Resolve to be a better you

The New Year is a great time to make healthy lifestyle changes. The most common resolutions focus on losing weight, getting fit, quitting smoking, and reducing stress. These are important themes that can reduce your risk of disease. Here are ways you can achieve your goals this year.

Losing Weight/Getting Fit 

A weight loss of five to seven percent of your body weight can improve your health and quality of life. It can also help prevent weight-related health problems, like diabetes.

Changing your eating habits and increasing your physical activity are keys to successful weight loss and help to maintain optimal weight for the rest of your life. Create a plan for healthy eating and increased physical activity, while taking in fewer calories than you use. Your healthy eating plan should include:

  • Taking into account foods you like and dislike
  • A focus on fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
  • Consuming fat-free or low-fat dairy products such as yogurt, cheese, and milk
  • Protein sources such as lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts
  • Avoiding saturated and trans fats such as animal fat, butter, and hydrogenated oils
  • Staying away from foods high in sodium and added sugars

For more information on weight management and improving nutritional practices, visit the US National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases at

Regular physical activity for at least 30 minutes each day, or broken up into several shorter periods of 20, 15, or 10 minutes, can help you lose weight, keep it off, and stay fit. It can also improve your energy and mood and lower your risk for heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers. Try some of these physical activities:

  • Walking (15-minute miles or 4 miles per hour)
  • Biking
  • Tennis
  • Aerobic exercise classes (step aerobics, kickboxing, dancing)
  • Yard work or house cleaning (gardening, raking, mopping, vacuuming)

Taking the first step can be the hardest part. Start slowly, at a level that is comfortable for you and add activity as you go along. Sometimes, it helps to have a friend or activity buddy when you start out. It is recommended that adults get at least two and a half hours of moderate physical activity each week. Strengthening activities, such as push-ups, sit-ups, or lifting weights, at least two days per week are also encouraged.

For more information on getting fit, visit the US President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports at

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