It’s a new year, and many of us are thinking about ways to live in healthier relationships with ourselves and those in our lives. One of these core elements is taking care of our bodies so that we can have more energy, be in better moods, and minimize sickness and disease. Reaching a healthy weight goal is both important and difficult to achieve. Weight loss medications like Orlistat may be a helpful tool for part of your weight loss program if it your doctor recommends it. Regardless, long term success and health requires other factors such as diet and exercise. Eating healthy and exercising sound simple, but it doesn’t mean that it is easy. Don’t lose heart if you find it hard, but know that you can definitely achieve your goals! Here are some things to keep in mind as you enter a new year of better health. Keep Injuries and Conditions in Mind A lot of diets and exercise plans do not take into consideration that many people have health conditions and previous or existing injuries. New Year’s Resolution List suggestions to begin hiking or kick-boxing may not be helpful if you have issues with your knees or joints. Or, if you’ve had heart issues and would have difficulty with high intensity activity, spin class probably isn’t the place to start. Simply building the routine of physical activity into your everyday life is hard enough without having to have your body rebelling in pain, or worse, getting further injured. Perhaps a few visits to a physiotherapist, nutritionist, or personal trainer can help you know where to begin, and what to avoid. Even one or two meetings or appointments with an expert can help you tackle the area that you feel the least prepared for. At the very least, remember your doctor’s job is to partner with you in your health. Ask him or her for suggestions and don’t hesitate to get help in your weight management. Get InformedOur bodies need a good balance of carbohydrates, protein and fat to function optimally. It’s all about knowing what to balance, and what foods are healthy and necessary for your body. For instance, not all carbs are “bad.” Our brain and body needs carbohydrates to perform. You can talk to your doctor or read up on information to learn basics: simple carbs like sugar, pasta, and white rice will lead to more weight gain, and complex carbs like vegetables, whole grains and fruits are great for your nutritional intake. Take small steps towards a healthier diet by switching to whole-grain pasta noodles when you are craving spaghetti. Just don’t forget to include veggies! Besides getting informed on nutrition, and different diets you can try (Mediterranean, vegetarian), you can also get informed on what exercise classes are in your neighborhood or city. Learn about the benefits of cardio versus weight training, low intensity versus high intensity. Being educated as well as knowing what’s available in your community will help give you the confidence and knowledge to make effective decisions towards a healthy weight. Customize What Works For You You may see some people lose weight from swimming, tennis or cutting gluten out of their diets. However, every person is different, and you need to find something that your body responds well to, and that is also realistic for you to incorporate and maintain in your everyday routine. It’s important that you set steps and goals that are not overly ambitious. You likely need to create a plan that has progression. Maybe you need to start with 10-15 minute daily walks with your spouse or friend and build from there. When you’re ready, you can consider joining a class will help keep you accountable. Finally, choose activities (or rewards) that are enjoyable for you so that you are more likely to keep it up! Reminders and Preparation Be honest, and be aware of what encourages and discourages you so that you can play to your strengths and minimize excuses to fall back on what is easier or more familiar. Maybe it will help you to spend a month or two experimenting before deciding on a set plan of action: try grocery shopping and cooking for the week on the weekend so your healthy meals are already prepared. Put your runners by the door or beside your bed so you have a visual reminder to go on your walk or jog. Set an alarm to go to bed earlier if you want to wake up for exercise. Schedule in your workouts and let your family and friends know so they can support you. Keep fine tuning until you find a diet and exercise routine that works well, and keep going!