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News » Filed under: Diet/Exercise/Weight

Tips for a Healthier 2010

Article date: December 30, 2009

Making resolutions is easy; keeping them is hard. Even if you set clear, realistic goals on January 1, many of us find that by mid-year our best intentions have been derailed by work, school, or a busy social schedule. Before you know it, another year has gone by and you find yourself vowing to do better next year.

This year, if your goals involve eating better and exercising more, make your resolutions stick by enlisting the help of these tips and tools.

Keep a food journal. If your goal is to get to a healthier weight, you need to consistently burn more calories than you eat. Experts say people who keep food journals have better success rates than those who don't.

Writing down every little thing you eat and drink will give you a better idea of what you're actually consuming (compared to what you think you're consuming), and may highlight areas where you could be doing better. Aim for 5 or more servings of a variety of vegetables and fruits every day, choose whole grains over processed grains, limit intake of processed and red meats, and watch portion sizes.

Make an exercise plan. This year, increase your chances of success by creating a workout plan and writing it down. If you have clear objectives, you'll be more likely to follow through. Decide what you're going to do, when you're going to do it, and for how long. The Society recommends adults get at least 30 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity on 5 or more days a week; 45 minutes to an hour is ideal.

Pocket a portion control guide. If you struggle not with what to eat but how much to eat, tuck a portion control reference in your wallet or purse, or print one out and post it on the fridge.

Create a playlist. If your workout has gotten boring, a new playlist can rev it up. Many fitness magazines and Web sites have sample playlists. Check out the sample playlists at Shape magazine, for example.

Make one small change each day. If getting in the recommended 5 fruits and vegetables everyday sounds daunting, start by eating just one apple a day until it feels effortless. The next week, try adding a small side salad to your lunch menu. Keep going until you’ve hit 5 a day.

Anticipate situations that might lead you astray. If your evening workout constantly gets sabotaged by dinner plans, carve out time in the morning instead. Or, if you're habitually at the vending machine because you're short on time, keep healthy snacks at your desk or in your purse.

Stay motivated by focusing on immediate benefits. Not seeing 6-pack abs yet? Focus instead on the ways exercise is already making you feel better, such as having more energy.

The American Cancer Society can help you learn more ways to stay well and reduce your risk for cancer—visit the Stay Healthy section of our website, or call 1-800-227-2345 for more information.

Reviewed by: Members of the ACS Medical Content Staff

ACS News Center stories are provided as a source of cancer-related news and are not intended to be used as press releases.

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