Seven out of these 10 resolutions can lead naturally to weight loss, without specific dieting. Just setting them as goals. If you create a SMART goal for each one of these points, you are likely to experience the side effects of health and weight loss just by sticking to it for the rest of your life.
1. Learn your risk for type 2 diabetes Diabetes is one of the most common chronic health conditions in the U.S., affecting an estimated 30 million Americans. But as of the CDC’s last estimate, almost a quarter of Americans who have type-2 diabetes are un-diagnosed, meaning they’re not getting the care they need — and even more people may have prediabetes without knowing it. The AMA recommends taking a self-screening test at DoIHavePrediabetes.org to find out if you’re at risk.
2. Be more physically active Most people do not meet the federal guidelines for physical activity, which say that adults should get 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity each week, plus twice-weekly muscle-strengthening sessions. The good news, however, it’s easier than you might think to meet that goal. Everyday activities like walking, cleaning, dancing and taking the stairs all count toward your total, so there’s no need to slog it out at the gym if you dread it.
3. Know your blood pressure High blood pressure is associated with a heightened risk of stroke and heart disease, so it’s important to know your blood pressure reading. The AMA recommends visiting LowerYourHBP.org to learn how to manage your blood pressure through strategies including diet, exercise and stress relief.
4. Eat less processed food Eating lots of highly processed foods, which tend to be packed with sugar, salt, fat and chemicals, is associated with health problems ranging from weight gain to type 2 diabetes and cancer. Swapping soda and sugar-sweetened beverages for water is a good place to start, the AMA says. Cooking and home and building meals around produce and lean or plant-based proteins are also good strategies.
5. Drink in moderation, if at all The U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that women consume no more than a drink per day, and men no more than two per day. Above this threshold — and potentially even bellow it, according to research, drinking is associated with health issues including cognitive decline and cancer. Experiments like Dry January, in which you give up all alcohol for a month, can help you get control of your habits, as can strategies like mindfulness. But if you have trouble cutting back, you may want to consult a substance use specialist.
6. Stop using nicotine and tobacco Smoking puts you at risk of lung cancer, but it’s also associated with conditions including heart disease and other types of cancer. Kicking the habit is notoriously tough, but nicotine replacement aids — such as patches and gum — can help. Going cold Turkey can also be effective.
7. Manage stress At low levels, stress can actually be good for you. But chronic stress can threaten your physical, mental and cognitive, so it’s important to find stress-reduction techniques that work for you. Everyone is different, but research shows that activities that elicit the “relaxation response” — such as yoga, meditation and even prayer — can make a big difference. Exercise is also a great stress- reliever.