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NCHPAD - Building Healthy Inclusive Communities

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Commit to You


By:  Kelly Bonner

This year, forget about unrealistic New Year’s resolutions that you’ll forget by February. In 2013, commit to be a better YOU. It is the time of year when many of us are talking about how much weight we want to lose, how we are going to exercise every day, how we’ll quit smoking, and so forth. These goals are great, but only if we do more than just talk! This year, let’s put aside good intentions and wants, and look at needs! What do you need to be a better, healthier you?  

Do you really need to lose 45 pounds or do you need to lose only 10 pounds and start concentrating on eating more fruits and vegetables? Do you NEED to perform a vigorous workout program every day or do you really need to lower your blood pressure and cholesterol level by engaging in regular physical activity? Do you really need to look like you did when you were in college, or should you be thinking instead about being healthy so you can play with your grandkids, lowering your blood pressure to decrease your chances of having a stroke, or keeping moving so your joints won’t hurt. 

Looking at things from the perspective of needs instead of wants helps us to see the true importance of our commitments, and in turn, we might work a little harder and stick with them a little longer to get the desired outcome. So, I challenge you to take an introspective look and decide what your NEEDS are this year.

A picture of measuring tape, an apple, and a pair of dumbbells

Maybe you or your family members need to break some old habits this year like the amount of sedentary time you spend in front of a screen like the TV, computer, gaming system or phone. The Kaiser Family Foundation recently put out the staggering statistic: kids spend about 7.5 hours a day in front of a screen for entertainment purposes alone. That doesn’t include homework or school time.  (Go to http://makinghealtheasier.org/getmoving for more information about kids and screen time.) Are you an adult whose job keeps you behind a screen 8 hours a day? If so, do you go home and take the dog for a walk, or do you plop down in front of the television or computer to catch up on the latest news?

Other habits you might need to break:  smoking, eating dessert after dinner, or going to bed too late. All of these can lead to an unhealthy you. Take desserts, for example. Is eating a dessert, in and of itself, bad? Of course not, but if you fill your body with unhealthy calories than you won’t leave room for the good ones. I recently replaced most snacks I eat during the day with fruit. Now I not only consume fewer calories and fat grams (which will, in turn, help me lose weight) but I am also filling my body with antioxidants that make me feel great and give me energy throughout my day so I can hit the gym after work. Not getting enough sleep is also unhealthy. Without adequate rest you’re likely to feel groggy throughout the day, which may cause you to drink high-calorie, caffeinated drinks, or leave you too exhausted for physical activity.  

Let’s look at some things that you need to start doing. Should you be taking a closer look at your blood pressure or cholesterol levels? Do you need to do a better job of remembering to take your medication? Is it time to incorporate some type of physical activity in your life so that you can remain healthy or get your health back under control? Regular physical activity is a “gift that keeps on giving” and the benefits are almost endless. For example, those who engage in regular physical activity can lower their blood pressure, increase their HDL’s (the good cholesterol), better control their blood sugar levels, lose weight, increase their energy -  the list could go on and on. With all the benefits, it is hard to imagine why more people aren’t participating.

This year you resolve to take control of wants and needs, and make a difference in your life. Make the choice today to commit to a new, healthier YOU in 2013!


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