Weekend Diagnosis: New Year

Published: 6 January 2016

Mairead McAlindenThis Weekend Diagnosis is from Mairead McAlinden, our Chief Executive

With the Christmas festivities and New Year celebrations now behind us, January often signals a new start for many – a chance for people to change old habits and start the year as they mean to go on by making New Year’s resolutions.

Healthy eating and doing more exercise are often the most popular resolutions due to over indulgence over the Christmas period but for those people who are really committed to making their resolution a reality, it can be life changing.

If you have a Body Mass Index (BMI) over 25 then losing weight can reduce your risk of a developing serious condition such as high blood pressure, heart disease or diabetes type 2. By helping you maintain a healthy weight exercise also provides all of these benefits in addition to short term benefits such as higher energy levels, better sleep, improved emotional wellbeing and reduced stress levels.

Setting realistic goals and making small changes will help you along the right path to achieving your resolutions. The good news is that eating healthy doesn’t necessarily mean you have to cut out everything that is bad for you and replace it with just fruit and vegetables. A balanced diet with a mixture of food groups, cutting down portion sizes, and replacing unhealthy snacks such as crisps for mixed nuts and raisins can help you maintain a healthy weight.

The same also applies to exercise, if your resolution is to go the gym every night it is unlikely that you will be able to achieve this in the long term, by making smaller changes such as walking to work or school, it is more likely that you will be able to stick to this and achieve it.

It is also important to remember that you don’t have to do this alone. The Healthy Lifestyles team at Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust can offer advice and support as well a range services, including a weight management programme, to help you in achieving your goals.