Make 2014 the year of change

Now that 2014 is in full swing, how are you faring with your New Year’s resolutions? This likely has been a hot topic of many conversations. 
What are you doing differently to improve your health? My niece said she would avoid sweetened drinks. A colleague has diligently been training for a fitness challenge and run. I’ve heard mention of personal goals that include everything from packing healthy lunches for work to flossing teeth more often! As for me, I am bonding, once again, with my treadmill and eyeing that yoga mat that was stuck away in the closet.
Many of us want to lose weight this year, but are gun-shy about thinking about THAT number. Maybe it’s been a while since you’ve been on the scale and faced the truth about your weight. Most of us would rather have a root canal than step on the scale at the doctor’s office! It’s tricky. We don’t want to obsess over an “ideal” weight, which could cascade into an unhealthy relationship with food while we strive for THAT number. Being fit and having more muscle is really where it’s at. So, should you care about THAT number? 
Yes, you should. Here’s why.
Health practitioners say that aside from your smoking status, your body weight is the single most powerful predictor of your health. The more excess weight you carry, especially around your mid-section, the greater your risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer. 
Does that mean we should pull out our tape measure to know our waist size? Yes! Measure your bare waist, just above the hip bones. Keep the tape measure level, exhale, relax and take your measurement.
For women: less than 32 inches is optimal. 
For men: less than 37 inches is optimal. 
A waist size greater than 35 inches for women and 40 inches for men puts you at high risk of chronic disease.
Body Mass Index (BMI) is a measure of your weight relative to your height. This calculator from the American Heart Association® can help you determine your BMI so you can learn whether you meet current medical definitions of normal weight, overweight or obese. 
Realistic goals
Have a positive mindset about getting healthy. I challenge you to think about realistic health goals that have the added benefit, in most cases, of whittling down the weight. After all, research proves that most people can make small, easy health changes on a consistent basis. Pick some low-hanging fruit (literally and figuratively). Tackle goals you can accomplish and that make sense for your lifestyle and schedule. Pick two to four changes, master them and move forward.
What will you do? The sky’s the limit, but you’ve got to want it! Here are some ideas:
• Dump the sugary drinks 
• Eat a healthy breakfast 
• Pass the drive-thru and pack your lunch 
• Exercise 15 minutes before work and 15 minutes after 
• Load up more on non-starchy vegetables 
• Slow down at meals 
Tracking tips:
• Grab a buddy to help you be accountable and track your health progress in 2014. 
• Learn about our 8 Healthy Habits and use our Track It form to chart your progress.
• Download the MyFitnessPal® app on your phone to keep a record of what you eat. 
 YOU are the only person who can make YOU healthy. Be the ruler of your health destiny! 
Looking for more motivation? Read One Year, One Healthy Change, a blog by Mark O'Shaughnessy, MD, PPG – Cardiology. 
American Heart Association® is a trademark of American Heart Association, Inc.
MyFitnessPal® is a trademark of MyFitnessPal, Inc.


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