Friday, January 6, 2012

2012 Health Action Plan (aka. New Year's Resolutions)

Welcome to the first Friday in 2012! How are those New Year's Resolutions coming along? Already blown them? If so, no worries, because you are not alone. I'm hearing more people say they haven't even MADE their resolutions yet, so really, you could be ahead of the game if you even know WHAT you'd like to change. Though I am sitting here with my laptop in glow of our Christmas tree lights, many people have packed up their holiday decorations or plan to "clean up" this weekend. As we all make the mental shift from holiday time back to ordinary routines, I'd like to encourage you to make CONCRETE PLANS to improve your health- whether you call them New Year's resolutions or not. Here's a starter list:

1.If you have ANY health concerns that you have not fully addressed with your family doctor, call TODAY and schedule an appointment. And PLEASE let the office know what you are truly coming in for- even if you simply say "I have four or five separate minor concerns" if you don't want to list specifically what they are. If you are trying to squeeze in questions about your weight, insomnia, or indigestion during an office visit you've booked for your sore throat (or worse, during your spouse's or child's visit), you are obviously not going to get the full attention and evaluation those issues deserve. I find that patients don't want to "bother" their doctors with "minor stuff like that"- but we'd much rather you schedule a longer appointment to address multiple concerns than to either ignore them or to toss them in as a "by the way, while I'm here..."

2. Step on the scale. This advice is directed at the silent majority of Americans who fall into the "overweight" category, but don't realize it. If you are 100 or even 50 pounds overweight, I'm betting you are aware of it (and same goes for underweight.) However, I have found that many of us don't realize just how many pounds we have added over the last year...or two...or decade. If you fall into this category, please step on the scale, own the number, and move forward with an action plan to improve your health in 2012.

3. Clear out the candy! Cheerful red and green M&Ms, candy kisses, or candy canes decorate many offices and homes during December. Before you replace them with Valentines or Easter candies, consider setting out flowers, candles, or scent infusers instead. Or, simply give yourself permission to put the bowls away. Empty bowls will get filled up...and emptied again & again.

BOTTOM LINE: Make HEALTH a PRIORITY in 2012, and create specific, concrete action items on your health to-do list!

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