Op/Ed: Tips for keeping your new year's health resolution

Robin B. Landry LSU AgCenter

Often New Year’s resolutions start out with a bang, but quickly fail because realistic goals were not set. In order to be successful, a long term plan should be made that includes small daily changes. Changes can be challenging, but having a sensible strategy will help you to achieve your goals, to feel good and enjoy the best possible health.

     Goals should be achievable, aimed at improving health, and evaluated. A few tips to help you to attain your goals:

            •            Determine your current food choices and lifestyle. Keep a journal of what you eat and drink. This will help to identify what behaviors need to be changed.

            •            Establish small specific goals with realistic changes which can include eating just 100 fewer calories per day. Eating 100 calories less per day can lead to one pound weight loss per month.

            •            Set goals that you can measure by using such questions as “How much?” or “How many?” so you can easily track your progress.

            •            Evaluate your progress weekly and update your plan. Look at your progress.

            •            Seek health from a qualified health professional.

            •            Remember to reward yourself once you accomplish a goal.

     In addition to making small changes in food choices, an important aspect that must be added to the daily routine is to become more physically active. Physical activity offers many important health benefits, including decreased risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, joint problems, and obesity among others. Try to get at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week, such as walking, gardening, raking or even dancing.

     Be patient with yourself. Behavior change takes time, dedication and encouragement. Set a timeline, with a beginning and an ending point to aid in achieving your goals. Allow time so that you don’t become discouraged.

     For more information about healthy eating and keep your New Year’s resolution, contact Robin B. Landry at the Assumption Parish LSU AgCenter Office at (985) 369-6386 or rlandry@agcenter.lsu.edu.