By Dr. Pamela Havlen, Skyline Internal Medicine and CWCC Member
Looking forward to 2015, many people make resolutions to get healthy — from eating better, to losing weight, to quitting bad habits — but we often need a little assistance to get started. Especially for busy working women and those with families, this can be a challenge. From long work days, to chauffeuring kids around to making meals and doing laundry, there seems to be a little time to focus on personal health.
I know this challenge well as a working mother and have five tips on how busy women can get healthy in 2015.
1. Make Realistic Goals
Know what you can and cannot take on. Hitting the gym for two hours a day may not be an option, but finding 30 minutes to take a brisk walk can be. Changing your diet completely can be challenging with small children, but making better food choices each meal is a great first step.
For weight loss, you may have a long-term goal of losing 50 pounds, but that can be incredibly daunting. Start small with a goal of losing just 10 percent of your weight. Studies have shown that, by just cutting only 10 percent of your overall weight, you will lower your blood pressure and cholesterol and reduce your risk for diabetes.
2. Get Active
One of the most important aspects for your health, and often one of the most challenging, is to make time to get active. Schedule it into your daily routine, blocking out the time without letting work or home life interfere. Make this your time. I know that this can be difficult, so it is important to get the support of your family and friends to make this happen.
3. Cut Bad Habits
If you smoke, make it a priority to quit. Make sure to drink alcohol only in moderation, and cut out other bad habits like soda, sugary coffee drinks or snacking on fatty foods. Eliminating these bad habits will have an immediate impact on your health. I know this all seems logical, but putting it into practice is important.
4. Keep your Sanity
Mental health is very important, especially for a woman with a demanding career and family life. You need to manage your sanity by realizing that you can’t do everything. Focus on what is most important. It is OK to turn down invitations or bow out of activities if you have too much going on. Keep work at work and home at home. Working to create balance in all that you do won’t just assist your mental health, but it can have true physical benefits as well.
5. Visit Your Doctor
Make it a point to see your doctor every year. There are many diseases that can lie dormant for years without presenting any symptoms, while doing damage to your body. Also, having a regular doctor who is familiar with your routine and health can help save time if there is a sudden illness or injury. Often, your family physician will work around your busy schedule to get you in and taken care of right away.
As a working mother myself, I know how challenging making these changes can be. I always tell my patients that their health is 10 percent their doctor but 90 percent them. That said, your doctor can help you discuss your health priorities, define realistic goals and offer expert tips to help you get healthy. We’re part of your team in overall health!
About Dr. Pamela Havlen
Dr. Pamela Havlen is a physician who practices at Skyline Internal Medicine focusing on internal medicine. Dr. Havlen graduated from University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston Texas in 2003. She was recognized as Chief Resident and served during 2002 – 2003. Before joining Skyline Internal Medicine in July of 2013, Dr. Havlen served as Assistant Professor, Division of General Internal Medicine, in the Department of Internal Medicine with the University of Texas Medical Branch in League City, Texas.