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Start the New Year with a New You

Almost everyone makes a New Year’s resolution to be healthier. But many return to their bad habits soon after the left-over cabbage and black-eyed peas are gone.

To keep your promise of a happier, fitter you, remember that being healthy is a lifestyle. It means being realistic and doing what works for you and your body. It doesn’t have to mean overhauling your entire way of life. Sometimes it just takes a few simple changes.

Take the first step by visiting a primary care provider (PCP), a health care practitioner who sees patients with common health problems. Most often, this is a doctor but a PCP may also be a physician assistant or nurse practitioner. Because your PCP is often involved in your care for a long time, it’s important to choose someone with whom you work well.

Consider him or her your partner in staying healthy. By getting to know you, your habits and history, a PCP can help you tailor a plan to your needs and abilities. He or she can perform regular check-ups, immunizations and preventive screenings. If you have a specific health concern, your PCP can refer you to a specialist who has the expertise you need.

Over time, your PCP will become familiar with your medical history, your tolerance to medications, your lifestyle and your treatment preferences. Get started by scheduling a well visit with a North Oaks Physician Group PCP. Learn more at

Find a workout plan.

Before you buy expensive workout equipment or hire a pricey personal trainer consult your PCP to consider what sort of program will work for you.

What is your age? How is your health? What are your goals? How much free time do you have? All of these factors should be thought out before you jump into an exercise routine. If you don’t start out on the right foot, you may get discouraged and give exercise the boot.

Eat to live, don't live to eat.

Combined with exercise, eating well is crucial to living a healthier life. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, about 34 percent of U.S. adults are obese and about 17 percent of children and adolescents are obese. Even for people at a healthy weight, a poor diet is linked to major illnesses like heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and some types of cancer. By making smart food choices, you can help protect yourself from these health problems.

Tools to quit tobacco

If you are ready to kick the habit, the North Oaks Smoking Cessation Clinic staff can provide the guidance you need to stay on track. Eligible Louisiana residents who started smoking before Sept. 1, 1988, can also get free medications to help curb the cravings. To sign up or learn more, call (985) 230-QUIT (7848) or visit

Be realistic.

Many experts agree that the health and weight loss habits that have the best chance of lasting are the ones that call for minor, realistic changes. Take small, positive steps and move ahead consistently. While having healthy goals are important, take time to celebrate each day’s journey.