According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease, including stroke and other cardiovascular diseases, is the number one cause of death in the United States. Cardiac Rehab Specialist and Registered Dietician Nutritionist at Sauk Prairie Healthcare, Julie Esser, said that although genetics contribute to heart disease, “it’s lifestyle choices that have been driving the numbers.”
There are many small things you can do each day to treat your bodies better and prevent heart disease. For Esser, the best places to start are with nutrition, exercise and stress management.
Identify the unhealthy foods in your diet including sugars, white flour and saturated fats. These usually hide in processed meat, baked goods and sugary drinks. Then, begin to replace these foods with healthier options. For example, switch from 2% to 1% milk or from white flour to whole grain. Work to fill your diet with fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains.
Focusing on Portion Control
Before dishing up your food, use the label to determine serving size. Measure out your portions and set aside time to sit down and eat your meal at the table. To help you adjust to smaller portion sizes, trick your brain and your stomach by using smaller plates and containers.
Set a goal of 2.5 hours of activity a week, which breaks down to 20 minutes a day. To fit in your 20 minutes of activity, make small simple changes to your daily routine. If you’re out shopping, park further away and force yourself to walk more. During your lunch break, walk around your workplace. Instead of sending your co-worker an email, get up and talk to them and avoid taking the elevator whenever you can.
Once you’ve set goals to incorporate regular activity into your daily routine, be sure to hold yourself accountable. Fitness trackers like Fit Bits and cell phone apps can help. You can also sign up for a weekly fitness class or make a plan to workout with a friend.
Managing Your Stress
When your body is under stress, it produces an excess of hormones. When those hormones aren’t released, it can lead to illnesses like heart disease. It’s important to learn to manage that stress and find healthy outlets to release it. Identify what triggers your stress and how you can best relieve it. Call up a friend, go to the gym or spend time on a hobby.
Finding resources in your community to help you set and achieve your health and wellness goals can make all the difference. Professional and certified staff at Sauk Prairie Healthcare’s Wellspring is available to help you make small changes toward a healthier life. For more information, visit: www.saukprairiehealthcare.org/wellspring.
We all have good intentions when we set our New Year’s resolutions, however, we may be bound for disappointment right out of the gate.
Lisa Krayer, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Health Coach at Sauk Prairie Healthcare’s Wellspring, says that we are not always the problem, but rather the goal itself. Here are some quick tips on how to get set for success:
Set Specific Measurable Action-based Realistic Time-bound goals or SMART goals. As a Health Coach, Krayer helps people envision the desired end result and set goals to get there. “A lot of people will come to me with really beautiful ambition and I help turn that into SMART goals so that they can be successful,” said Krayer.
As a Health Coach, Krayer works to understand what motivates the individual and uses that as a tool to help them reach their goals. The stronger that motivation is, the better. “I see a lot of people who will say they want to be healthier for their family, or more active with their grandchildren and that can be such an effective motivator,” said Krayer. By working together with a Health Coach, you can identify your motivators and use them as tools to help you succeed.
It’s important that you build a support system so that you have someone to help hold you accountable and celebrate your success. “Support may come from a personal trainer at Wellspring, from a committed spouse or a close friend,” said Krayer. “Once you have that support system you want to celebrate your success with them, especially the small steps toward change.” Celebrating the small steps lays the foundation for larger lifestyle changes to be made. After all, you have to lose one pound before you can lose 25!
For information about Health Coaching at Wellspring, visit: http://www.saukprairiehealthcare.org/wellspring.
Did you set fantastic New Year’s resolutions only to find that you are already struggling with your plan? Use the following guidelines to assist you in developing SMART wellness goals to reach your best self!
Specific – Include all the details for your goal, the how and when, yet keep it simple.
Measurable – Make sure you can measure your progress and success.
Action based behaviors – Include changes or actions you want to be doing on a consistent basis.
Realistic – Make sure the goal is challenging but not too overwhelming.
Time bound and able to track– How often, how many and when would you like to accomplish the goal.
Examples of SMART Goals:
- “I will increase my water intake from 2 glasses to 4 glasses daily by drinking 1 glass each morning and one with each of my 3 meals.
- “I will lose 15 pounds in 3 months. To help me lose weight, I will walk 3 times per week on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday for 15 minutes and slowly increase to 30 minutes.
- “I will eat better. I will eat 4 servings of fruits and vegetable every day. I will eat 1 serving of fruit with my breakfast, a piece of fruit with my lunch, and 2 servings of vegetable with my evening meal.”
If the simple act of writing down your list of resolutions wears you out or makes your head spin, consider using these tips to create a manageable list of healthy changes that you can actually achieve.
1. Make realistic resolutions.
You have a far greater chance of keeping your New Year’s resolutions throughout the year if you make them realistic. That means you shouldn’t attempt to make broad character changes or extinguish bad habits overnight. Instead, create simple, realistic resolutions and think about the amount of time in which you’d like to achieve your goals.
2. Start small.
Once you’ve picked one or two realistic resolutions, decide how you want to start achieving them. If, for example, you want to run a marathon this year, begin by lacing up your tennis shoes and going for a short run. Don’t attempt to run a 5k a week from now, start at the first step and work your way up!
3. Share your experience.
If you have people around you to help you on your journey to your resolutions, it becomes much easier to achieve them. Whether it’s talking to your family about joining you in swearing off junk food or sharing experiences in training for a 5k on Facebook, talking about your resolutions can help you make positive lifestyle changes.
4. Don’t be too hard on yourself.
Remember that if you miss a workout or slip and have a piece of cake, it’s not the end of the world. Every journey has a few missteps along the way but the key is to keep focusing on your goals and move forward! Every day is a new day!