If you have set out at the beginning of the year to achieve some health goals, you don’t have to wait till December to review them. You can take stock of the progress that you have made in January.
Did you intend to get rid of cakes, pastries and basically junk food from your children’s menu? Or do you keep loading their lunch packs with biscuits and candies because you don’t have the time to prepare a home cooked meal for them?
Did you vow to cut back on meat and sugar consumption, but lots of red meat and soda drinks must accompany every meal you eat at home or in your office canteen?
You are not alone. Many people have also resolved at different times to visit the gym in their homes or offices for 30 minutes of good exercise, at least.
However, we are now in January and most people have yet to visit the gym as planned, while some who registered have failed to show up. It could also be that you promised to do a comprehensive medical check-up, yet you have not seen your doctor this year!
Experts say that many set out to lead healthy lives, but a few actually do so in the first three months of setting such goals.
Good health does not just happen. It is important to set goals when considering your health and wellness. Many set and achieve their career goals but fail to do the same for their health.
Public health physician, Dr. Seyi Adeniran, warns that, with the increasing incidence of non-communicable diseases, comprising diabetes, hypertension, cancer and heart disease, it will be dangerous for individuals to leave their health in the hands of fate this year.
Adeniran notes that many factors, such as increased urbanisation, environmental pollution, increased consumption of fatty, carcinogenic and processed foods by and adults children, have undeniably exposed more people to deadly diseases.
He, however, notes that this is no excuse for one to flow with the tide and compromise one’s well-being.
The physician advises that one should choose the good side of civilisation, such as better access to state -of –the-art medical services, not the ugly side that could cut short one’s life.
“Many things come with civilisation. Some are good and others are bad for our health, such as pollution. We must now do everything to reduce the effect on our lives through our daily health habits. The fact that you work longer hours and don’t have time to cook does not mean you should start eating processed carcinogenic foods.
“That you are always at work does not mean that you should not look for avenues to exercise and burn excess calories in order to ensure that you are not a candidate for heart attack or disease.
“Also, the fact that you are very busy is not a tenable excuse for giving your kids cakes or fried foods that have no nutritional value. Such foods would even make them less healthy. It is so bad that many adults above the age of 40 years have never done a comprehensive medical check up. This is worse than ignorance and you know what they say it does: it kills.” he notes.
Living a healthy life is easier said than done. A survey by doctors in 20 countries of the world showed that only 20 per cent of patients who were told to cut back on meat consumption and exercise daily adhered to the advice.
Do you want to be among the 20 per cent that did well or the 80 that failed to do so? It is up to you to decide, no one else can.
For successful weight loss and health eating, here are some strategies to help you stay on track:
Since your weight can fluctuate daily, weigh yourself once a week at the same time of day, on the same day of the week and on the same scales. If possible, try and wear the same clothes. Seeing that you have lost weight during the week will inspire you to keep going or motivate you for the week ahead.
Celebrate small successes – even if it means losing some pounds or sticking to your exercise plan for the week – but avoid rewarding yourself with an unhealthy food-based treat that could undo all your hard work
Finding the right support package for you is important – whether it implies losing weight with a friend or colleague, so you can encourage each other, or using a weight loss programme tailored to your needs.
Be realistic about your weight loss goal – set yourself lots of small milestones to work towards rather than one big end goal as this will help you to stay motivated
Re-size you diet with a better understanding of portion size. Use kitchen scales, measuring cups and spoons when cooking at home, as well as smaller plates and glasses to help you consume less
Eat protein at every meal as it can help you feel fuller for longer periods. Try and incorporate healthy proteins, such as fish, lean meat, eggs, nuts, beans and lentils
Try keeping a food diary – this will help you to see if you are snacking unnecessarily during the day and if you are eating balanced and healthy meals
Re-stock your kitchen cupboards with healthy foods and snacks – removing the temptation of more fattening foods will help you to stay on track.