Saturday, June 30, 2012

Better Health

Image by Ingvar-fed. Public domain.

In December, I wrote an article detailing five things I would do this year to improve my health. It was an assignment I decided to claim as a little experiment and personal challenge.

Now that 2012 is about halfway over, I'm preparing a post about how well I did with my resolutions. The article is background for the update, which I'll be posting soon.

[The following was originally published as a Display Only (D.O.) article on Yahoo! Voices, December 15, 2011.]

Five Ways to Better Health in the New Year

Every December, I write down some generic New Year's resolutions, such as "get more exercise" or "eat better." This is a good starting point, but it doesn't hold me as accountable as I'd like. As someone with more than one health problem, I know that there are several things I can do to help myself. That's why I've begun to take a more active role in my health. In addition to getting more exercise and changing my diet in general, I've come up with some specific ways to improve my situation. I have five health resolutions for 2012, along with details on how to follow through.

1. Drink more water. Although I drink water almost exclusively, I still don't drink enough. In 2012, I would like to drink eight glasses every day. This is something I'm working up to slowly. Over the last month, I've increased my daily water intake to six glasses. The many benefits include its ability to curb my hunger and keep me from grabbing a high-calorie snack. If eight glasses proves too much for me, I'll back off until I find out what works best for my body.

2. Consume more calcium. I don't get enough calcium in my diet. Unfortunately, increasing my calcium intake is no longer merely an option; it became a necessity after a bone density scan revealed that I have osteopenia, a possible precursor to osteoporosis. On the advice of my doctor, I plan to take a calcium citrate supplement in addition to eating foods rich in calcium.

3. Eat less wheat. Wheat is my downfall, whether it's in the form of bread, cake, pasta, or something else. Although I do have self-control--I can stop after a bite or two--I like it far too much. With that in mind, I've resolved to do without wheat at least three days a week in 2012. I've already experimented by having an occasional wheat-free day, and I can do it as long as I have a variety of the right foods available.

4. Get more vitamin D. After learning that I have a serious vitamin D deficiency, my doctor advised me to start taking a supplement. I did that for a while but slacked off, and now it's time to renew my commitment to taking this essential hormone.

5. Track my lab reports. My doctor typically doesn't say much about my test results, other than to indicate that everything is fine or that a particular result is slightly outside the normal range. From now on, I'm going to ask for copies of my lab reports. Once I start getting my own copies, I can track my progress all year and be prepared with any questions I may have.

I'm determined to follow through with these health resolutions in 2012. After all, the benefits will far outweigh the inconvenience.

Did you make any health resolutions for this year?


Dana said...

The only health-related resolution I made was the generic "exercise more." I have to admit I'm not doing well with this. I loathe exercise, but I told myself the other day that I would try harder to get back on the treadmill after we return from our vacation.

I hope your resolutions are going well for you!

Eliza Wynn said...

Dana, that's one resolution I avoided making.

I've thought about getting a treadmill. It was one of the few pieces of equipment I actually enjoyed using at the gym.