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Healthier Living

Blog by Doris Gee & Phil Moore | December 12th, 2006

Steps to a healthier lifestyle for 2007

We’ve all heard and read about the tips we should follow to create a healthier lifestyle … how to manage stress to reduce the risk of heart attack; how to become a smart shopper to avoid trans fat or limit foods and beverages that are high in calories but low in nutrients; how more exercise and avoiding tobacco smoke contribute significantly to health. It’s clear that a healthy lifestyle can lead to both well being and longevity.

But for many of us, it’s not as easy as these “tips” may lead us to believe. There’s so much to learn! Canada’s Food Guide provides valuable information about the basic food groups but, beyond that, you’ll need to know how to read a packaging label and then you’ll need to be able to determine whether the amount of fibre provides your recommended daily amount.

Setting “SMART” goals is an effective approach that will help you actually move towards a healthier lifestyle for 2007. “SMART” is an acronym derived from:

Specific – Think of a specific goal, such as losing 20 pounds.
Measurable – Know when you’ve attained your goal by measuring your success.
Attainable – Make sure you can reach the goal you have set.
Realistic – Make sure the goal is something within your ability to attain.
Time Frame – Set an appropriate time limit to reach your goal.

For example, if you want to lose some weight, here’s how the process would work. You’d be specific about how much weight, say 20 pounds. Identify exactly how you’ll accomplish this goal, say by walking 20 minutes every day. You’ll be able to measure your success by weighing yourself every week. Set a goal for when you’d like to lose the weight by.

You can set a goal to learn how to read a food label, determine what your daily intake of nutrients should be, or even to add more fruit and vegetables into your diet, and then set a plan to achieve that goal. This step-by-step approach will help you build the knowledge and skills, or take appropriate actions, that will lead to a healthier lifestyle. Visit the Capital Health website (www.capitalhealth.ca) for more information on SMART goals for healthy living.

By setting specific goals, a healthy lifestyle can become an achievable project. Taking focused steps in this manner can provide long-term benefits to your health, setting the stage for a happy and healthy 2007!