Welcome to Doctors’ Notes, our newest contribution from Urban Health correspondents and husband and wife physicians Dr. Rob and Dr. Karla Robinson. The dynamic duo will be fielding questions about health, as it relates to African Americans. Please feel free to send them questions via firstname.lastname@example.org. We promise to keep it anonymous.
For many, January 1st means a renewed commitment to faith, family, and personal goals. Studies show that about 45% of people have either weight loss or beginning an exercise program as their New Year’s resolution. However, many jump out of the gate making common mistakes that are a setup for sure failure by the end of January.
We’ve all done it. We’ve all had grand plans at the beginning of the year to attain the physique we’ve always wanted. Some of us are ready ditch the medicines we’ve been taking. Others of us are looking to swear off that unhealthy habit that’s been plaguing us for years. Yet, somehow by March we’re no longer in the gym, back to our old habits and feeling like things will never change. This year, instead of feeling guilty about not sticking to your plan for better health, follow these simple rules to make 2017 your healthiest year yet.
Be Realistic. Make realistic, measurable short term goals to build upon. You’ll be more likely to stick to it, and more likely to be successful. Don’t just say “I want to lose weight in 2017”, make it a measurable goal and say “I want to lose 7 pounds by the end of January”. That way you can celebrate the small victories and feel motivated to continue the journey towards wellness.
Don’t Do it Alone. It’s important to have an accountability partner. Make it a family affair and get everyone on board in the household. Studies show that when you surround yourself with people who are eating healthy and exercising you are likely to do the same. It is definitely much easier to accomplish your goal when others are rooting for you and encouraging you along the way.
Don’t Overdo It. It’s good to be excited and zealous about your new health goals, but don’t let your excitement get the best of you. Pace yourself and increase your intensity slowly. This is the best way to avoid sidelining injuries and setbacks that can spiral you back into your old habits.
Don’t Forget to Include Your Doctor. This is one of the biggest mistakes people make. Make sure you get clearance from your doctor before you start an exercise and/or new nutrition regimen. It’s always a good idea to ensure that your new lifestyle changes don’t conflict with any of your physical conditions or medications. This is also very important to speak to your doctor if you are considering any supplements or vitamins.
Remember to Use the World Around You. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t have a gym membership or fancy equipment. Being intentional about fitness and health goals means you can take the stairs instead of the elevator. Use 40 minutes of daily housework or yardwork. It all counts as forms of exercise as long as you get your heart rate up. For resistance training, try using canned goods or water bottles as hand weights. You’d be surprised, but the little you may have goes a long way.
It’s a health thing…we’ve got to understand!
About the Doctors:
Dr. Karla and Dr. Rob are the founders of Urban Housecall, a multimedia health and wellness resource, and also hosts of the Urban Housecall Radio Show. For more from the doctors, visit their website at www.urbanhousecall.com, like them on Facebook, and follow them on Twitter @urbanhousecall!