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Navigating Healthcare

Submitted By Diane L Marolla, LICSW, MarollaConsultants@yahoo.com

Commitment to Health and Well Being in 2018

“I believe the greatest gift you can give your family and the world is a healthier you.” – Joyce Meyer

We are a month into 2018 and many of us have made New Year’s resolutions. A new year always gives us all a new beginning to make changes in our lives that may need tweaking. Resolutions are always well intentioned, but unfortunately, according to proactivechange.com, 50% of the New Year’s resolutions that Americans make each year fail at the six-month mark. Also, according to proactivechange.com:

40-45% of adult Americans make a New Year’s resolution
Weight loss and exercise are the top 2 New Year’s resolutions (quitting smoking is the 3rd)

The weight loss industry certainly loves the month of January as they make billions of dollars from Americans wanting to lose weight and to exercise. We see advertisement after advertisement for special foods, equipment, fitness centers, medications, and programs enticing people that these are the solutions to effective weight loss. Ultimately, most of these programs count on people failing, so that they can make money.

If you have made a New Year’s resolution to get healthier in 2018 by all means keep it. If you have already fallen off the wagon, dust yourself off, and commit to better health in 2018. The health of your mind, body and soul should be your number one priority each and every day. Your body truly is your temple.

Ultimately, a commitment to better health starts with a good attitude, and a realistic plan. It does not have to be expensive at all. Before I review some easy, cost effective ways of improving your health and well being, I first want to cover some things you should not do:

Do not starve yourself in any way shape or form. Restricting food, will only sabotage any plans you have for a healthier you.
Do not waste your money on expensive prepared diet foods. Most of them are filled with preservatives and have a high sodium content.
Do not weigh yourself constantly. (I am a firm believer in not even weighing myself at all as I believe a scale is counterproductive in achieving true health. I am weighed once per year at my annual visit with my doctor. I strictly go by my clothes and how they fit.)
Do not set high expectations. For example, do not say that you are going to get up at four o’clock every morning and work out every day for two hours before you go to work.

Instead, start small and slow. As my wise mother used to say “Rome wasn’t built in a day”. First, dedicate 20-30 minutes a day to some form of physical exercise (Please don’t say you don’t have 20 or 30 minutes a day for yourself. We make time for what is important to us. Your health should be a priority as you cannot take care of anyone or anything unless you take care of yourself first.) You can either carve out that time each day or break it up during the course of your day. Whatever you decide, ensure that your physical exercise is written in your daily calendar. If you don’t block out the time on your calendar, it won’t happen. Block out the time just as you would block out time for an appointment or a meeting.

If you work during the day, use your breaks during the day to walk. Take a pair of sneakers and leave them in the trunk of your car. If your employer “frowns” on you taking time for yourself during the day, that is concerning. A healthier you, will ensure low absenteeism in the workplace. Also, check with your employer to see if they have purchased a wellness program for it’s employees. If your company has a wellness program, take advantage of that benefit.

Some individuals find pairing up with a buddy can help with their overall health and fitness plan, however, don’t be dependent on that buddy each and every day. Learn to enjoy your physical activity alone. I enjoy working out alone versus having a buddy. I listen to my 80’s music (which always includes Prince, Duran Duran and Pat Benatar), and enjoy my physical activity.

In choosing a form of physical activity, do not pick something that you hate to do. Think about the things you loved as a child. Did you swim? Did you skate? Did you ride your bike? My main form of physical activity is walking outside. I love to walk outside versus being in doors at a gym. I also enjoy ice skating, roller blading, biking, and yes, boxing! If you choose walking as your main source of physical exercise, be sure to have a location that is safe to walk. Most cities and towns have running tracks at the local schools. Your taxes paid for the track, so you might as well use it. Also, we have a beautiful state with beautiful places to walk. My favorite place to walk is Rocky Point in Warwick, RI. I also enjoy walking on the Blackstone River in Cumberland, RI.

If you are going to pay for something related to exercise, I highly recommend working with a personal trainer. They are not expensive, they will keep you motivated, accountable, and they will teach you how to best maximize your exercise. I have been working out with my trainer, Derek, for 3 years. I go to him once per week for an hour. He is completely affordable and teaches me something new each week.

Remember, physical activity alone, will not help keep you healthy. There is something to be said for “you are what you eat”. Planning how you will eat and what you will eat is critical in getting healthy. Also, do not use the excuse that healthy food is too expensive. If you plan meals, prepare meals, and eat out less, there will be no issues with buying healthy foods.

When you are in the super market, remember that the healthy food is on the peripheral of the super market. It is your fruits, vegetables, dairy, meats, fish, and grains. When you start going up and down the aisles of the super market, most of it is processed foods.

If you love fried foods, there are baked recipes that are equally as delicious. I love my eggplant, but I haven’t fried it in years. I have a wonderful recipe that is baked. I don’t use bread crumbs, eliminate the cheese, put spinach and marinara sauce instead, and I am in eggplant heaven.

If you love junk food, simply stop buying it. Please don’t use the excuse that you buy it for your children, because at the end of the day, they shouldn’t be eating it either.

Certainly you will need to carve out time to cook healthy meals for you and your family. Again, we make time for what is important to us. When you carve out that time, make “extra” food that you can freeze. Freezing food helps you with the “time factor”.

If you need help or coaching on eating healthier, it is worth the time, energy, and money to see a nutritionist. Very much like a personal trainer for your body, they can coach you in how to eat properly. Many insurance plans now cover visits to a nutritionist, so if you have that as part of your health benefits, take advantage of it.

When you do eat, make sure you eat at a table. Eat slowly, and enjoy the meal. Eating on the “fly” promotes bad choices and overeating. If you have a family, sit at the table, and eat and enjoy the meal together. This is the time of day where everyone can talk about their day, and connect as a family.

Ultimately, take one day at a time to meet your healthy goals for 2018 as there is no quick fix. Be patient and kind to yourself every day, and make the time for a healthier you.