Inspiration for a Healthy New Year
Many popular New Year's resolutions focus on how to improve our health. That is good news, considering that being healthy provides us protection against disease and injury, as well as strength and energy to help us have a good quality of life.
5 Healthy Tips for 2013
Whatever your situation, see your health care provider and find out how you can live a safer and healthier life. Here are a few general tips for a safe and healthy life:
- Find health resources to help you achieve your New Year's goals.
- Protect yourself from injury or disease by wearing a helmet, sunscreen, or insect repellent when necessary.
- Make an appointment for a check-up, vaccination, or screening. Know where to go for care if you do not have health insurance.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Learn health tips that take 5 minutes or less.
Need inspiration to get started? Meet three people who changed their health habits—and their lives. They lost weight, became active, gained energy, and grew in self-confidence. Here are their stories and tips for making healthy living easier. They say if they can do it, you can too!
Bill had stayed in shape playing football in high school, but then became inactive in college and started gaining weight. By the time he was in his mid-30s and the mid-300 pound range, he was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and started giving himself insulin shots twice a day.
In his 50s, Bill weighed 515 pounds, had achy knees, used a cane, and rode a scooter to get around the store when he shopped. A friend's well-meaning comment about his weight and health got his attention. That night, Bill took stock of his life and developed a plan to change his habits.
At his doctor's suggestion, he took the plunge into exercise with water aerobics. To his surprise, Bill found he enjoyed the workout and could move easily in the water with little impact on his joints. He lost 35 pounds and the knee pain subsided. That encouraged him to keep going and make other changes in his life.
He dropped 140 pounds on his own before having surgery for help in taking off 145 more. He jokes that with 285 pounds gone, he lost the equivalent of an NFL linebacker. Not only that—Bill has been off diabetes medication for years.
"Obesity robbed me of a lot in life," says Bill. "I call it the O-beast." For example, when his son was 8, Bill was scared to go on a ride with him at an amusement park. However, when a slimmer Bill took the family to the same park years later, he asked his then 30-year-old son, "Will you ride with me?" They did, and as he says, "It was an emotional moment."
Strategies That Work For Me
- Make small changes, like sometimes eating other things instead of meat.
- Make a commitment to yourself. I don't care if it rains, sleets, or snows: I walk an hour five times a week.
- Get the professional help that you need, whether for emotional support or physical check-ups.
- Enjoy life! I didn't go to my high school prom, so I plan to have a prom this year, with a band and all the people I love. I will take a date and celebrate.
To look at Becky, a triathlete, marathoner, and ultramarathoner, you would never know she used to be a couch potato who spent nights watching TV and eating junk food. Fishing was her only real activity, and as she quips, she only exercised one arm.
She weighed close to 180 pounds and smoked two packs a day, but gave up cigarettes on her own. Then in 1995, her sister, who was training for a race, challenged her to run a mile.
Becky started out walking and tried running a little bit. Once she ran a full mile, she thought maybe she could do more. Exercise gave her an unexpected physical and mental boost. It relieved stress from taking care of her ill mother.
Soon Becky had built up to running a half-marathon. The next year, she tackled her first marathon. She never looked back, and has completed 29 marathons since 1996 and at age 50 completed a full Ironman triathlon.
Strategies That Work For Me
- Adapt to your body's needs. I now have arthritis in my knee, so have focused on finding what types of movement I can do instead of what I can't do. I do moderate running, walk, cycle, kayak, and work out with weights.
- Eat healthily. I cut out french fries and pizza, ate less sugar, and dropped 40 pounds.
- Get adequate sleep and rest. I teach meditation, which is all part of overall wellness. I'm working on the sleep and rest part.
- Move more at your desk. I try to make myself get up every 30 to 60 minutes, even if it's just to walk around for a minute or move around from my desk.
Sylvia was a stay-at-home mom whose life revolved around cooking, cleaning, watching soap operas, and eating unhealthy food. Her weight had climbed to 175. "I'd always been skinny," says the former farm girl, who ran track and played basketball in her youth. "But at that weight I was sluggish and tired."
Then she and her husband took in an ill friend who had undergone surgery. While helping the friend eat healthier and regain his strength, they began to change their eating habits too. Sylvia's energy skyrocketed. She began working out, doing an hour on the treadmill or elliptical machine. Next, she added weight training.
The mother of two toned up and slimmed down by more than 30 pounds. "I'm a witness that this change in lifestyle works. The same way I changed my life and made health a priority, you can too."
Strategies That Work For Me
- Buy your food fresh. Love yourself by cooking your own food. I make my own vegetarian pizza and pasta.
- Season with herbs instead of salt. I use curry, basil, cilantro, rosemary, parsley, and ginger.
- Steam vegetables like broccoli or string beans.
- Find the physical activity and training level that's right for you. I started with cardio workouts to raise my heart rate and build my aerobic capacity, then added weight training to become strong.
Below are more tips for creating a healthy you and healthy family in the new year.
- Make healthy food choices. Grab a healthy snack such as fruit, nuts, or low-fat cheese.
- Be active. Try simple things such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Be active for at least 2½ hours a week.
- Find out more about the benefits of regular physical activity. Sometimes getting started is the hardest part. Learn what counts as aerobic exercise.
- Be smoke-free. If you are ready to quit, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW for free counseling. Need inspiration? Check out Tips from Former Smokers.
- Get enough sleep. Remember that sleep is a necessity, not a luxury.
Learn more about Healthy Living.
- Learn how to be healthy before, during, and after pregnancy.
- Reduce auto-related injuries by using seat belts, child safety seats, and booster seats that are appropriate for your child's age and weight.
- Learn positive parenting tips to keep teens safe on the road.
- Develop and enforce rules about acceptable and safe behaviors using electronic media.
- Lower the risk of foodborne illness as you prepare meals for your family.
- Serve healthy meals and snacks.
- Encourage and support physical activity.
- Gather and share family health history.
- Be a healthy caregiver.
- Encourage family members to get check-ups and screenings. Make sure they know where to go for careif they do not have health insurance.
- Get pets vaccinated and keep pets healthy.
- Add the 5 Minutes or Less for Health widget to your website to get new health tips each week.
Get email updates
To receive email updates about this page, enter your email address:
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
1600 Clifton Rd
Atlanta, GA 30333
TTY: (888) 232-6348
- Contact CDC-INFO