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Will 2012 be Your Healthiest Year Yet? | Dec. 28, 2011

With 2012 right around the corner, it’s the time for New Year’s resolutions.  If you are looking for a new reason to lose a few pounds—How about this?  For every 2.2 pounds of fat on your body, you add two to four miles of additional blood vessels.  These additional miles of blood vessels promote more vascular resistance which promotes higher blood pressure.  Losing a few pounds of fat, means losing several miles of blood vessels which can drastically reduce your blood pressure readings!

Losing weight, eating healthier, and exercising more are among the most common goals when January 1st rolls around. With the right preparation, 2012 really can be the year you meet them!  Here are some simple tips for your resolutions:

  • Be realistic: setting goals that aren’t likely to be achieved just sets us up for disappointment and feelings of low self-control and self-efficacy. If your goal is weight loss, set a goal of ½ pound-1 pound a week. After you are successful, you can increase your goal to 2 pounds, which is the maximum recommended amount of healthy weight loss per week. If your goal is to exercise more often, start out with 2 or 3 days per week and then work your way up from there.
  • What you do in your waking hours can impact your weight loss goals.  Researchers have found that the enzymes responsible for fat burning shut down when people are sitting.  Just standing and moving around lightly will re-engage the enzymes.  So try to take a movement break every half an hour if you find yourself sitting at your desk or sitting in front of the TV.
  • Find a friend with the same goals as you; going to the gym or jogging can be a lot more fun if you do it with someone else. Having a workout buddy can be a motivator since you know someone else is counting on you to go work out, especially if you plan to exercise early in the morning when sleeping in sounds the most appealing.
  • Plan exercise into your day: after a long day at work, exercising can seem like the last thing you want to do. A good way to make sure you get your gym time in is to pack your workout clothes in your car and go straight after work. Exercising can actually make you feel more energized, even if you feel exhausted after a long day. The other option is to go in the morning before your day starts; it’ll save you an extra shower, too.
  • Don’t let eating out pull you off your road to success: if possible, find out which restaurant you’ll be going to and go to their website. Restaurants often have a menu posted, and if it’s a major chain restaurant it’s likely that the nutritional facts will be posted, too. Pick out a healthier menu option so you’re prepared when you get to the restaurant. Avoid items that are fried, breaded, or come with heavy cream sauces, as these are very high in saturated fats.
Don’t forget to reward yourself as you make progress, and try not to let minor setbacks discourage you; there is always a new day to start over. Having a setback is a learning opportunity to understand what works and what doesn’t work for you and your goals. Best wishes for a happy, healthy 2012!