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To your health: New Year’s touch-ups

Resolutions are great as long as they last past January. However, according to Dr. Graham Colditz, of Siteman Cancer Center, “those goals often focus on big, sweeping changes, such as losing 40 pounds or training for a marathon.”

Colditz suggests heading in the opposite direction by focusing on smaller, easier-to-accomplish “New Year’s touch-ups.”

Stand more. Most of us spend too much time sitting, and it’s increasing our risk of weight gain, diabetes, heart disease and maybe even some cancers. If you have to sit for work or school, try to stand up once or twice an hour for a few minutes. Standing desks are even better. At home, try standing when watching TV or spending time on your computer or phone.

Step on your bathroom scale. “Easy but not fun” but stepping on your scale regularly [once a day or once a week] is a great way to keep weight in check. If you notice your weight creeping up, you can make small changes to how much you eat and how active you are.

Sneak in some vegetables. Adding more vegetables to your diet is always a good idea. And one easy, and somewhat sneaky, way to do it is to grate vegetables into some of your usual dishes. Carrots, squash and cauliflower practically disappear when grated into soups, casseroles and pasta sauce, but they provide a good nutrition boost.

Pick low- or zero-sodium canned foods. Most people eat too much sodium, which can increase the risk of high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, even stomach cancer.

Slow down. We tend to rush through our days, and this often includes our meals and snacks. Try to slow down the next few times you eat. Take a minute to sit quietly before you start, then eat much more slowly than you normally would. You may find you’re satisfied with less food than you would be usually.

Keep sunscreen within arm’s reach. Broad-spectrum SPF 30 or higher sunscreen provides good protection against the sun’s damaging rays. But it can’t do its job if you forgot it at home. So, keep some backup sunscreen in your car, backpack, desk, purse or other easy-access spots. This way, when you’re ready to go outside, you’ll have it ready to put on.

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