Have a Happy and Healthy New Year

This time of year the news is full of making (and breaking) resolutions. News is also full of health topics – the faddish, the fun, the foolish. Everyone wants to lose weight, start exercising, improve their heart health, make themselves more attractive, increase their longevity.

And the number of programs and pills sold by gurus and entrepreneurs are many. What’s the truth? Is there really any quick-fix formula? Is there any magic pill? Which programs really work? How can your New Year’s intentions last past the first three weeks?

Absolute Rule #1: There is ABSOLUTELY no magic pill. Quick-fixes don’t exist for unhealthy situations that have taken years to develop. Recent government actions against diet pill and program manufacturers reaffirm that magic pills and secret solutions do not work. They are a waste of time, and sometimes even dangerous.

Absolute Rule #2: Unlike beach T-shirts, one size does not fit all. Every individual has unique nutritional challenges (food allergies, personal likes or dislikes), specific disease problems (heart disease, diabetes, arthritis), cultural or ethnic limitations (clothing, taboos) which limit or modify what that individual might do to get and keep excellent health.

Absolute Rule #3: Never start programs that end in two or three weeks – strange diets or food combinations, unusual exercises or devices, pills or tonics. Don’t reach for products; reach for a lifestyle. Change that is not permanent is not change at all and will not give lasting results.

So where do you start? What is the foundation of a personalized program of good health? What are the basic steps? Here are nine simple things that, if made part of your lifestyle, lead to good health.

  1. One helping – Whatever the choice of food, eat only one helping. 
  2. Eat Breakfast – Start the day in the same way as an auto trip is started, with a full tank. 
  3. Regular, well-balanced, colorful menu – Whatever the mealtime schedule, eat at the same time every day. Eat a wide variety of colorful foods. Avoid a totally white, gray, yellow or brown plate. Nutrition is in the color.
  4. No snacks; no junk food – don’t eat between meals (see #3 above). When reading magazines, don’t follow the advertisements; follow the health articles.
  5. Exercise – regularly, consistent with health limitations. Choose an activity that is fun and appealing and do it regularly. 
  6. Regular sleep time – what ever the work schedule, sleep at the same time and for an adequate time.
  7. Drink water – just as your car needs specific fuels to run well, so does the body. Almost every chemical reaction required for good health in the body runs on water. 
  8. Don’t do risky activities – avoid activities that lead to high risk for disease or injury.  Practice activities that lower your risk of disease or injury.  Learn which are which.
  9. Pray – just like a good neighbor, God is there; talk to Him. 

These nine steps apply to all people in all parts of the world. If practiced regularly, they will bring about radically excellent improvements in health.

Happy (and healthy) New Year!