12 Months to a Healthier You! (Month 1)

by: Dr. Anne Zauderer

Have you ever wanted to make a big change in your life? Overhaul some of your habits? January 1 inevitably rolls around each year and we feel compelled to set a New Year’s resolution. It might stick for a few weeks or months, but we slide back into our comfortable habits. Or we start reading about all of the ways to be healthy and we try to  overhaul everything at once … and end up right back where we started. Trust me, you are not alone.

I want to issue a challenge to all of our Health Hunters readers. I want to walk through 12 months of healthy lifestyle changes with each of you. I will be issuing one challenge per month. Do it the best you can. Don’t be discouraged if you aren’t perfect, but stick with it! If you can make these changes in your life, I promise that at the end of the year you will have a renewed sense of energy and achievement in your health journey.

Month 1: Drink Only Water

This is a great place to start. Most people are not aware of the excess sugar and calories they consume in the beverages that they drink. The average person consumes 400 calories per day in the beverages. Those calories add up fast! This could easily contribute to 20 pounds of weight gain per year.

Most people consume these beverages out of habit. So, now’s the time to change your habit! Cut out all calorie-containing drinks. This includes:

  • Soda
  • Energy drinks (Gatorade, Powerade, Vitamin Water … etc.)
  • Flavored coffee drinks (yes, step away from the Starbucks!)
  • Sweet tea
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Juices (all juices, even ones that are 100% fruit juice)
  • Lemonade
  • Milk

Here are some tips to help you change your habits:

  1. The best and least expensive thing to replace the drinks listed above is just water. If water is too boring for you and you want to “spice” it up a bit, try adding lemon or other infused fruits or drink carbonated (unsweetened) water.
  1. Aim to drink a minimum of 64 ounces of water per day. I carry around a glass bottle that holds 32 ounces. If I carry the water around with me, I tend to be better at sipping on it throughout the day.
  1. Drinks that do not contain any sugar or calories can be another good option, such as unsweetened tea or black coffee. (Note: I am NOT suggesting you change your regular soda for diet. Even though diet sodas do not contain any sugar, the chemical artificial sweeteners in them are toxic and should not be consumed.)
  1. Save calorie-containing drinks for special occasions only. You will enjoy that Starbucks latte or glass of wine a lot more if you don’t have it on a regular basis.

I have many patients who make the change of only drinking water and they immediately lose 10-15 pounds within a few months (a lot of that excess weight is due to inflammation). This is a very simple change that can have a big return! Try this, not only for yourself, but make it a family challenge. Train your kids to drink water with most of their meals.

Best of luck and drink up!

I want to hear from you on how your results are going with the monthly challenge! Email me at newseditor@riordanclinic.org. We will be doing random giveaways each month for those who are participating in the challenges.