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3 New Year’s resolutions all families can (and should) make

1 month, 2 weeks ago

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Posted on Jan 02, 2018, 3 p.m.

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3 New Year’s resolutions all families can (and should) make

Dr. Claire provides a fantastically simple plan to get us as families to take the proper steps towards preservation of health,. The concepts of increasing movement, being conscious of our food input as well as decompressing stress (in this example by building the foundations for the ultimate support group - your family) are the keys to optimal health. In addition if a family member has a specific goal i.e. change of body composition or athletic performance, tweaking the specific family exercise, meals and support time together is a great way to help the individual achieve there goals. It is hard for someone to make specific changes when there meal plan differs from the rest of the family. Working together on goals provides a winning combination of support and function.
Dr. Brian Rudman, Medical Editor
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Ironically, this is probably the best article I read from Harvard this year. Not because it's "rocket science" or cutting edge medical advice. The reason I like the article is it is sound advice that regular families can act on. It's a new year. It shouldn't take the world renowned Harvard School of Medicine to tell you to eat healthier, exercise a little more, and you will live a longer, healthier, and happier life, but it doesn't hurt.
Dr. Jeff Winternheimer, D.C., Medical Editor
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One of the hardest things to do is set a goal and achieve it. This is especially true when your goal is to eat healthier and lose weight. Most of the success stories that come from my patients are from those who incorporate the buddy system into their routine. It doesn’t matter if it’s a family member or a friend; we are naturally more motivated when we are accountable to more than just ourselves. So grab whoever is available and start enjoying your time, meals and workouts together.
Transformyou, Medical Editor
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Follow me on Twitter @drClaire

It’s the beginning of a new calendar year, that time when we resolve to do new and better things. This is such a wonderful idea, because doing new and better things can make us healthier and happier. Resolutions can be particularly good for families to make. Not only is it good to work together on something, it’s a good way to keep everyone accountable.

The best resolutions are the ones that are simple. By simple, I don’t necessarily mean easy (if they were easy, we wouldn’t have to resolve to do them). I mean that they are resolutions that you can lean into and work toward, achievable in whatever way works for you. It also helps, obviously, if the resolutions are fun.

Here are three very simple and very healthy things that all families can resolve to do together and that can be adapted to the realities of family life — and can be fun.

1.  Exercise together. Adults should get 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise (or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise) a week, and children should be active for an hour a day. Most people do not get that much exercise, sadly. It would be great if each and every one of us could resolve to be more active, and certainly all families should be thinking about ways to get everyone to the gym or sports practice or out for a run more often in 2018. But aside from that, try a family resolution to exercise together, as many times a week as is feasible, with as many family members as is feasible. Keep it simple: go for a walk together, for example (if you have a dog, bring more people along for walks). If going for walks isn’t possible or pleasant where you live, turn on some music, move the furniture, and dance in the living room or kitchen. If there is a pool, go for family swim, or go skating, sledding, or biking. Just be active, and do it together. You will be setting an example, helping to build healthy lifelong habits, and spending time together — all of which can make a big difference.

2.  Eat healthier meals together. Notice I said “healthier.” The idea is to move the needle, not achieve perfection (although if you want to try for perfection, go for it). Add a vegetable or fruit to each meal. Try some new grains, like quinoa — or just more whole grains. Serve water or plain milk with meals, rather than juice or soda. Try out small changes, one at a time, with the goal of having a healthier family diet. If everyone is doing it together, it can make it easier. It may be that you begin simply by eating more meals together. Preparing a meal and eating it as a family not only helps everyone eat better, it helps bring families together, which can be very important for the emotional health of everyone in the family — and leads me to the last resolution…

3.  Spend more time together. Whether it’s by exercising or eating together, or family game night or movie night, or simply hanging out, the time you spend together can not only strengthen each and every one of you, but also give you a chance to touch base and find out what is happening in one another’s lives. Turn off the cell phones (making family meals a phone-free zone is a good idea) and pay attention to each other instead. As a resolution, just try to spend more time together. Start small if small works — and then build on it.

If you can do these things, even a little, and stick with it, it will absolutely make for a happier, healthier year for all of you and hopefully lay the foundation for habits that will stick for a lifetime.

Claire McCarthy, MD

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