How to Avoid the New Year’s Slump to Reach Your Goals

reach goals

 

At this point in January, you may find that you’ve lost motivation and have gotten off track in sticking with the health resolutions you set for this year. Whatever you do, don’t beat yourself up over it. You are far from alone! According to U.S. News, 80 percent of goal-setters drop their New Year’s resolutions by February.

So how do you pick yourself back up and stop yourself from throwing in the towel completely? Below are five tips to get you back on track so you can feel good about accomplishing your goals come December.

1. Revisit your “why”

There will be plenty of days when you don’t feel like doing what it takes to get healthy. The couch may be calling you to stay cozy instead of lacing up your sneakers and getting outside for a walk in the cold. When this happens, you need to know your “why” — the true, deep reason you want to achieve your goal.

For example, are you looking to lose weight? While looking better and being able to wear certain clothes are certainly good benefits of losing weight, they may not be strong enough reasons for you to commit to healthy eating and exercise over the long term. Getting healthy so you can be around to enjoy your grandchildren or to have the energy to give back to a cause you truly care about are some deeper reasons that may pull you off the couch time and again.

In a nutshell, when you have a strong connection to the reason for your goal, you are much more likely to be successful in reaching it.

2. Be realistic

Make sure your goals are attainable and avoid an “all or nothing” mentality. For example, don’t resolve to NEVER eat ice cream or French fries again. Instead, avoid these foods most of the time but allow yourself to mindfully indulge (and enjoy doing so without guilt) from time to time.

3. Break down big goals into small steps

Set small, attainable goals to work on each week that will help you work toward your larger goals. For each goal, write down every possible action you can think of that you will need to take to reach that goal. Then put the first few actions, or steps, on your calendar. Once those are done, add the next few steps and so on.

4. Track your progress

Keep track of and celebrate each small success to help you stay motivated. If your end goal is to lose 25 pounds, focus on 5 pounds at a time. Each time you lose 5 pounds, acknowledge and celebrate this smaller step toward your larger goal. Some ideas to celebrate might be going to the movies with a friend or buying yourself some new fitness gear.

One great way to track your progress is by keeping a food and/or exercise journal. You’ll be able to look back in your journal to remind yourself of all your hard work and see how far you’ve come. This is a great tool to keep you moving forward whenever you feel you’re losing steam or getting frustrated.

5. Enlist help

Decide how you will deal with the temptation to skip your workout or grab a few cookies before dinner. Think about what works best for helping you to stay on track.

It may be as simple as reminding yourself of your “why” and thinking about how giving into temptation will derail you from the better future you want to create for yourself. If you need outside support and accountability, have a trusted friend or family member who you know you can call to help you when you’re facing temptation. Have a friend who is also working toward health resolutions? Propose that you’ll be each other’s accountability partners!

The key is to not let yourself get down when you occasionally get off track — life happens! Take it one day at a time and do the best you can each day. Remember, you still have 11 months to work toward your goals. Apply these tips and you’ll find yourself making great progress in no time.


Which vitamins and minerals does your body need?

vitamins and minerals

We all know that one of the most important parts of any weight loss program is diet. Eating healthy, whole foods in the right amounts is crucial to weight loss.

It’s very important to make sure your body is getting the vitamins and minerals it needs to function properly and stay healthy. Below are the top vitamins and minerals you need to maintain good health.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is extremely important to the health of your eyes, as well as red blood cell production, immune function, skin health and embryonic development.

Vitamin A can be found in fortified milk, organ meats, dark green leafy vegetables, sweet potatoes and carrots.

B vitamins

B vitamins include B-1, B-2, B-6, B-12, pantothenic acid, niacin, biotin and folic acid. These vitamins play a critical role in your body’s ability to create and release energy. B vitamins are also responsible for creating red blood cells, which allow oxygen to move throughout your body.

B vitamins can be found in leafy green vegetables, whole grains, yogurt, seafood and eggs.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is particularly important when your body is under stress, including the type of stress that can often come with dieting: food deprivation, calorie reduction and cravings. Vitamin C helps your body maintain a healthy immune system and correct any damage done to your body by stress. It also works as a disease-fighting antioxidant that keeps your cells healthy.

Vitamin C can be found in citrus fruit, orange juice, kiwis, guavas, red and green peppers, cabbage and tomatoes.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E helps maintain the tissues in your body, such as your liver, skin and eyes. It also prevents the pollution in the air from causing damage to your lungs and works with the B vitamins to create red blood cells.

Vitamin E can be found in egg yolks, sardines, nuts, seeds, wheat germ, almonds, peanut butter and some oils.

Calcium

Calcium is essential for bone health. As a matter of fact, 99 percent of its role is to keep your bones and teeth strong, supporting skeletal structure and function. Calcium is also important for cell signaling, blood clotting, muscle contraction and nerve function.

Calcium can be found in dairy products, dark leafy greens (such as spinach and kale) and some fish (like sardines, salmon and rainbow trout).

Magnesium

Magnesium helps develop and maintain bones, maintain normal nerve and muscle function, support a healthy immune system and maintain a steady heartbeat. It also helps regulate blood glucose levels and aid in the production of energy and protein.

Magnesium can be found in nuts, seeds, beans, whole grains, milk, bananas, dried apricots, avocados, halibut and other fish.

Potassium

Potassium helps maintain healthy blood pressure, reduce the effects of salt and maintain regular digestive and muscular functioning. It may also reduce the risk of recurrent kidney stones and possibly decrease bone loss.

Potassium can be found in tomato paste and puree, white beans, yogurt, leafy green vegetables, whole grains, seeds, nuts, soybeans, bananas, potatoes and fish (such as flounder, sardines, cod and salmon).

Regardless of what type of diet you’re following, be sure you’re getting sufficient amounts of these vitamins and minerals every day to avoid deficiency and keep your body healthy and functioning at its best.

If your specific diet doesn’t allow some of the food sources mentioned for a specific vitamin or mineral, talk about taking supplements with your doctor.


Quick Stress Relievers for a Healthier New Year

A new year means setting goals, and 2016 is no exception. As you welcome that promotion or shedding those extra pounds, however, it’s almost inevitable that new demands on your time and attention will increase. The result? You may be feeling a little additional stress even as you celebrate your success.

Stress can impact your health from your immune system to your hormones and weight, so remembering a few quick stress relievers is a worthwhile investment for a healthier 2016.

quick stress relievers

 

Don’t hold your breath. Stress tends to inhibit your breathing patterns, so make a conscious effort to breathe deeply. Here’s how it’s done: place one hand about an inch above your navel, and count to four as you inhale. Feel your tummy expand to be sure you’re breathing from your diaphragm rather than your chest. With increased oxygen, your body will start to relax.

Color. Think coloring books are just for kids? Think again. Adult coloring books have boomed in the past year or so after studies documented their effectiveness in reducing stress. With detailed, grown-up patterns, these gorgeous craft books are a quick and inexpensive way to de-stress anywhere you go.

Enjoy a cup of tea. Whether it’s black, green or chamomile, brewing a hot cup of tea is shown to have positive effects on the brain’s neurotransmitters. Making a cup of tea is easy to do anywhere from work to home—or pour it into a thermos for a stress-free commute.

Take it outside. One of the best ways to beat your stress? Heading outdoors. Light activity like a quick walk is known to boost your mood, and if you can’t seem to quiet your busy brain, an informative and engrossing podcast is a great alternative to music.

One of the most important resolutions you can make this year is to take care of the whole you, and that includes managing your stress levels. With a few easy tricks that won’t place additional burdens on your time, you’re well on your way to a healthier 2016.

To learn more about a new healthier you, contact Dallas Weight Loss Surgeon, Dr. Dirk Rodriguez today!


Type 2 Diabetes’ Negative Effect on the Brain

Type 2 Diabetes' Negative Effect on the BrainIt’s no secret that obesity is associated with a number of chronic diseases. Perhaps one of the most well-chronicled illnesses associated with obesity is type 2 diabetes. Excess weight and inactivity are often contributing risk factors for type 2 diabetes, a disease that is found increasingly among obese children as well as adults. If that’s not cause enough for concern, a recent study from the medical journal Neurology has outlined the adverse effects that diabetes can have on the brain.

But first: What exactly is type 2 diabetes? The disease occurs when the body becomes resistant to the hormone insulin, which is secreted by the pancreas and works to regulate the body’s glucose levels. The resulting glucose imbalances can often cause other complications, including, according to the Neurology study, some serious negative effects on the brain.

“This study demonstrates that diabetes is a medical condition that affects the entire body,” Dr. Dirk explains. “Diabetes affects the heart, blood vessels, nerves, skin and now the brain.”

In fact, in as little as two years, researchers found significant difference in mental acuity among healthy patients and those with type 2 diabetes was detected in measures of gray matter volume and test scores. Researchers also noted decreased blood flow to the brain among those with the disease.

Fortunately, people living with type 2 diabetes have options when it comes to controlling their disease. A healthy diet and exercise are important in the brain health of any person, but these demands become even more important for those with the disease.

“It is very important that diabetic patients engage in good nutrition, exercise and very tight control of their blood sugars with their medications,” advises Dr. Dirk.

However, these first lines of defense often fail to control the disease. If that’s the case, Dr. Dirk offers other options: “It is imperative that diabetic patients give serious thought to weight loss surgery, even if they are not obese. There is excellent science that shows that diabetic patients whose BMI (body mass index) is under 30 have excellent results from bariatric surgery procedures.”

As science and medicine advance, so do treatment plans. Don’t hesitate to talk to a Dallas bariatric surgeon about managing your type 2 diabetes and improving your quality of life.