Making Healthy Choices: It’s easier than you think!
New Year’s resolutions are so easy to make — and break. Why is it so hard to make them last? Scientists, funded by the National Institutes of Health, are learning more about how we can make healthy changes and sustain them.
“Change is always possible,” says Dr. Linda Nebeling, an expert in behavioral change and nutrition at NIH. “One challenge with New Year’s resolutions is that people often set unrealistic goals. Any resolution to change needs to include small goals that are definable and accompanied by a solid plan on how you’ll get to that goal.”
A resolution to quit smoking, or lose 30 pounds, may seem overwhelming. Instead, take it a step at a time. Talk with your doctor or pharmacist about a quit plan and smoking-cessation aids. Try losing five pounds a month for six months. Baby steps, taken consistently, will get you to your goal.
Think about why you want to make the change. Is it important to you, or is
it mostly influenced by others, such as your doctor, your spouse or a friend? Research suggests that if it’s something you really want for yourself, if it’s meaningful to you, you’re more likely to stick to it.
Source: National Institutes of Health
Ready to Quit Smoking?
These Tips Can Help
Are you one of the more than 70% of smokers who want to quit? Check out this advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
- Write down why you want to quit. Do you want to enjoy better health? Set a good example for your children? Protect your family from second-hand smoke?
- Recognize that quitting will take commitment and effort. Nearly all smokers have some feelings of nicotine withdrawal when they try to quit. Nicotine is addictive. Acknowledging this will help you deal with withdrawal symptoms that can occur, such as bad moods and really wanting to smoke.
- Get help. For free resources and assistance, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669)
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Skin Care for Busy Women
Simple Steps Make All the Difference
Follow these easy steps to keep your skin healthy and radiant.
- Bathe in warm-not hot- water using mild cleansers that don’t irritate. Wash gently. Don’t scrub.
- Keep skin from drying out by drinking plenty of water and using gentle moisturizers, lotions, or creams.
- Practice sun safety to prevent skin cancer, whatever your skin color or ethnicity. Limit exposure to the midday sun. Wear protective clothing, such as wide-brimmed hates and long sleeves. Use sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher and with both UVA and UVB protection. Avoid sunlamps and tanning booths.
- Check your skin for sun damage. Tell your doctor about changes on the skin, such as a new growth, a sore that doesn’t heal or a change in an old growth. Ask your doctor how often you should have a clinical skin exam.
Source: Office on Women’s Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Is Yoga for You?
Find a class that fits your needs.
These days, it’s possible to learn yoga by following DVDs, online classes and even apps. But beginners usually find it helpful to learn with an instructor. Classes also offer a sense of community and the opportunity to make new friends. When you find a class that sounds interesting, talk with the instructor so that you know what to expect. Questions to ask include:
• What are the instructor’s qualifications? Where did he or she train and how long has he or she been teaching?
• Does the instructor have experience working with students with your needs or health concerns? If you have a sore knee or an aching shoulder, can the instructor help you find poses that won’t aggravate your condition?
• How demanding is the class? Is it suitable for beginners? Will it be easy enough to follow along if it’s your first time? What can you expect from the class? Is it aimed at your needs, such as stress management or relaxation, or is it geared toward people who want to reap other benefits?
• What can you expect from the class? Is it aimed at your needs, such as stress management or relaxation, or is it geared toward people who want to reap other benefits?
Source: Mayo ClinicIs Yoga for You?Find a Class That Fits Your Needs
Your Prescription for Healthy Eating
When it is cold outside, you want something comforting to take off the chill, and nothing is better than soup to warm you from the inside out. Plus, January is the time for resolutions to lose those extra pounds. Warm up and slim down with a big bowl of low-calorie soup.
Spicy Chicken Mushroom Soup
4 1/4 cups 99% fat-free chicken broth
1 to 3 teaspoons Thai red curry paste*
1 tablespoon Thai fish sauce
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
Zest and juice of 2 small limes
4 ounces baby Portobello mushrooms, sliced
One small bunch spring onions, sliced, whites and greens separated
1 1/2 cups leftover chicken breast, shredded
1/3 cup shredded spinach or kale
Sliced red Thai chilies (optional)
Place the stock into a saucepan and heat, then stir in the curry paste, fish sauce, sugar, lime juice and most of the zest. Bring to a boil, then add the mushrooms and whites of the spring onion. Cover, then simmer for 2 minutes. Stir in the chicken, spinach and most of the spring-onion greens and gently heat through, then ladle into bowls. Serve with the remaining zest, remaining sliced spring onion, extra lime juice, sugar, fish sauce and Thai sliced chilies on the side so everyone can adjust the flavor and heat of their own bowl of soup. (NOTE: Warn diners that the red chilies are HOT.)
172 Calories; 4g Fat (16.5% calories from fat); trace Saturated Fat; 33g Protein; 11g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 53mg Cholesterol; 704mg Sodium. Exchanges: 0 Grain (Starch); 4 Lean Meat; 1/2 Vegetable; 0 Fruit; 1/2 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates.
Recipe is low fat, low calorie and gluten free.
Recipe courtesy of LowFatLifestyle.com. Visit them on the web and get more free recipes and healthy-cooking tips at LowFatLifestyle.com.
Are You a Caregiver?
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
Being a caregiver to an adult who is dealing with illness can be a rewarding experience. It also can be challenging. It’s important to not try to go it alone. Accepting help from others isn’t always easy. When tough things happen, many people tend to pull away. They think, “We can handle this on our own.” But things can get harder as the patient goes through treatment. As a result, you may feel there is just too much on your plate.
Take a look at how busy you are now. Be honest with yourself about what you can do. Think about tasks you can give to others. And let go of tasks that aren’t as important right now. Asking for help also helps your loved one. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Remember, if you get help for yourself:
- You may stay healthier and have more energy to care for your loved one.
- Your loved one may feel less guilty about your help.
- Other helpers may offer time and skills that you don’t have.
Source: National Cancer Institute
Choosing Healthy Food as You Get Older
Want to improve your diet in a simple, easy-to-do way? Check out these tips from the National Council on Aging.
• Look for important nutrients. Your plate should look like a rainbow — bright, colored foods are best! A healthy meal should include lean protein (lean meats, seafood, eggs and beans); fruits and vegetables (think orange, red, green and purple); whole grains (brown rice, whole-wheat pasta); and low-fat dairy. Remember to choose foods that are high in fiber and low in sodium. Also, look for vitamin D, an important mineral as we age.
• Read the Nutrition Facts label. The healthiest foods are whole foods found on the perimeter of the grocery store in the produce, meat and dairy sections. When you do eat packaged foods, read the labels to find items that are lower in fat, added sugars and sodium.
• Stay hydrated. Don’t let yourself get dehydrated. Drink small amounts of fluids consistently throughout the day. Tea, coffee and water are your best choices.
Source: National Council on Aging