Contributed by: Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi’s Health & Wellness Team
With the holiday season behind us, it’s time to begin the new year. If your resolutions include plans to get healthy, there’s never been a better time to get started! If you’ve already made your resolutions for the new year, be sure these healthy habits are on your list!
Have a wellness visit with your primary care provider. Knowing your health status and any health risks are the best ways to manage your health! Screenings for cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure can give you and your primary care provider a better idea of your health and you can work together to prevent chronic disease and manage your health through diet and lifestyle changes.
Eat healthy Eating a healthy diet is something many of us strive to do, but sometimes we fall short. Busy schedules can often make it difficult to eat well-balanced meals each day. The USDA’s MyPlate tool recommends filling your plate with ½ fruits and vegetables, ¼ lean protein and ¼ whole grains. Read more about MyPlate and see a visual representation of a healthy plate on the USDA’s website at www.usda.gov.
Also, never eliminate an entire food group from your diet. Each main food group, including whole grains, fruits and vegetables, lean protein and low-fat dairy, provides essential nutrients needed to maintain and improve your health. Eating plans that are too rigid also may not be realistic and will not be easily sustained. Choose an eating plan that will work for you! If you do not have time to prepare each meal, you need to take that into consideration and find a plan that will work with your life. That will make it easier for you to stick to it. Portion control is another excellent way to manage your calorie and fat intake, which can promote weight loss. A practical tip for doing this is to use smaller bowls and plates to effectively limit your portion sizes.
Be active Exercise is key to maintaining and improving health at any age. No matter your age, health status or current fitness level, exercise can most likely benefit your health. The general recommendation is 30 minutes a day, five days a week to maintain health. If weight loss is your goal, you may need 60 minutes or more.
Exercise should always be combined with a healthy eating plan. Weight loss plans that promise results without exercise are missing a key element of good health. If you have any health limitations or conditions, you should always seek medical advice before beginning a program.
Quit tobacco Tobacco use is one of the most preventable risk factors of premature death. Make a plan to quit today and look forward to a healthier life as a non-tobacco user. The health benefits begin almost immediately and your health continues to improve over the years. Learn more in the ‘be tobacco-free’ section of the BCBS of Mississippi website at www.bcbsms.com.
Manage Stress Stress is a normal, and even productive, part of life. However, too much stress can take a damaging toll on your health. Make stress management a priority and practice simple and effective stress management techniques to help you deal with life’s difficulties.
Some things to keep in mind if you’re making lifestyle changes, include:
Whatever your health goals may be for this new year, it’s important to stay focused and committed to being as healthy as you can be. Here’s wishing you a healthy and happy New Year! For more health information, visit www.bcbsms.com.