Dear Dr. Conner,

HELP! It’s almost the middle of February and I have not achieved any of my new year’s health resolutions. I feel fat and overwhelmed with post-holiday stress and the winter doldrums. Can you give me some advice to get started on a healthier lifestyle this year?

Blue in Newtown


Dear Blue,

Relax. The month of February is the perfect time to evaluate your present lifestyle, set some realistic health goals, and make changes that will foster a healthier 2012. It is common to feel somewhat overwhelmed after encountering the stressful, time-consuming, and often scale-tipping months that have recently passed. The problem with the holiday season is that it is a season- six weeks of food, food and more food. You are constantly faced with lots of food choices that you may not typically encounter at any other time of year but this season. Everywhere you turn…..cookies, cakes, eggnog, alcohol….a never-ending sea of holiday treats.  Despite these overwhelming feelings, one does not have to commit to drastic measures in order to get back on track. Even if your clothes have appeared to shrink and a layer of dust has found its home upon your treadmill, do not allow yourself to feel discouraged or hopeless.

By incorporating a few good habits into your daily lifestyle, you can gradually progress towards an increased state of wellness. Even though you may not meet your goals in the most ideal time period, keep in mind that even small steps can lead to great accomplishment.

The following are some suggestions to keep you moving in the right direction:

-Always start the day with a nutritious breakfast. By fueling your body in the morning, you will boost your metabolism and enable yourself to meet the daily demands of your lifestyle.

-Try to keep hydrated with water! Increase your water intake from the point at which you are at now. If you do it this way, you will not overload your kidneys and spend your day in the restroom. If you are drinking no water, start with one glass per day. Increase it gradually. No…caffeinated coffee and soda does not meet your fluid needs. These are dehydrating fluids.

-Become familiar with the concepts of moderation and portion control. You do not want to completely abandon your favorite foods, just reduce your portions and eat those foods that are not good for you much less often.

-Slow down your rate of eating. Taste your food. Savor it.

-Increase your intake of fresh fruits and vegetables.  If you need help doing so, consider taking Juice Plus, a whole food supplement. If you call 203-775-1819, we can tell you how to get  Juice Plus FREE for your children with the Children’s Health Study.

-Get that body moving! Any exercise is better than no exercise. Play outside with your children. Take the stairs. Park at the other end of the shopping mall so that you have to walk.

-Keep in mind that you will never be perfect. Even those with the greatest determination slip once in a while. Forgive yourself and get back on track as soon as possible. Do not wait until Monday.

-Keep everything in perspective. Do not become obsessed with just the scale. Measure your progress by how you feel.

Good Luck!