In 2016 follow eight steps to wellness and be healthy and happy.

Kin Coulee Park, Medicine Hat. (Dr. Noorali Bharwani)
Kin Coulee Park, Medicine Hat. (Dr. Noorali Bharwani)

“There is only one happiness in this life, to love and be loved,” says George Sand, a pseudo name for a female French novelist. I guess she was happy to be a woman and use a man’s name.

It is important to be in love and be loved. It is also important to be healthy.

Those who are familiar with my columns and my books will know that I espouse eight steps of wellness for long-term good health and happiness. These are: healthy eating, no smoking, regular exercise, stress relief, adequate sleep, sexual empowerment, laughter and meditation.

Generally speaking, the most common desire is to lose weight. Sixty per cent of the people are overweight. We know why one should not be overweight. We know what one should do to lose weight. But the problem is how to implement the plan that will make us lose weight. A simple plan is to lose one pound a week. Can you imagine if you lose one pound a week, you can lose 52 pounds a year? That is amazing. Slow and steady wins the race. Rome wasn’t built in a day. OK you get the point.

Don’t just give up on eating. Be a smart eater. Make sure a healthy eating plan is one that has fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products. Include lean meats, poultry, fish, bean, eggs, and nuts. And is low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars. Isn’t that easy?

Eating smart (not dieting or starving) is one step in the grand design to be healthy. The second step is regular exercise. Again you don’t have to have a grand plan to join a club or run a marathon if you have children and a busy life. On a good day you just have to go outside your house and walk for 30 to 40 minutes a day. If the weather is bad then go to the mall and walk for half-an-hour and do window-shopping. That is not difficult. If you do that five days a week then you have burnt enough calories to lose some weight. It will also make you feel healthier and happier with no sense of guilt.

Smart eating and regular walking should not be difficult. If you are a smoker then you can quit on your own or seek help. Neither option is easy to implement. There is some success and lot of failures due to the addictive nature of nicotine. But success can be achieved if you have the determination. If you are serious about quitting then seek help. That would be the smart way to go. Talk to your family doctor.

The next five steps are important too – stress relief, good sleep, sexual empowerment, laughter and meditation. These five steps are more mental than physical. You need to devote more time and mental discipline to achieve your goals. You can read more about it in my previous columns or my books.

I have tried to keep this column short and to the point. This is busy time of the year. Make sure you spend lot of time with your family. Do not drink and drive. Be happy and relax so you can charge your batteries for 2016.

I wish you and your family a Happy New Year and may you all be blessed with peace, good health and happiness.

Have fun but be safe.

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Do We Have to Make a New Year’s Resolution?

Peace and tranquility for the New Year. (Dr. Noorali Bharwani)
Peace and tranquility for the New Year. (Dr. Noorali Bharwani)

The other day a friend said to me, “Every year I make a resolution to change myself. This year I am making a resolution to be myself.” Sounds pretty sensible to me.

Anyway, who started this idea of making a New Year’s resolution?

“A New Year’s resolution is a secular tradition, most common in the Western Hemisphere but also found in the Eastern Hemisphere, in which a person makes a promise to do an act of self-improvement, …” says an article in Wikipedia.

The ancient Babylonians and the Romans began each year by making promises to the gods. Similarly, there are many stories in the literature about other religious groups doing something significant in the New Year. The main goal is to reflect upon self-improvement on a yearly basis.

“At the end of the Great Depression, about a quarter of American adults formed New Year’s resolutions. At the start of the 21st century, about 40 per cent did,” says Wikipedia.

New Year’s Eve has always been a time for looking back to the past, and more importantly, forward to the coming year. It’s a time to reflect on the changes we want to make and resolve to follow through on those changes.

Some of the common resolutions are: spend more time with family and friends, join a fitness club, lose weight, quit smoking, enjoy life more, quit drinking, get out of debt, learn something new, help others and get organized. Hmm…! How successful are you with resolutions?

A 2007 study from the University of Bristol involving 3,000 people showed that 88 per cent of those who set New Year resolutions fail. Men achieved their goal 22 per cent more often when they engaged in goal setting, something more specific than saying “lose weight.” Women succeeded 10 per cent more when they made their goals public and got support from their friends.

One way to succeed in achieving your goal is to join a group with similar goals or have a friendly competition with a colleague or a family member.

Do we have to make a New Year’s resolution? Not really. Life goes on. Just be a nice person and keep smiling.

Have a wonderful happy New Year.

Start reading the preview of my book A Doctor's Journey for free on Amazon. Available on Kindle for $2.99!

There are thirteen common resolutions for the New Year – Which one is yours?

Wishing you all a happy and peaceful New Year. (Dr. Noorali Bharwani)
Wishing you all a happy and peaceful New Year. (Dr. Noorali Bharwani)

Being happy may be your only resolution for the New Year. But remember what Aldous Huxley, an English writer said, “Happiness is not achieved by the conscious pursuit of happiness; it is generally the by-product of other activities.”

Depending on your age, you have probably made hundreds of New Year’s resolutions in your lifetime. But these resolutions do not last more than a few days to a few weeks. There are other important things in life that take up our time and money.

There are hundreds of businesses that tell you how their products will make you healthy, wealthy and wise. I am sure they mean well. But how many people succeed in achieving their goals?

So what’s my point? It is simple. Don’t make life too complicated. Stay focused on your goal. Avoid doing too many things at the same time. Be happy and don’t worry too much… remember I said too much. Some element of worry is required to achieve your goal. Make a long term plan. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a year or after a New Year’s resolution.

Since I do not know everything (and that is the truth!), I did some research. According to www.USA.gov there are thirteen New Year’s resolutions popular every year. It provides information that can help you achieve your goals in 2014.

Here is the list: 1. Lose Weight, 2. Volunteer to Help Others, 3. Quit Smoking, 4. Get a Better Education, 5. Get a Better Job, 6. Save Money, 7. Get Fit, 8. Eat Healthy Food, 9. Manage Stress, 10. Manage Debt, 11. Take a Trip, 12. Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle, 13. Drink Less Alcohol.

Losing weight is on top of the list. There are many ways to lose weight, but it is not always easy. The article says, “The key to successful weight loss is making changes in your eating and physical activity habits that you can keep up for the rest of your life.” The message is, “KISS – keep it simple stupid.” Sorry about that.

If you are five feet tall then you should not be over 125 pounds in weight. If you are six feet tall then you should not be over 175 pounds in weight. You can find a full chart on the website mentioned earlier.

Make sure your healthy eating plan is one that has fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products. Include lean meats, poultry, fish, bean, eggs, and nuts. And is low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars.

That is all for today. Be happy, don’t worry, laugh a lot and have a wonderful safe New Year. Remember what Walter Bagehot, a British journalist and businessman said, “The great pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do.”

Start reading the preview of my book A Doctor's Journey for free on Amazon. Available on Kindle for $2.99!