lighting up first thing in the morning.
As with any addiction, breaking thehabit is hard work. It’s important to realize and accept that it may take severalattempts before being 100 percent smoke-free. An old adage applies here: if at firstyou don’t succeed; try, try again. “Oneof the most common missteps is whenpeople say they’ve tried, and that theyhaven’t been successful so they aren’tgoing to try again,” says Luhoway, “butthe more often they try, the more thingsthey’re going to learn and the better thechance they’re going to be successful.” Inthe event of a slip-up, a good quit planwill use the experience to identify theemotions and behaviours that caused therelapse, so that next time, you’re betterprepared. “It’s all part of the process,”says Luhoway.
And Albertans are successfully buttingout: the smoking rate in the provincewas 21 percent in 2006, compared to 26percent in 1999.
December is a month of sweet treats.
Co-workers put out plates of cookies and
candy; we warm up with mugs of hot
chocolate topped with whipped cream
and snack on candied nuts.
When the New Year rolls in, some of uspledge to leave the December diet behindand start eating better. This resolutioncan go beyond the desire to shed a fewpounds. “Eating too many salty foodsand not enough fruits and vegetablescan increase your blood pressure,” saysJillyan Jay, a community dietitian at theGrande Prairie Public Health Centre. Shesays more than 75 percent of children,80 percent of adolescents and 78 percentof adults consume more sodium thanthey should. With high blood pressurethe number one risk factor for stroke anda major factor for heart disease, cuttingdown on salt is as vital as dropping weight.
Whether your goal is to lose weight orto reduce sodium, the end result has tobe balanced with your lifestyle. “If youare overweight and your goal is to lose20 pounds, that’s wonderful, but truly,that’s not a goal, it’s an outcome,” saysJay. “What are you going to do action-wise to lose the 20 pounds?” A goodplace to start is by jotting down somechanges that you’d like to make in yourcurrent eating habits, such as the intention to eat more fruits and vegetables.For those barely eating one serving a day,it’s a tall order to suddenly jump to therecommended seven or more servings foradults. Better to set an achievable goalof eating one or two more pieces of fruita day and work up from there. “Smallgoals really do add up to make bigimprovements in your health,” says Jay.“It’s important to set a goal you knowyou can achieve. Accomplishing yourgoal will build confidence and encourageyou to keep making new goals.”Inevitably, eating better starts at thegrocery store — with the groceries themselves, as well as the whole shoppingexperience. Shop when you’re relaxedand can think clearly about what kind offoods you want to have on hand. Avoidprocessed and packaged foods withadded salt, sugar and fat, particularlypackaged rice and noodle dishes withpowdered flavour packets, that are highin sodium and fats. Try making your ownrice using low-sodium chicken stock orherbs for flavour. Ditch the deep-friednoodles and try buckwheat soba noodlestossed with chopped green onions andgarlic. Condiments can also be high-sodi-um culprits, says Jay, who recommendsreading the Nutrition Fact table onproducts to become aware of the amountof sodium they contain. Use these inmoderation and look for lower sodiumversions or alternatives, such as usingsliced cucumber in place of pickles.As for some so-called superfoods suchas acai berry juice, which are touted asthe nutritional answer to all our problems, Jay says they have their place inthe Canada Food Guide, but can break thebank. “You can get the same benefits by“It’s important to set a goalyou know you can achieve.”— Jillyan Jay, community dietician