Setting challenging goals is a popular trend in January. About 45 percent of Americans usually make New Year’s resolutions, and nearly half of them are about losing weight. You certainly want to be among the 8 percent who actually stick to what they’ve set to accomplish, especially if the aim is to be healthier.
“There are four major health issues I see, Dr. Boyan Hadjiev, board-certified in Internal Medicine and Allergy and Immunology, says – smoking, poor sleep, bad diet, and sitting too much. “Make resolutions in the form of life changes and long-term habits,” he adds. This means easy and tangible goals. “Don’t say ‘I’ll be less stressed.’ OK, but how?” This is not a solution, just a statement, he adds.
“You have to start with small with objectives that are not hard to achieve and you build on from there,” Dr. Hadjiev says. “You need at least 30 repetitions of the new routine to create and actual habit that becomes your second nature.”
Patients going to see Dr. Daryl Gioffre, Founder of Alkamind and celebrity nutritionist, come in sick, pumped with dietary acids from unhealthy foods they have been eating, he says. “Acidic lifestyle does a lot of damage to your body and causes many chronic health problems.”
About 20 percent of your resolution should be strategy and 80 percent needs to be the “why.” You have to have a big enough reason or purpose in order to stick with your goals and get to the finish line, he adds.
Dr. Gioffre recommends the SMART approach – setting Specific goals that are Measurable so you can track your progress. They also have to be Achievable and attainable; otherwise you will give up too easily. Always set Realistic goals and make sure they are Time-bound. “You have to have a destination; otherwise, your resolution is just a wish,” he adds.
Dr. Catherine Forest, primary care physician at Stanford Health Care calls them “intentions,” not resolutions. A big and common problem she finds among people is the moving intentionally for at least 30 minutes EVERY day, she says.
Accept the fact that you won’t be perfect. “Mistakes are wonderful opportunities to learn,” Dr. Forest says. “Have the courage to be imperfect and embrace effort and risk taking in others.”
26 Health Resolutions Doctors Want You to Keep in 2017
Setting challenging goals is a popular trend in January. About 45 percent of Americans usually make New Year’s resolutions, and nearly half of them are about losing weight. You certainly want to be among the 8 percent who actually stick to what they’ve set to accomplish, especially if the aim is to be healthier. “Make resolutions in the form of life changes and long-term habits,” Dr. Boyan Hadjiev, board-certified in Internal Medicine and Allergy and Immunology, says.
Smoking is by far one of the worst things you can do to your body and you should quit the habit, Dr. Hadjiev says. “We have a nurse in our office who is down to three cigarettes from two packs a day.” Cigarette smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in the U.S., according to the CDC – more than 480,000 a year, which is nearly one in five deaths.
If you know you are a bit overweight, lose the extra pounds. This will significantly improve your lifestyle, Dr. Hadjiev says. More than one-third – 34.9 percent or 78.6 million – of adults in the country are obese, according to the Journal of American Medicine, and there is no indication of the trend changing. “But don’t say you’re going to lose 15 pounds in x-amount of days; say you’re going to work out 30 minutes a day 4-5 times a week, and keep up,” he adds.
Don’t focus on weight, focus on consuming better food and the extra inches around your waist will come off as a result, Dr. Hadjiev says. “You should have three meals and two small snacks a day with no processed crap and no fried stuff.” Another important aspect of eating better is the right size and proportion, he adds. The meals must be balanced and they should include healthy fats.
Improve sleep quality
“People take sleep for granted,” Dr. Hadjiev says. Many nap for eight hours but still feel tired because the quality of their sleep was poor. “It is as important as the number of hours,” he adds. “It should be uninterrupted.” That means no TV or phones in bed, no alcohol before bedtime, keeping the same sleep schedule, no big meals after dinner, and less caffeine.
Eat less wheat
Dr. Daryl Gioffre, Founder of Alkamind and celebrity nutritionist, advises people to eat less wheat. The kind on the market these days is genetically and chemically treated for the most part, which means the digestive system is not only digesting the wheat itself, but the GMOs and chemicals used as well.
“A study showed that if you remove gluten from your diet you remove 38 percent of the total acid from your body,” Dr. Gioffre says. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley products. Gluten is very bad for the thyroid. The first step in treating the gland is to get the patient off gluten. When the body can’t tolerate gluten, it creates antibodies to attack the gluten. As they circulate in the blood, the antibodies get to the thyroid and cross-react, attacking the gland itself.
Milk is acidic and should be avoided, Dr. Gioffre says. He adds that some studies have suggested that people who drink a lot of milk have higher rates of breast cancer. Also, “the body neutralizes the acid in milk by drawing calcium from the bones, which increases the risk of bone fractures,” he adds. Some fitness trainers avoid it for other reasons – there are healthy ways to intake calcium, protein and fat without worrying about what went into the cow.
Get a mini-trampoline
Dr. Gioffre’s favorite fitness equipment is a mini-trampoline, also known as a rebounder. “It’s the most powerful exercise and you can have it in an apartment,” he says. Bouncing on it is an alkalizing exercise – it makes you breathe and increases the amount of oxygen in your heart, lungs, and cells – and a NASA study shows that it is 68 percent more effective than running, Dr. Gioffre adds.
Have more energy
The No. 1 problem Dr. Gioffre says he sees in patients is chronic fatigue. “Many people get 8-10 hours of sleep but are still tired,” he adds. “This is because the body is so acidic from all the bad food people have been consuming, and it works really hard to detoxify itself.” Boost your energy by not skipping meals, improving the quality of your sleep, exercising on regular basis, staying in the sun, and mediating.
Drink more water
“Ninety percent of people are chronically thirsty,” Dr. Gioffre says. “You’re supposed to drink 3-4 liters of water a day,” he adds. Supercharge your water, he suggests, with alkaline powder or put minerals such as magnesium in it to neutralize the acid in the body. Some ways to consume more water during the day include drinking tea, eating soups, setting reminders, and even using a drinking water app.
This is healthy bacteria that your body needs, Dr. Gioffre says. People who are looking to support their immune and digestive health or have recently taken antibiotics should consider a probiotic supplement. It helps balance the good and bad bacteria in the body. The ratio is a critical factor in determining your overall health. Probiotics are not all alike. Get a multi probiotic because it contains several vital live bacteria that are not often found in the intestines, Dr. Gioffre adds.
You don’t have to go on a week-long diet of consuming only cleansing juices to detoxify your body, but you should get rid of the free radicals and harmful chemicals in your system. A drink recipe he (Who?) recommends is an inch piece of turmeric, ginger, a pinch of black pepper that you put in boiled water. Let it sit for at least 10 minutes. Add a lemon slice. You can drink it hot or put it in the fridge and save it for later as a delicious iced-tea, he adds.
Do breathing exercises
“Oxygenation is the most powerful way to energize the body as 70 percent of toxins are removed from the body by breathing,” Dr. Gioffre says. “People really forget to breathe,” he adds, “Because they live with chronic stress.” He recommends what he calls the “365 power breath.” The ratio of 3-6-5 stands for 3 seconds of breathing in, 6 seconds for holding, and 5 seconds to exhale. Do at least 10 reps a day, which will take fewer than three minutes, he adds.
Stay out in the sun
But make sure you apply sunscreen and don’t overdo it. “People seem to be afraid of the sun but being in it is very important because it helps the production of vitamin D, which also helps absorbs calcium in the body,” Dr. Gioffre says. This fat-soluble vitamin helps the muscles, heart, lungs, and brain function properly. Research has shown that 3/4 of U.S. teens and adults are “D-ficient.”
“My goal for 2017 is to volunteer for a ‘yellow vest’ volunteer program launched in Ruidoso, New Mexico, at Ski Apache Mountain,” Dr. Julie Barnett, PT, D.P.T., MTC., assistant professor of physical therapy at the UT Health San Antonio. “I want to be fit enough to help with both the bike and ski patrol teams in the summer and the winter months,” she adds. Volunteering is good for the body and mind, research shows. The biggest benefit is feeling connected to other people. This helps to ward off loneliness and depression. Lower blood pressure and a longer lifespan have also been linked to charitable activities.
“Money cannot buy good health,” Dr. Barnett says. A healthy lifestyle is a jigsaw puzzle of many pieces put in place that doesn’t have to cost a dime. “MOVEMENT is the center piece. The best exercise is the one you will do!” So make it a priority. “Schedule other activities around your protected time to exercise. […] Sign up for a 5K walk. Take swim lessons. Buy a bike. Join an exercise class. Download an exercise app. Buy a fitness tracker. Get a waking buddy. Work with a trainer. Get your injury treated in order to move.”
Modify your routine
“The most common advice I have given patients during 2016 is some form of ‘modification” to their activities to accommodate an injury,” Dr. Barnett says. She recommends: For low back pain, stand more than sit, stretch your hamstrings and strengthen your core without twisting or arching your back; for foot/knee pain, buy new supportive shoes; for neck pain, stand and sit up taller, adjust your computer height so you will sit or stand more erect, sleep on your side or on your back but not on your stomach, strengthen your upper back but do not lift weights above your shoulders; for shoulders, pinch shoulder blades together for better posture, don’t lift your arms far away from your body.
Aerobic or cardiovascular exercise will keep you alive, Dr. Barnett says. “We recommend an hour almost every day of cardiovascular exercise.” Having two different types of exercise can help to avoid an overuse injury if you were to only walk. Add biking or an elliptical as a second exercise to change the forces on the muscles used with walking, she adds. Benefits of aerobics include more energy, boosted metabolism, increased muscle and bone strength, better mood, and flexibility.
Consuming less sugar is a personal health resolution Dr. Lora Shahine at the Pacific NW Fertility and IVF Specialists in Seattle has. “Evidence supports that sugar leads to obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease and our diet is way too packed with sugar,” she adds.
“Sleep is essential for overall health and something we can all try to focus on,” Dr. Shahine says. “A minimum of 7-8 hours each night, a pre-bed routine without screens, and making your room cool, quiet, and peaceful are key steps to get started,” she adds. Dr. Catherine Forest, primary care physician at Stanford Health Care says lights should be out at 10 p.m.
Make self-care a priority
This is the most common advice Dr. Shahine says she has told patients over the last 12 months. “It’s easy to forget yourself in the everyday hustle and bustle of school, work, family, and friend obligations but you will be a better friend, parent, spouse, and have a more productive day at work if you take care of yourself first,” she adds. “It encompasses all aspects of exercise, nutrition, sleep, emotional and physical well-being.”
Everything in moderation
“Remember: Everything in moderation – even moderation,” Dr. Shahine says. “Do not set unattainable goals like going to the gym every day or losing 20 pounds in one month. Be kind to yourself and make every day a new start,” she adds.
Work out on rainy days
This is a personal health resolution for Dr. Catherine Forest, primary care physician at Stanford Health Care. “I intend to carve out time each day for 1 hour of intentional activity on rainy days (sunny and clear days already a habit) with loved ones.
Eat more veggies and fruits
This is a piece of common advice Dr. Forest says she gives to patients, as well as friends and family. Eating healthier is a lot about consuming more fruits and vegetables. They add essential nutrients to diets, reduce the risk for heart disease, stroke, cancer, and help manage healthy body weight.
This is a “universal” goal people should be aiming at, according to Dr. Forest. Gratitude is a habit anyone can adopt and it can do a person a lot of good. Research shows that it has a beneficial effect on physical and mental health. By acknowledging the things you’re grateful for on a daily basis, you’ll not only feel happier, but create feel-good vibes that will bring more good things your way.