light switches to keep bacteria from spreading.

Keep active:  In the colder winter months, it might be harder to keep active.  The weather isn’t as great and it might be hard to get motivated.  But this is no excuse!  Keep moving and keep active.  This, in addition to the above tactics is a recipe for healthy living!

 

Jovinally, Joann. “The Secrets to Never Getting Sick.”  Healthline.  October 18, 2012. http://www.healthline.com/health-slideshow/cold-flu-secrets?utm_medium=yahhp#8 Accessed November 23, 2012.

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Walk off the weight!

 

By Brooke Strickland

The holidays are upon us and the delicious food of the season surrounds us.  Whether it’s at home or the office, there are sure to be tempting treats lying around. While those treats are ok to eat in moderation, filling up on them is sure to make your waistline grow. 

Need some easy ways to walk off the weight that you may have started accumulating this holiday season?  We have some simple tips to help get you moving.

When you’re on your 3rd holiday party of the week, the Christmas shopping bills are piling up, and the kids are bouncing off the walls from being cooped up inside, stress is bound to hit.  So instead of turning to the treats to cope with a stressful day or week, turn to walking.  If you can’t squeeze in a good half hour walk, try breaking it up into two 15 minute walks.  These mini walks can still get your body moving and boost your metabolism.

If you find it hard to walk or work out in the evening after you’ve put in a long day, try walking in the morning before you get ready for the day or during your lunch break at work.  Is the weather nasty outside?  Find a work out DVD and crank it up in your living room.  Even if you have zero time to exercise, just getting up and moving is important.  If you’re out grocery shopping, find the furthest parking spot from the door and trek it in.  It’s better than nothing!

Walking is good for your brain, strengthens your heart, prevents weight gain, and has even shown to help reduce type two diabetes.  It also helps strengthen your bones and can alleviate symptoms of depression. 

There isn’t a better time than now

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What is a mammogram?

 

 

By Brooke Strickland

 

Mammograms, an x-ray exam of the breast, are an important part of women’s health.  These exams are used to detect changes in the breast.  Technology has changed significantly in recent years, and today, these breast images can evaluate any changes in the breast tissue that could be potentially harmful to a woman.  A special machine is used for the exam – one that produces lower energy rays. 

There are two different types of mammograms.  The first is a screening mammogram, one that is a routine test that can detect cancer cells before a woman has any symptoms.  This early screening test can improve a woman’s chance of more effective treatment.  This type of mammogram usually takes two views of the breast.

The next test is a diagnostic mammogram, one that uses more pictures to study a specific area of concern.  The x-ray is able to zone in and enlarge an area of breast tissue to determine if the tissue is normal or abnormal.  The results of these diagnostic tests will determine if a biopsy is needed or if the tissue should just be monitored and checked in several months. 

A mammogram is completed by compressing the breast between 2 plates in the mammogram machine – a plastic plate on top and an x-ray plate.  It can be uncomfortable and painful for some women, but the pressure lasts only for a few seconds and is needed to get a good picture. 

Women under 40 generally do not need to undergo a mammogram, unless they are at a higher risk for developing breast cancer.  It is recommended that women over 50 should have yearly mammograms to check for any abnormal breast changes. 


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How do I get whiter teeth?


By Brooke Strickland

Our teeth are one of the first things we notice when we meet new people.  Our teeth brighten our smile and keeping them stain-free and white can be a challenge.  Stained teeth are a part of aging, but there are some things that can help you reduce the amount of staining or discoloration that occurs.  There are some secrets to maintaining white teeth and to helping restore your smile to its pearly white status.

First of all, there are many do-it-yourself teeth whitening kits out on the market today.  Just go to your local drugstore and you’ll find kits, strips, toothpastes, and even flosses that can help lighten stains.  These types of products use mild bleach to minimize the yellow stains on your teeth.  Whitening get toothpastes that are used on a regular basis can help with surface stains and won’t change the natural color of your teeth. 

If you’re looking for the old-fashioned way to whiten teeth, some people still use baking soda and a toothbrush at home.  This can help scrub those surface stains off.  Another way to whiten teeth is to eat foods that trigger the development of a lot of saliva to help wash food residue off your teeth.  Try chewing on apples, pears, carrots, or celery – all saliva-inducing foods (and they’re healthy for you to boot).  Saliva helps counteract acid that can cause tooth decay.

Next, avoid foods or drinks that are known to cause discoloration, like excesses of coffee, fruit juices, soda, tea, or other alcoholic beverages.  And especially avoid smoking tobacco – this can cause nasty brown stains that get into all of the grooves of your teeth.  It will also give you bad breath and can increase your risk for mouth cancers.

It’s important to remember that maintenance is a real key here. Having your teeth cleaned regularly at your dentist, as well as regular brushing and flossing will help keep your teeth white and healthy.  In addition, remember to brush your teeth (or rinse with water) after eating to keep tooth stains at a minimum.


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