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New Year Resolutions – Women’s Health – Diets, Smoking and Fitness for better Health

DESPITE spending months saving pounds in money and losing pounds in weight in preparation for Christmas many of us will begin the New Year with slim purses and bulging waistlines.

Over Christmas we may have over indulged and we may be asking ourselves: “Why did I spend so much and eat so much, and how did months of hard slog get blown to kingdom come in just a few weeks?”

All is not lost. January is the perfect time for a fresh start with New Year resolutions and good intentions at their strongest.

The best way to feel good about ourselves again is to make a plan of do-able targets and keep a record of our daily achievements in a diary.

It’s no good giving up cigarettes, alcohol and food all together on January 1. After just a few weeks of unwavering willpower we will feel deprived and unhappy.

We may despise ourselves and consider ourselves weak, useless failures and return to all our vices - smoking, drinking and eating - to comfort ourselves in our hours of need.

So let’s not do that.

Most people gain weight when they stop smoking, so for those who smoke, let’s continue throughout January. However, the healthy eating plan and regular exercise starts now.

Set yourself targets which are within easy reach. This will keep your moral and your momentum up.

The healthy-swap-shop: This means making small changes to your normal shopping trolley content. For example swap white bread for wholemeal; crisps for apples; biscuits for nuts; fatty beef for chicken or fish; processed food for fresh; sugary cereals for muesli or bran flakes.

The list goes on, and the changes, although miniscule, will have a massive impact on your calorie intake and energy levels.  The golden rules are to reduce fats, sugars and salts and increase fibre, fresh foods and water.

Alcohol is loaded with calories and we all know that after a bottle of red wine we couldn’t care less if that family bag of crisps or left over tin of chocolates adds a few inches around the hips. That is until the next morning.

If you need a drink at the end of a busy day, because you’re worth it! Try finding a different liquid treat which is tasty but not alcoholic such as a favourite fruit juice in a wine glass.

These small changes over a longer period of time will ensure that the weight you lose is not quickly put back on – plus some. When you start a strict diet you deprive your body to such an extent it goes into starvation mode, and when you cannot sustain the diet and eat normally again your body stores as much fat as possible in preparation for your next fast.

After a week or so of healthy eating you can begin to introduce some regular exercise such as walking, running, swimming or a fitness class. It could be as easy as cycling to work rather than driving or walking up stairs instead of taking a lift. Alternatively you could set aside a slot each week for a serious workout, or get up half an hour earlier to jog/walk round the block. As the days go by your energy levels will naturally increase.

Now that our diet is balanced, we are exercising, and drinking more water or herbal teas, we feel lighter, healthier, and more alive than ever. This is the time to stop smoking. I am an expert in nicotine addiction as I’ve been an addict since my teens and have given up more times than I can remember. It’s a pathetic tale, I know.

I find every method works – patches, hypnosis, acupuncture, gum, self help books, cds, even will power. I’ve tried them all, but have to confess that even after years of being nicotine free that urge always returns at some vulnerable point and another method becomes tried and tested.

So, we’ve reached February and we’re feeling good. Now, is the time to boost our emotional happiness and really start enjoying life.  We can’t change the past and we can’t predict the future, so let’s enjoy the present.

Regular massages or other complementary therapies can help to enhance your well being and self esteem, but if your purse has not recovered from Christmas as quickly as you, candle lit baths, early nights and general home cosseting works wonders.

Remember to pat yourself on the back at the end of each week you have remained on track and even treat yourself to a pamper session, new outfit, hairstyle or outing.

Doing voluntary work is another great way of boosting your self-worth. Helping yourself while helping others. It’s also a fantastic way to make new friends.
If you have the odd few days when your best intentions have flown out of the window, don’t despair, just draw a line under that phase and get back to your targets as soon as possible. We’re only human and you’ll be amazed how little damage you’ve done.


  1. Give away your left over Christmas goodies and bathroom scales.
  2. Do a healthy weekly swap shop.
  3. Move instead of sit.
  4. Discover new treats and incentives.
  5. Get addicted to life!

Helen is a complementary therapist offering treatments to ladies in Ipswich and Suffolk. For more information on swedish massage treatments and hot stone massages, Reiki healings or Seaweed Body Wrapping - please click on these links. Or click here to contact Helen.