Did we say “guaranteed” way to get healthier? No way, doctors never guarantee anything. We advise, we suggest, we recommend based on “most likely” out comes and we suspect that an outcome will happen but we never promise. So what could we possibly be promising? We are guaranteeing that if you take these few simple steps toward better health you will in fact achieve your desired effects of losing weight, feeling better and improving your over all health.
Many people overpromise. Follow this diet, and lose 30 pounds. Do this cleanse, and be healthy. Exercise this way, and get the perfect body! But yet, year after year, many of us try these programs, diets, regimens and seem to end up back where we started, or even worse. The key is actually not taking on too many big changes. Rather, small measured changes that eventually ad up to a great new path towards health and wellness.
What do we mean by this? We mean that doing a complete health overhaul often backfires. People change their lives completely, swear off sugar, commit to 90 min at the gym every day and take on other huge tasks in the name of health. These can include cleanses, big packs of multiple vitamins taken throughout the day, protein powders and more. We are here to to tell you this does not work.
How do we know so well what does and doesn’t work? Simple. Decades of seeing literally thousands of patients. We see and hear all the health successes and failures. It turns out there is a pattern to the failures vs. the successes. The failures tend to start with a very short lived success (“I lost 30 pounds on Keto but then I stopped and gained 50 pounds a year later”) or (I started this crazy exercise regimen and felt great but then I blew out my knee and haven’t gone back in months). The ones that seem to be long lasting successes are the people who don’t identify a radical change, but rather a “baby steps” approach. “I started to watch my portion sizes and limit desserts.” or “I started walking with a friend a few times a week and now I’m a regular.” See what we mean? Small, gradual. Slow and steady does win this race.
So what does that mean for those of us, sitting here resolute to change our health in 2019? It means make a few reasonable goals. If you can’t come up with ones that work for you, try these:
–Start watching portions. This could mean cutting restaurant meals in half or setting aside your servings of food at home (this includes “seconds” and “tastes”). Set aside premade or preportioned to be used during the day– helps limit endless snacking (even with healthy foods, the calories add up).
–Consider a healthy eating plan that is maintainable in the long term such as Weight Watchers (not a sponsor, we just love their program). Find something that you can do that allows for travel, eating out and special occasion splurges.
–If you drink 4 drinks or more per week, consider cutting back. This is hard for some to imagine, but note that alcohol is both a huge source of calories and a gateway to other indiscretionary eating. It is also not healthy for women to drink more then a few drinks per week because of breast cancer risk, while for men one drink daily is the “recommended” amount. Less will not hurt you or your waistline and it will help your pocket book too, BTW.
–Up your exercise. For those of you without this habit already, you can so easily improve! Either start a walking regimen (10 min daily or 30 min a few days per week is a great start) or a simple exercise plan. This could be as easy as the New York Times 7 minute workout. Who doesn’t have 7 minutes? Some online yoga is also a great free option. Or bite the bullet and join a gym, with the understanding that you are actually going to go to the gym two-three times weekly (know in advance when those time will be). If you are already a regular exerciser and we are preaching to the choir, think of some thing small you can do to up your game (extra cardio? some added weight training or perhaps just filling in days off with some stretching).
–Get the right vitamins. And we do not mean take handfuls of pills here! We can all benefit from better nutrition and one of the easiest ways to do this is via a personalized multivitamin. Taking too many or the wrong vitamins can actually do more harm than good. Taking the right combination of nutrients for your individual needs based on your diet, lifestyle and health history can make all the difference. This small step and easy habit to adopt can help you feel better, more energetic and more able to control your eating, all ultimately aiding in the weight loss process. And you don’t even have to leave your couch to do this!
–Make sure you commit to getting healthy sleep. Often overlooked, good sleep habits are essential to all aspects of your health. In fact, even losing weight is facilitated by getting good quality sleep. So don’t let this important part of your regimen get cut short in the name of other tasks in your life.
–Become more mindful. Mindfulness and meditation are great ways to help reduce anxiety, stress and improve you approach to life. Learning these techniques and employing them can be a great way to aid in focusing on other aspects of your health. Check out phone apps like Headspace or Calm or go to mindful.org for more info.
–Don’t forget to make sure you are up to date with your doctors and other aspects of your health. We are doctors so of course we recommend this 🙂 But seriously, make sure you caught up with all appropriate screening tests, such as mammography.
So take a few or all of these suggestions to heart, or perhaps all of them. But whatever you do, make small realistic changes. If you stick to them, reassess your plan in a few weeks or months and make more changes in the right direction at that time. Don’t expect to lose 20 pounds in a flash, but rather over a few months –this way your weight loss will last more than a few months. If you commit to making small changes you should also plan for occasional lapses. You will overeat on occasion, you will miss a planned work out. DO NOT let these missteps let you get off course. Make up for overeating by having a great next meal or next day. Remember, that you want to find yourself on this day next year with much less to improve.
The guarantee for success in changing your health is small measured steps. Take your first simple step right now, by finding the right vitamins to start your journey.
Romy Block specializes in Endocrinology and Metabolism and is mother to three active adolescent boys. Arielle Levitan is a Doctor of Internal Medicine with a special interest in Preventive Medicine and Women’s Health. She is a mother of three teen agers. As professional women with active family lives, they recognize that people often neglect their own health needs and are uncertain about what vitamins to take. Each person is different in her diet, exercise and health history, and will benefit from different nutrients. After years of advising their patients about the proper vitamins to take, Drs. Block and Levitan created Vous Vitamin® to provide people everywhere with quality vitamins that are suited to their individual needs. They are authors of the award winning The Vitamin Solution: Two Doctors Clear Confusion About Vitamins and Your Health (She Writes Press, 2015).
The statements made in this article have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The products offered by Vous Vitamin® are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.