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December 31, 2013

Step Into the New Year

by Hansa Bhargava, MD

As a mom of two kids and a pediatrician, I always strive to be healthier. And, interestingly, I hear this a lot from the parents of my patients. The other day, I had a mom say, “I’m planning a BIG change — I’m going to lose 20 pounds in 2014.” Although I admire her drive, one issue that can thwart our goals is “BIG.” When we plan something that is difficult and large in scale, there are naturally more opportunities to stumble along the way and fall short of that goal. So here are my tips to move toward a healthier lifestyle, one step at a time:

  1. Food. This is a big area that we all want to change. But instead of saying you will eat ONLY salads ALL the time, why not strive for a small, doable baby step?

How about cooking at home? One study showed that a fast food meal can add on 300 more calories than if you cooked the same meal at home! So just cook one more meal at home. Then work yourself up to 3-4 times a week. With leftovers, you would have most of the week covered.

  1. Move. Yes, parents, that means you! Move that body, but instead of the marathon being the goal, start with baby steps. Just add in 10-15 minutes of walking, running, or doing something 3 days a week. Then, when you’ve done this for a few weeks, increase the time slowly. Soon you will be doing it the recommended 30 minutes.
  2. Take time for yourself. I cannot stress enough how important this is, especially for parents.

Relax and get enough sleep so you’ll have the energy to make good decisions about diet, exercise, and the big things in your life. So take that nice bath and enjoy that book. It will help you and your family in the long run!

What are your New Year’s resolutions? What baby steps will you take toward your goals?

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