2015: The Year of No Excuses
Whether it’s exercising more, weighing less, eating more healthy foods, managing your diabetes or high blood pressure, or quitting smoking, make 2015 the year you do it.
"As doctors asking patients to make changes for a healthier lifestyle, we hear all kinds of excuses," said Amy Phillips, one of our OB/GYN doctors at UAMS. "From ‘I have to take care of my kids,’ to ‘I’m too old,’ – we hear it all. The truth is, there’s always room for improvement, and you can do it if you put your mind to it."
To help jump-start a healthy 2015, here are some reasons why those excuses don’t hold up:
Excuse #1: I don't have time to exercise.
Even if you can’t set aside 30 minutes to an hour each day to exercise, you can still find opportunities to burn more calories. Look for a parking spot in the corner of the lot so you can log more steps going to and from the store. Carry the groceries around the house for a couple of minutes before you put them away. Put the laundry basket on the floor and bend over to pick up each item and put it away. Go the long way around every chance you get. Every little bit helps.
Excuse #2: I eat well and exercise, so I don't need to stop smoking.
Research shows the health risks associated with smoking aren’t reduced by eating a healthy diet and exercise. Smoking has negative effects on every organ system in the body. Resources are available
to make 2015 the year you quit.
Excuse #3: I can't afford a gym.
Exercise doesn’t have to be done in a gym, and you don’t have to have fancy workout gear. The only requirement is a desire to improve your health and a pair of sturdy shoes you can walk in. Walking is one of the best exercises around!
Excuse #4: I don't have time to shop for groceries and cook at home.
Eating out doesn’t necessarily mean eating wrong. Many fast food restaurants now offer several healthy choices. Here’s a quick way to find out what’s best at a drive-thru near you
. Just drinking water instead of a soda is a good first step toward making the meal healthier. Chains that focus on fresh, healthy options are becoming increasingly popular for eating well on the run, and most dine-in restaurants offer great options too. Here are more tips for eating healthy when eating out
Excuse #5: I haven't exercised in a long time and I'm afraid I might break something.
Your body may be tougher than you think. Before you begin a vigorous new exercise program, check with your primary care doctor
. Or try this online tool
to check your risk for osteoporosis and see if you may need to take extra precautions. Odds are, the benefits of walking and moderate exercise will outweigh the risks of a broken bone.
Excuse #6: I have a lot going on right now. I'm too stressed to worry about what I eat.
Times of stress are when you need to make sure you are healthy. The last thing you need when you are worried about work or family matters is to be sick. To help prevent weight gain and health issues from overeating, be sure to monitor your “emotional eating.”
Feeling good and feeling good about your body will help you cope with your stress.
Excuse #7: I had a mammogram, and it was fine. I'll get another one in a couple of years.
The American Cancer Society recommends a yearly screening mammogram
for all women age 40 and older. Talk to your doctor about your personal risk factors to make a decision about when to start getting mammograms and how often to get one. UAMS offers innovative 3-D mammography
, which is routinely used for women who are receiving their first mammogram, have dense breast tissue or have been previously diagnosed with breast cancer.
Excuse #8: 'Healthy' foods are more expensive.
That’s not true. “Healthy,” “organic” and “expensive” aren’t the same kinds of foods. You don’t have to go to a fancy health food store to find foods that are good for you and your family. Your regular grocery or discount store has healthy options, too. Take a few minutes to educate yourself on eating healthy on a budget.
Excuse #9: I got gift cards for places with fattening food.
It’s OK. You can still enjoy the gift cards. Just eat in moderation, or take your kids, your spouse or a friend with you so you don’t feel obligated to order dessert just to use the entire gift card. And remember to park far away so you can burn extra calories.
Excuse #10: Chocolate is good for me.
Although some research does show cocoa can help reduce risk factors for heart disease
, more research is necessary. And the other ingredients of these candies add fat, sugar and calories that are not healthy. Rather than eating a not-so-healthy candy bar, add plain cocoa to your low-fat milk or oatmeal.