2020 Vision: Making Health a Priority

Health professionals weigh in on how to enact and maintain a healthier lifestyle this year.

While it's easy to acknowledge the importance of good health, it can prove difficult to make it a priority. Our health impacts our happiness, productivity, energy levels, appearance, and overall well-being, but for many, the steps to achieve a healthier lifestyle can seem daunting and unobtainable. Dr. Amato, owner of The Center for Ideal Health, strives to empower and educate patients through the use of functional medicine to improve quality of life, teaching them the steps necessary to take control of their health. 

“Functional medicine is based on the idea that health is a function,” begins Dr. Amato, “people can either trend towards disease or trend towards health, and neither of these occur overnight.”

The New Year offers a chance to wipe the slate clean and make positive resolutions for moving forward. However, Dr. Amato urges her patients to think about the reasoning behind their resolutions and to remain proactive in their goals. 

“Everyone sets a ‘New Year’s Resolution’, but studies have shown that only 25% of people that made a resolution are still committed after 30 days, and only 8% truly reach their goal,” she warns. “Everyone has someone or something that is special in their life, but people tend to forget about these things when they’re presented with the temptations of their cravings or bad habits. Create a vision board. Put all the important things you have in your life on it, add inspirational quotes and lots of photos of your loved ones and the people or things you value, add goals and keep in mind where you want to see yourself in a year, five years, or ten years from now.  Check back with your vision board regularly and make changes as time goes on. Also, keep in mind that it takes 12 weeks for a new behavior to become part of your lifestyle and it can take even longer than this to see changes…you can’t expect there to be a ‘quick fix’. Things that matter take time, determination, and commitment.” 

Better Diet, Better Health

Diet plays an instrumental part in achieving optimal health. Food is fuel; better fuel means better function. 

“Organic truly is better,” states Dr. Amato. She touts the importance of remembering the “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean 15” when grocery shopping. These two lists, courtesy of the Environmental Working Group (EWG), compile the 12 fruits and vegetables with the most pesticide residue and the 15 fruits and vegetables with the least pesticide residue.

“Remember to focus on foods with high protein, healthy fats, and fiber to keep you fuller longer, promote digestion, and sustain blood sugars to avoid cravings,” Dr. Amato continues. “Try to remove products with added sugar and artificial sugar from your diet. Sugar acts like a drug in the brain, and our society is absolutely addicted. Notice the benefits even after just a few days without sugar; improved mental clarity, improvement in headaches and energy levels, and you’ll even notice how sweet and satisfying natural sugar is (such as those found in fruit) after your taste buds aren’t being assaulted with artificial sweeteners.”

She also recommends monitoring portion sizes, which have been shown to be detrimental to one’s health. 

“Ask for a to-go box when your food comes and put half in the box before starting to eat, or share an entrée with a significant other or friend,” says Dr. Amato. “Bonus- you will save money!”

Dirty Dozen (2019)

  1. Strawberries
  2. Spinach
  3. Kale
  4. Nectarines
  5. Apples
  6. Grapes
  7. Peaches
  8. Cherries
  9. Pears
  10. Tomatoes
  11. Celery
  12. Potatoes

Clean 15 (2019)

  1. Avocados
  2. Sweet Corn
  3. Pineapples
  4. Sweet Peas Frozen
  5. Onions
  6. Papayas
  7. Eggplants
  8. Asparagus
  9. Kiwis
  10. Cabbage
  11. Cauliflower
  12. Cantaloup
  13. Broccoli
  14. Mushrooms
  15. Honeydew Melons

Courtesy ewg.org

Granite Health and Fitness

“Most people know they need to eat better, exercise, and get more sleep,” says Shara Kay Overstreet, managing partner and general manager of Granite Health And Fitness. “At Granite, we help members incorporate these things and achieve wellness by adjusting lifestyles for a sustainable life…we focus on the whole picture.” She believes that starting a new lifestyle means making small, realistic changes, then slowly building upon them. 

“It’s neither realistic nor sustainable to start anything with a ‘cold turkey’ approach,” Shara vows. “We teach people how to incorporate healthy living with the focus on a forever healthy sustainable life. No fad diets, no quick fixes… Real living for real life.”

She also reminds clients that regular exercise and a nutritious diet reap benefits well-beyond weight loss. 

“Regular exercise can help prevent disease and contribute to emotional wellness. A balanced diet is an investment in your future. Eating well keeps you healthy and exercise makes you look good.”

The elements which set Granite apart from others gyms are accountability and certification.

“All of my trainers and instructors are certified,” states Shara. “When you become a member at Granite you are not just a number. You are a part of the family. We focus on individualizing to member’s needs. We cater to what is necessary to achieve said person's success and goals…We offer over 200 classes with certified trainers to help you achieve success. It’s about creating relationships to help you stay accountable and successful.”

Tone360 Barre & Yoga

“An important factor for a healthy lifestyle is finding balance throughout all aspects of life,” says Mercede Nelson, owner of Tone360 Barre & Yoga, who believes carving time out of a busy schedule to focus on yourself is essential for mitigating stress and finding mental clarity. 

“Tone360 can help with this due to the fact the class hour is all about you,” she encourages. “For the new year, I would recommend those seeking a positive change in their lifestyle to set goals that are realistic for their individual lives…start small and continue to set smaller goals for yourself as the new year continues.”

The workouts at Tone360 are unique because they give an individual, personalized experience catering to each person’s fitness goals. 

“The variety of classes offered are designed to get you to an attainable fitness goal that will positively affect your daily life, and it’s not just about losing weight,” explains Mercede. “It’s about learning how to use your body in efficient ways to be stronger, have more mobility, stamina, and energy and to continue doing all the things required to get through each day. Stretching is so important for the body in order to release tension and also to rehabilitate from any chronic pain injuries. By utilizing body weight for resistance training, you’ll see a major difference in the amount of strength you gain. Lengthening and strengthening the muscles is the main approach with the Tone360 method.”

Meier Chiropractic, Dr. Jeffrey Meier

“As chiropractors, we know that optimal health is a balance between physical, chemical, and emotional well-being.  All forms of stress interrupt this balance, so the important factors in achieving overall health and wellness come from mitigating or reducing stress. 

We address and reduce the effects of stress in the body when we adjust patients.  We partner with patients to manage the stressors they can control. Food choices, movement, environment and emotional well being."

Expert Advice to Kick off the New Year

“Make small, easy changes in your life that are sustainable. One of my favorites is changing my passwords to a small goal or affirmation. Think of how many times you type your password into your computer or phone. If you make this a positive phrase or goal- you are subconsciously imprinting that into your life numerous times a day.

Also, upping your water intake is one of the easiest and most effective ways to improve your energy level.”

Willow Creek Dayspa & Salon, Owner Jamie Conrad

"Wellness begins with a positive mindset. In order to change, you have to develop a mindset in which you truly desire a healthy lifestyle, inside and out. At Willow Creek Dayspa & Salon, we work to help people see the positives of changing their mindset. We are cheerleaders of change. We gently and lovingly help clients through their journey. Often, a new look, or the feel of softer skin, begins a new thought in someone's mind that drives them to begin to live healthier."

Expert Advice to Kick off the New Year

"Don't go at new goals alone. Find a caring support network of friends, family, and even your beauty pro. We love and care for guests everyday. Start making small but meaningful differences in each day. For example, embrace thankfulness. If we have a thankful heart even the toughest things that stress can tear down seem to not bother us." 

B. Leaf, Founder Jayme Tripp

"Beautiful skin makes people feel their best for so many reasons. Having the skin you've always wanted allows you to put your best face forward."

Expert Advice to Kick off the New Year

According to Jayme, the most common skin concerns clients wish to address are wrinkles and age spots. B. Leaf's medical staff develops customized treatment plans for each client. "Having the proper skincare and effective treatments can help anyone achieve the skin they have always desired," she vows. 

Turley Dental Care, Dr. Chris Hirt

"There are many factors that contribute to good health and wellness, one of the most important being prevention. I think of prevention as the sum of all the little things we can do each day to keep ourselves feeling good and healthy. Eating right, exercising, and taking care of your mouth are among the most important 'little' things that can be done each day.  Brushing and flossing twice each day will improve your overall health dramatically and over time, decrease your risk of inflammatory vascular disease and lower your chances of developing pneumonia. Having your teeth checked and cleaned regularly will also ensure cavities and other issues are dealt with early or prevented, but doing the little things each day will have the greatest impact on your overall health."  

Expert Advice to Kick off the New Year

"As the new year begins, get a new tooth brush and buy some floss. The little sample pack of floss you get at your cleaning appointment should only last a couple weeks. Start with an achievable goal of flossing 3-4 days per week, then work up to flossing every day.  Reducing sugary drinks (soda, juice, sports drinks, etc.) is another easy "little" thing you can do to make a big difference for your health in the long run."  

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