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January 2001 Issue
Healthy Thoughts for a New Year
by Ronda L. Halpin
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The New Year brings with it countless resolutions that are often set aside as quickly as the Christmas tree. But, New Year's resolutions don't have to be a lesson in futility. It's as simple as making choices that fit within your lifestyle. If you've been eating a super-sized fast food lunch for the last five years, resolving to have celery and water this year is setting yourself up for failure. Why not opt instead to cut those trips to the fast food joint down to once or twice a week and decide to walk there instead of drive? You're so much more likely to succeed with goals like that.

Since so many New Year's resolutions involve health issues, it's important to note that it's not necessary to give up your favorite foods. However, think about how you can update them to include healthier ingredients or, if that's just not possible, reduce the amount of them that show up in your normal menu. If you love french fries, why not experiment with some of the great oven-baked recipes out there? Or, if you're really partial to the real thing, try to limit your consumption of them. Telling yourself that you will never eat another fry is not very realistic -- especially if they are on your list of favorite foods.

Try to find ways to improve your lifestyle that won't cramp it or -- better yet -- will be fun for you to do. Going for walking break -- instead of a coffee break -- with your best friend and talking about life is so fun that it hardly even feels like something that's good for your body! Making food that's healthy for you doesn't have to be boring either. Enjoying a meal of grilled salmon tacos with fresh salsa is so tasty that you'll have to remind yourself that your meal is also healthy fuel for you.

Finally, one resolution that gets overlooked too often is stress reduction. So many of the health and family problems we find ourselves suffering from stem from the stress we have in our lives. Some of it cannot be avoided. In those cases, we need to remind ourselves that over half of good stress management is handling that unavoidable stress in stride. However, a lot of the stress we suffer from is brought on by ourselves. This year, try to find ways to deal with the stress you can't avoid and rid yourself of the stress you can and you will be well on your way to improving your lifestyle. And, after all, isn't that what New Year's resolutions are all about?

I'd like to leave you with a simple list of resolutions that I've gathered from family and friends that I think helps to illustrate how simple good resolutions can be. It all begins with three simple words --I resolve to ...

  • spend more time moving.

  • spend less time frowning.

  • eat fish at least twice a week.

  • eat fried food less than twice a week.

  • take more long walks with my loved ones.

  • take fewer trips to the donut shop.

  • enjoy more time in the garden.

  • enjoy less time in front of the television.

  • work out at least three times a week.

  • work overtime only when absolutely necessary.

  • try something new to improve my health.

  • try making more time for myself and my family.
Happy New Year -- make it a good one!


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