Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

About Those New Year's Resolutions

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

About Those New Year's Resolutions

Article excerpt

I generally don't advise my patients to make New Year's resolutions. Rather, I think it much more appropriate to make a reasonable resolution each morning before our feet hit the floor. But for those of us determined to make an effort in shedding old, harmful habits or starting new, healthy ones, here are some things to keep in mind, some of which we should already know and some of which are "hot off the press. Let's start with the most frequent New Year's resolution: losing some weight. Sound familiar? It should, since more than half of us will be on some kind of diet during the next 12 months. Maintaining a reasonable weight is important and can result in a reduction in the incidence of diabetes, heart disease, stroke and having a closet full of clothes you can no longer wear. Losing some weight is a laudable goal, but there are a couple of things to keep in mind.

First, when I ask my patients to think about a specific target, the majority will give me a number that represents in excess of 30 percent of their current weight. That's not going to happen. If you're a middle-aged man and weigh 220 pounds, that would make your weight-loss goal somewhere between 60 and 70 pounds. Doomed from the start. Frustration is the No. 1 killer of a weight-reduction plan, so we need to be reasonable when we set a target. Most experts would say 6 to 8 percent over six months. It doesn't sound like much, but for that 220-pounder, that would be 15-plus pounds. Better blood pressure, better blood sugar, better cholesterol.

Secondly, the best diet for most of us will be one that limits carbohydrate intake. The Mediterranean Diet is one we should all be familiar with. And as far as snacks are concerned, consider half a handful of nuts. All of them are healthy, but the most recent and consistent information favors walnuts. They have been shown to lower triglyceride levels as well as LDL (the bad cholesterol). Quick, easy and good for us.

And what's all this about diet drinks? …

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