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Published on January 03, 2018

Planning for a Healthy 2018

Healthy 2018

In this series:

Establish a Baseline

If you are planning for one of your resolutions this year to involve weight loss or exercise, some of the most common resolutions every year, it’s important to make an appointment for a physical with your primary care physician first. This appointment will help establish a baseline of health and create an exercise plan that is appropriate for you.

Primary care physicians play a critical role in preventative care by making sure you get the right screenings when you need them. If a primary care physician knows your family history, they can also watch for illnesses that you are at risk for, and monitor your risk factors. Primary care providers can also act as an advocate for their patients, especially when it comes to their health goals!

Regular dental hygiene appointments are also a key part of overall wellbeing that are often overlooked. Whether you have a regular dentist or you visit local dental schools when you can, your dentist can be a great partner in your health. While cleaning your teeth, your dentist will also look for anything that could be an indication of other issues, including oral cancer.

Dr. Zoe Stallings, is a family medicine physician with Primary Care at Pomona.

Setting Realistic Resolutions

It is a New Year’s tradition for many to set a resolution or goal to accomplish in the coming year, but these lifestyle changes don’t always last. By the end of January, many of us will have already given up on our goal to go to the gym more often or to save more money. While planning and setting attainable goals can help us attain them, let’s consider setting different, life-enriching goals this year instead.

One alternative to normal resolutions are disruptive resolutions. Disruptive resolutions still change your normal routine but they push you to do something that will help you feel better about yourself. These could include visiting family more, learning a new skill, conquering a fear or traveling to a place you’ve never been before. While you still need to plan to attain them, these experiences improve your life and can have a positive impact on the lives of those around you.

Another alternative to resolutions is the idea of picking one word to shape your year. Think of a word that encapsulates what you want to bring to all aspects of your life throughout this next year. Examples could be “intentional” or “considerate,” or anything else that you think would better your life and those around you. By setting different resolutions this year, we can break the mold and find new ways to improve our lives. If you need help setting or achieving your goals this year, Cone Health has a variety of therapists, counselors and health care professionals that are there to help you succeed. Visit to find a provider near you.

Jennifer Becker is a therapist and manager of the Cone Health Employee Assistance Counseling Program.

Healthy Eating and Exercise

One of the most common New Year’s resolutions is eating healthier and exercising regularly. Practicing a healthy lifestyle can help you feel better, avoid discouragement and sustain a new, healthy outlook throughout the year. The key to a healthier diet is a balance of nutrients, including those that will support your exercise routine.

Research recommends eating an hour before exercise and, depending on the intensity of your workout, eating after as well. A good pre-workout snack could include yogurt, a banana or a piece of whole grain toast. Getting the right amount of protein is important for those who consistently exercise, but too much protein just translates to extra calories. Carbohydrates are often limited for weight loss, but they help give your muscles the energy you need while you work out. Hydration is also incredibly important for everyone, and especially for individuals with a consistent workout routine.

In general, most of us would benefit from incorporating more fruits and vegetables into our diets. As you work toward a healthier lifestyle, think about adding healthy foods, rather than restricting the foods you can eat. Consider building in more vegetables and high fiber foods into your diet, such as beans, nuts, seeds and whole grains. Limit the amount of sugary drinks and processed meats (bacon, sausage and hot dogs) you consume as well.

Making sure you eat proper portions and include the right variety of foods in your diet can be difficult, and often, the guidance of a dietitian can get people on the right track. Cone Health has an exceptional network of registered dietitians dedicated to helping patients develop and maintain healthy, balanced diets that work for them and fit into their lifestyles.

Pam Ingram is a registered dietitian with Cone Health Nutrition and Diabetes Education Services at Alamance Regional.