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5 Healthy Resolutions for Women

Experts share their thoughts on the top 5 things women can do to get healthy and well in the new year.
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WebMD Feature

Thirty-year-old Pierangeli has spent most of her adult life trying to do what thousands, if not millions, of women have resolved to do at the beginning of each year: Live a healthier life. This year, however, she is more optimistic about success as she's already started efforts at regular exercise and a well-balanced diet.

"This new year, I will continue and work on my eating habits, go to the gym, and practice balance in all areas of my life," says the Louisville, Ky. resident.

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Health-related goals are, indeed, popular among people with New Year's resolutions. In the last 25 years, resolutions concerning weight, exercise, better relationships, and smoking cessation have been at the top of turn-of-the-calendar objectives for both sexes, says John C. Norcross, PhD, co-author of Changing for Good.

For many women, the path to good health is not an easy one, with plenty of roadblocks along the way. Procrastination, family obligations, work demands, and lack of time and energy are only a few culprits that can stop the best of health resolutions in their tracks.

To help women in their quest for better living, WebMD came up with five resolutions to improve physical and mental well-being, and asked the experts to provide tips for success. Their advice is by no means exhaustive, as different strategies work for different people. But, if you've made attempts at sounder mind and body before, here's another chance to make it happen. Good luck!

New Year's Resolution No. 1: Eat, but Don't Pig Out

When women resolve to lose weight, they are often black and white about it, says Bonnie Taub-Dix, spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association. She says women tend to want to cut out major food groups, telling themselves they cannot have any candy, dessert, or carbohydrates.

"It's a setup for failure, because by the time mid-January comes around, those resolutions are already in line for the next new year," says Taub-Dix. "It would be a much wiser decision to say, for example, 'I'm going to cut back on desserts.' Maybe pick a Saturday to have dessert." Instead of deprivation, practice moderation during the holidays.

The reduction approach is much more realistic than the all-or-nothing technique, which labels foods as "good" or "bad." When people see certain edibles as "bad," they can end up obsessing about it. Or they may see dieting as punishment for a year of unhealthy eating. Concentrate on getting adequate servings of whole grains, calcium, fiber, fruits and vegetables. This can be as easy as having a high-fiber cereal with milk and a banana.

Slashing entire food groups from the diet often backfires, because food is good and is one of the pleasures in life, says Taub-Dix. "There's no reason why we shouldn't enjoy food just because we're over the weight that we should be."

"Don't wait until the new year to have better eating habits, says Taub-Dix. "It should be a whole year's resolution, not a New Year's resolution."

(Have you resolved to go on a diet this year? Check out WebMD's Diet Assessment tool.)

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