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Healthy Tips For 2003

Although the official New Year’s holiday has come and gone, your New Year’s resolutions are following you.

Even if you’ve given up making New Year’s resolutions because they seem unattainable, experts at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee have some simple tips to improve lifestyle, health and diet that don’t require heroic will power.

Perhaps the goals you set last year were unrealistic, according to Dr. Russell Robertson, a member of the college medical staff.

“Vague plans to ‘lose weight’, ‘exercise more’ and ‘save money’ fail due to lack of specificity,” Robertson said.

He offered these suggestions:

* Eat a balanced breakfast every day before work. A bowl of non-sweetened cereal with or without fruit and a glass of orange juice are all you need. This will give you early morning energy and reduce midmorning cravings for junk food.

* If your over age forty and haven’t seen a physician in the past year, make an appointment for a healthcare maintenance exam, instead of waiting for a medical problem to appear and evolve into a serious illness.

* Take an “indulgence” inventory regarding what you eat and drink; the substances that may be harming you (such as tobacco); and how you entertain yourself (such as what you view on television or the Internet).

* Use the stairs as often at possible when you’re at work. Take a walk three times each week, preferably with a friend.

* Plan a realistic budget. Try to determine weekly amounts of money for groceries, gas and general expenditures.

The American Heart Association (AHA) dietary guidelines also can help you eat healthier and lose weight , according to Dr. Theodore Kotchen, a professor of medicine at the Wisconsin facility.

The AHA guidelines are easy to use because they stress overall eating patterns, rather than percentages of dietary fat or other nutrients, he explained. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, legumes (beans), whole grains, low-fat dairy products, fish, lean meats and poultry is still the basis of the AHA recommendations, he added.

For obese individuals, the guidelines recommend a gradual weight loss of no more than two pounds a week, Kotchen said.

“Simply put, to lose weight, you must eat fewer calories than you burn and increase physical activity, such as brisk walking, to at least 30 minutes daily,” he said.

© 2003 Health Resources Publishing