By: Diana Bello Aristizábal
January is the perfect month to establish a course of action that allows us to achieve New Year’s resolutions. Having said that, to enjoy of better health is the most important one of them, which is why in this issue we trace the route to help you start, and end the year living healthy.
According to Dr. Bryan Curry, Fellow of the American College of Cardiology, by the end of the year it is common for people to take less care of themselves. However, it is essential that habits learned throughout the holiday season, such as eating high-calorie foods or not working out, do not extend over time so that health prevails.
“If people don’t maintain a healthy lifestyle, they can increase the risk of developing diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease, and cancer, among other things. Is just not the illness itself, but also the disability that comes along”, explains Dr.Curry.
For the cardiologist, when someone develops a disease, such as obesity or diabetes, may not have the energy to enjoy simple things in life, like playing with his or her child, which can compromise the quality of life on a daily basis.
Early prevention is vital. “When you are young, you often think that you can bounce back things quickly, but as you get older you don’t turn around quite as quickly. Therefore, if you start practicing good habits in your twenties, you will get the long-term benefits of good health in your forties, fifties or sixties”, says Dr. Curry
However, it is never too late to start. If this is your goal, but you have never done anything to take care of yourself, the advice is to visit a doctor you can trust first before starting a feeding regime or physical training so that you can know how is your overall health.
“The beginning of the year is a good time to do a medical check-up, but make sure that your doctor guides you on how often you need to be seen because depending on age, and medical history some people need to go once a year, while others every four months”, explains Dr. Curry.
While you schedule a doctor’s appointment, here we present three ways that can help you reach your health goal during the current year and, why not, extend it for the rest of your life.
Smart and balanced nutrition
Charis Meckley, Licensed dietitian nutritionist, and Clinical Dietitian at Kendall Regional Medical Center explain that although in December people usually have an improper diet, she does not recommend starting a juice cleanse diet to help the body get rid of accumulated toxins. “They tend to be risky, provide low calories, and an inadequate amount of vitamins, minerals, and proteins.”, she says.
However, she does recommend following some guidelines to detoxify from the calorie-rich food filled with sugar, fat, and sodium that we usually eat during the holiday season. “Keep in mind that your kidneys, and other organs in your body function as a natural way of detoxing, and eliminating waste products,” says Meckley.
Nevertheless, to support this natural process you can start by drinking an adequate amount of fluids daily, particularly water, eating 5 to 9 servings of fresh fruits and vegetables per day to get the necessary intake of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber, and consume whole grains like quinoa and oats.
It is also suggested to eat probiotics obtained from fermented dairy foods, such as yogurt, and monitor the size of the plate at each meal. For this, Meckley recommends the website www.choosemyplate.gov that illustrates a healthy plate model with the percentage required for each food group.
On the other hand, it is essential to stay away from trendy diets that are usually temporary. “A lot of those diets may show results right away, but once you return to eating the same as before, the weight is regained”, says the expert.
For this reason, if your goal is to lose weight, the first step is to visit a registered dietitian who can help you develop a healthy eating pattern according to your individual needs and medical history.
On another note, think of your feeding regime as a long-term lifestyle instead of a temporary fix, because often times people begin to adopt healthy habits on January, and abandon them a few months later.
To prevent this from happening, Meckley suggests setting a weekly goal that is simple, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-based. So, instead of focusing on losing six pounds, establish a plan to achieve that goal. For example, walking 40 minutes 4 times a week.
Guided and fun physical activity
Experts in physical training agree that playing a sport or working out is essential to have good health. “Exercise prevents you from being sick, increases your endorphins, and improves any aspect of your life,” says Jessica Llanos, Head Coach of Orangetheory Fitness Doral.
Luis Sánchez, karate teacher, and champion, Sensei and founder of Florida Karate Clubs, has a similar opinion. “When we exercise, we improve aesthetically, our self-esteem grows, and we feel good about ourselves,” he says.
Given this fact, we all need a personal motivation to start and remain in a sports routine. “Not everyone wants to be a size 0. The weight loss, and fitting into that dress that we love so much is an extra for some people”, says Jessica Llanos.
Some people start working out to reverse a medical diagnosis, others because they love to exercise or because they want to participate in a competition, such as a marathon.
The good news is that nowadays there are many options to work out that meet everyone’s needs, from online videos, group classes, gyms or social network groups. Those who are on beginners level can begin by walking every day.
However, there are other alternatives, with a variety of routines, designed for those who need an extra boost to keep on going. The Orangetheory Fitness studio, for example, offers a training model in which each class is led by a coach and lasts 60 minutes, 30 dedicated to cardiovascular exercise, and 30 to muscle building exercises.
It has an innovative concept because although at first glance it looks like a typical gym, is far from being one, taking into consideration that nobody exercises without the coach’s supervision, who is aware of the goals, and achievements of each participant. Every client is being monitored and moves along different performance zones divided into colors.
“We have different training levels. It is important to start in the standard one, especially if you have never exercised before, to avoid feeling exhausted, but work out at least 3 times a week, and regardless of what type of training you do, get the guidance of a professional so you don’t get injured, and meet your goals”, says Llanos.
Another alternative for those who wish to stay motivated is karate. “I recommend it because we can always learn new movements. It is an exercise that challenges you all the time. In general, I think it’s important to always push yourself to the limit to be better”, he says.
According to the Sensei, who has been practicing karate for more than 30 years, every day he sees people beginning, and then abandoning physical activity due to a lack of discipline. “You have to start somewhere and commit, even more so when you do not feel like training. It’s about making it a priority like eating or brushing your teeth, and not looking for excuses”, he advised.
A recommendation to not give up practice is to train with someone because there is nothing more motivational than having a person around who reminds us that we have a goal with ourselves.
A shot of vitamins
Vitamins that are taken through food are one of the best sources for vitality. However, many people have deficiencies in some of them and, therefore, different health problems.
Although according to many nutritionists there is no better way to obtain the nutrients that we need than by having a healthy diet, some people need supplementation, because vitamins are essential to regulate many body functions and to build tissues, cells and genetic material.
For those who want to supplement, there is an alternative called intravenous Vitamin Therapy or Vitamin Serum, which involves injecting high doses of an amount of vitamins and minerals into a vein, during a certain period of time.
“This therapy is used to improve health, increase the body’s immunity, and healing process, since the mixture of vitamins and nutrients is delivered directly into the bloodstream,” state the founders of Smile Studio Wellness, one of the companies specialized in such therapy.
The vitamins available are: Vitamin B-complex, Vitamin C, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, Magnesium, Selenium, Glutathione, Zinc, Manganese and Molybdenum.
Also, they also offer cocktails where several vitamins are combined. For example, there is the Dr.G cocktail, composed of vitamin C, B-complex, D3, and Glutathione.