9 Tips to Help Keep Those Healthy Resolutions

“New Year, new you!” It’s the perfect time to create a healthier, happier version of yourself. Yeisel Barquin, M.D., a Baptist Health Primary Care physician specializing in weight-loss medicine, obesity and diabetes, says to start with a health screening from your physician. “It’s important when you start a nutrition or exercise program, to know what your goals are and what you have to focus on,” she said. Dr. Barquin offers these 9 tips for reaching your fitness and nutrition goals:

• Focus on fun. Think about the type of physical activity you enjoy. Fun is important, because if you view exercise as just another obligation to fulfill, you won’t stick with it.
• Include friends and family. Research shows that exercising with someone achieves better results.
• Be realistic, particularly in the beginning. Dr. Barquin recommends 45 minutes of exercise five days a week for weight loss. However, 15 minutes a day may be a starting point, depending on your fitness level.
• Choose an affordable option. Exercise does not have to include expensive gym wear, a trip to the gym or a personal trainer. Choose an exercise routine you can afford.
• Look for opportunities to exercise. Use half of your lunch hour to walk. Are your kids involved in organized sports? Walk or jog around the edge of the field when your kids have soccer practice. “Keep moving,” Dr. Barquin says.
• Count calories and focus on portion control. For people who must lose weight, counting calories is an important tool, since most people usually underestimate their calorie intake.
• Limit processed foods, and choose the Mediterranean-style diet. Some processed foods contain additives that may impact metabolism. Unlike restrictive diets, the Mediterranean-style diet includes all food groups, fish or lean meat, vegetables and good carbohydrates and fats
• Sleep at least 7.5 hours per night. People who are sleep-deprived produce more ghrelin the hormone that increases appetite. Without enough sleep, weight loss is much more difficult.
• Release anxiety. Anxiety affects our sleep patterns and ultimately our eating. Prayer, meditation, and yes, exercise can help you relieve stress and maintain a healthy diet.

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