Doctor’s orders for 2012

One week into 2012, you’ve likely stumbled on some of your resolutions. Here are some ideas for personal remodeling that are slow but sure ways to a healthier lifestyle:

Eating and drinking: Start a healthier diet and lose weight by moderating portion size. You don’t have to clean your plate! Eat more fish, poultry, vegetables and whole grains while limiting red meats, bread, butter and desserts. Drink six to eight 12 oz. glasses of water daily, and snack on fresh fruit or nuts. If you lose one pound every two weeks, come 2013 you’ll be more than 20 pounds lighter!

Sleep and stress: There is no such thing as catching up on sleep, so commit yourself to eight hours nightly. Your body needs sleep to restore itself both physically and mentally, and the stress of long-term fatigue will impair your ability to cope with the day-to-day challenges of work, school and relationships.

Exercise: Training for an event a few months off is a great way to inspire regular exercise and target your efforts towards achieving something tangible (a 10K race, a long-distance bike ride, etc.) rather than pursuing an abstract resolution like “I want to be in better shape.”

Relationships: Look for “win-win” solutions to disagreements. Try resolving differences with family members in the same way you would with co-workers or your boss. Yelling, making verbal attacks, drawing a line in the sand or digging your heels in are not acceptable at work, nor should they be at home. Be a good listener — and when someone says something crazy, resist the temptation to flip that person off. Instead, say, “I’ll consider that” and mull over a reasonable answer.

Health maintenance: Schedule a checkup with your primary care doctor. Try to schedule the first appointment of the day so you don’t have to wait. High blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol all start sometime, and they are all leading causes of illness and disability if undetected over time.

— Mark Melrose, DO, is a board-certified emergency physician at Urgent Care Manhattan. E-mail him your questions at askdrmark@metro.us.

Metro does not endorse the opinions of the author, or any opinions expressed on its pages. Opposing viewpoints are welcome.


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