Every year, we make New Year’s Resolutions that are usually broken before the month of January is even over. Why? Because usually we set too high of expectations for ourselves and when we veer off our newly paved path, we get discouraged and give up. This year, I encourage you to set more realistic goals for yourself. Don’t try to lose 20 pounds in one month; instead try to make gradual lifestyle changes that will better your overall health. Don’t underestimate the power of making minor adjustments to your lifestyle; it can reap big rewards. Cheers to your health!

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Stop Obsessing Over Numbers: instead of worrying about what the scale says, worry about how you feel. How you feel on a daily basis is one of the most important indicators to your overall health.

Find an Exercise that Doesn’t Feel like Exercise: Find a friend that you like to take walks with, join a dance class or a volleyball league. Find something that you truly look forward to so you will be more likely to stick with exercising on a regular basis.

Eat for your Health, Not your Waistline: stop counting calories and fat. Focus on eating foods that are packed with antioxidants and nutrients. A tip that I like focus on is eating foods that have less than 5 ingredients in them and I make sure I know what each of the ingredients are. Generally, if I can’t pronounce one the ingredients in the food I am eating, it is probably not good to be putting it in my body.

Master Portion Control: Being a member of the clean plate club is WAY out of style. Be sure to eat until satisfied and save any leftovers for another time. You will not only save your waistline, you will save money too!

Sideline Stress: Stress can wreak major havoc on your health. Did you know that 75 to 90% of all doctor’s office visits are for stress-related ailments and complaints? That is shocking and shows a direct correlation with stress on your health. Find ways that help you manage your stress; take a bath, read a good book or take a yoga class to help relieve stress in your life.

Get More Sleep: Sleep affects not only your health but also your emotional and mental well being. Our bodies’ hormonal make-up runs on a 24-hour clock that includes hormones that induce sleep, wakefulness and when we are full and hungry. When we don’t get enough sleep, it throws our hormonal balance out of whack and can lead us to eat when we aren’t really hungry. Many times when we are overtired, we eat more to help us have more energy to get through the day which can lead to weight gain over time. Try to go to bed and get up at the same time every day to keep your hormone levels in balance and keep your energy levels high.

Make Time for Cooking: Instead of picking up fast food on the way home; try to make time for cooking. Tons of research shows that people that cook at home tend to be thinner and families that share meals together tend to be closer. Find ways to cook with the freshest ingredients possible and let your kids help you so the whole family can learn the value of cooking a healthy and nutritious meal.

These are my new goals for 2013.  What are your New Year’s Resolutions? We would love to hear how you plan to improve your health this year!

*This advice should not replace the advice of your doctor.