Recipe for Life: How to Change Habits That Harm into Resources that Heal

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Weigh yourself at the same time each morning, preferably before breakfast and after urinating. Notify your healthcare professional if you gain three or more pounds in one day, five or more pounds in one week, or whatever amount you were told to report.


Learn more about maintaining a healthy weight. So your healthcare team may recommend limiting your liquid intake. If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation. This means no more than one to two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women. Learn more about alcohol and heart disease. Learn more about caffeine and heart disease. Eat an overall healthy dietary pattern that emphasizes a variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, skinless poultry and fish, nuts and legumes, and non-tropical vegetable oils.

Also, limit saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium, red meat, sweets and sugar-sweetened beverages. Schedule physical activity at the same time every day so it becomes a regular part of your lifestyle. Take 15 to 20 minutes a day to sit quietly, breathe deeply and think of a peaceful scene. Or try a class in yoga or meditation. Check with your doctor first before undertaking a strenuous yoga class.

When you get angry, count to 10 before responding to help reduce your stress. Learn more about managing stress. Report any changes that concern you to your healthcare professional.

How can you change your eating habits?

Chart your blood pressure readings over time. This can reveal trends and help to eliminate false readings. Find out more about how healthy eating can lower your blood pressure with the DASH eating plan.

To improve your sleep at night, use pillows to prop up your head. Avoid naps and big meals right before bedtime. Try napping after lunch or putting your feet up for a few minutes every couple of hours. Learn about sleep apnea and heart disease. Join a support group for people with heart failure and other heart conditions.

Contact local congregations and volunteer centers to find out about programs that provide meals, transportation and errand services for people who need assistance.

About the Australian Dietary Guidelines | Eat For Health

Flu and pneumonia pose greater dangers for people who have heart failure or any heart condition than for healthy people. Pneumonia is a lung infection that keeps your body from using oxygen as efficiently as it should. Your heart has to work harder to pump oxygenated blood through the body. If you have heart failure, you should avoid putting this extra stress on your heart.

Aging Well

Ask your doctor or another healthcare professional about getting a yearly influenza flu vaccine and a one-time pneumococcal vaccine. The latter guards against the most common form of bacterial pneumonia. Both vaccines are generally safe and seldom cause any severe reactions.

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That means no more than one drink a day for a woman and no more than two drinks a day for a man. One drink equals 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1. Even in the smallest quantities, smoking is bad for you. Many of his patients have succeeded by setting small goals and cutting back gradually before quitting completely. Think it'll take years for your body to reap the benefits of kicking the habit?

Guess again: The benefits of quitting begin just 20 minutes after your last cigarette. Not exercising. Not all bad habits are as obvious as smoking. If you're too busy to go to the gym, you can still get the benefits of exercise by doing it in small chunks. Not sleeping enough. Another bad habit by omission, getting too little sleep can have serious health effects. Research has shown that chronic sleep deprivation increases your risk of high blood pressure , diabetes , obesity, depression , heart attack and stroke. Most adults need seven to eight hours of sleep a night — so you should go to bed early enough to get that much.

Small changes can make a big difference

If you regularly have trouble falling asleep, discuss it with your doctor. Looking at a screen right before bed. One way to get more sleep? Break the increasingly common bad habit of looking at a screen right before you go to bed. Screens also sometimes cause us to hunch over them. And routinely hunching or slouching, whatever the reason, can cause low back pain. If you spend all day sitting in front of a computer, stand up every so often maybe even now and walk around. Whatever your resolutions, these strategies can help you form and maintain healthier habits all year long.

Compared to jobs in construction, transportation and mining, office work might seem safe.

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