When looking ahead to a New Year, many people resolve to do better by making positive lifestyle changes, such as cutting out junk food, becoming more active, losing weight or quitting tobacco. If you practice healthy habits like these, you will reap the benefits for the rest of your life. One such advantage is a lower risk of developing many types of cancer.
Of course, like many people, you’ll probably find that New Year’s resolutions are easier made than kept. Here are some tips to help you make realistic goals that you will stick with:
- Fitness – When setting an exercise goal, be specific. For instance, instead of simply saying that you’ll be more active, make a plan to take a 30-minute walk every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Also, don’t think in terms of “all or nothing.” As you go about your day, look for easy ways to be more active, such as climbing the stairs instead of taking an elevator or walking over to a co-worker’s desk instead of sending an email. Anything is better than nothing; in fact, researchers have learned that as little as 15 minutes of physical activity each day can provide health benefits.
- Nutrition – Instead of denying yourself certain foods that you love, focus on moderation. One way to do so is to avoid oversized portions. For example, the amount of meat recommended as part of a healthy meal is about 3 ounces (the size of a deck of cards). Also, you can eat healthier by adding more fruits, vegetables and whole grains to your meals.
- Smoking cessation – Ask a physician to help you quit smoking. This is the most important step you can take to improve your overall well-being and reduce your cancer risk, and research shows that smokers who get help are more likely to succeed than those who go it alone.
To keep your New Year’s resolutions, you will likely have to change certain behaviors. The first step in changing any behavior is fully understanding the underlying objective. You will be more likely to reach your goals if they are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound.
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The importance of making positive lifestyle changes cannot be overstated. More than one-third of all cancer-related deaths are linked to poor diet, physical inactivity or excess body weight. The experts at Moffitt Cancer Center can help you reduce your cancer risk by making and keeping healthy New Year’s resolutions. Request an appointment by calling 1-888-MOFFITT or completing our new patient registration form online. You do not need a referral.