I hate how often we hear and see the phrase "New Year-New You," as if there is something drastically wrong with the "old" me.
Somehow as a kid I never responded well when I was told "how bad" I had been and then instructed on how "to be good." Being made to feel "bad" never helped my spirit to be excited about being "good." But being acknowledged or praised for doing something well did make me want to do more.
What if we applied that to our health? Most of us know we need to make some changes. Some of us even know what those changes should be. It's usually the how to that trips us up or the how long will it take to be able to do it.
Most of us can do that new diet for a day, some for a week, and for the really dedicated, a month. Most fall off that healthy wagon far short of their goal. Then statistics tell us that 9 out of 10 gain the weight back.
What if we tried something different? And what if we tried to reach our goal with a friend, or with a family member? The Meltdown last year taught us that it's easier in a group, a team, or with a friend to create a new habit. Another person provides support, but more importantly it also provides accountability. We'll all fall off the wagon at some point -- it's whether we choose to get back on the wagon that creates the winners.
We also know that, for many people, diets don't work. The minute you tell me what I can't eat that's the only thing I can think about. I've tried the cabbage diet, the low-fat diet, the ice cream diet, and just about every other "sure success" diet that came out in my earlier years.
What if we looked at our bodies with different eyes? What if we listened to what our bodies are trying to tell us? Let our eyes acknowledge strong legs that get us where we need to be, a heart that keeps beating and keeps us alive. Be grateful for arms that provide strength and hugs for our children and grandchildren, to carry things and do our work. What if we acknowledged all our wonderful body parts that work in synchronicity to create the wonderful person that we are?
If you're saying to yourself now "Well, I'm not a wonderful person," then start there first, with the brain, because you are a wonderful person! God doesn't make junk, and our thoughts precede our destiny.
Instead of making a list of all the New Year's resolutions you're going to start tomorrow or next week, what if you sat down and gave all this some thought and figured out what your body really needs? Is it soda, or juice, or those pricey energy drinks? Or is it just plain, good, clean water? Our bodies contain almost 75 percent water.
What if you tried to turn your worst habit into a good habit, by rewarding your body with something good instead of depriving it? It takes about a month to create a good habit. Here is just one example for a new habit. If drinking water is your new habit, what if you gradually worked into drinking 8-10 glasses per day? The first week, set your goal for 2-3 glasses. Increase the amount each week while decreasing the expensive sugary, caffeinated drinks.
You can play a game with yourself. Get a good reusable bottle that holds 16-32 ounces and fill it with water (and maybe some fresh lemon) in the morning. If you tell me it has to be gone before I can eat my lunch, I guarantee it will be gone! Refill it again for the afternoon. Most people find it easier to accomplish things gradually rather than going "cold turkey". Do what works for you.
At the end of the month, keep your new habit and pick another. What else is your body screaming for? What if we took one step each month this year? Can you take one step now? This time next year, we might have taken 12 steps toward a healthier lifestyle and a healthier you. What have you got to lose? Does your blood pressure, cholesterol, or weight need to come down? Are you concerned with stress, acne, depression, diabetes, or being tired all the time?
U R in charge of your health. Sixty-five percent of all disease is preventable. Will you take the first step with me?
Marge Delozier-Noss is a certified Holistic Health Educator and health advocate within the Juniata Valley.