Your doctor acts a lot like you do as the ball drops: She drinks, eats, then wakes up the next day resolving to do better, health-wise, in the coming year. But she also knows what works (sane body and life changes) and what doesn't (crash dieting, pulling six muscles). That's why REDBOOK got the country's best docs to reveal their tips for a healthier, happier 2013. Read them and say, "Me too." By Lisa Mulcahy, REDBOOK.
"I'm going to eat less sugar."
"So often when trying to eat healthy, we focus on cutting out fat, but a cheeseburger might do less harm than the incredible sources of sugar packed into foods Americans consume. Sugar can raise cholesterol to dangerous levels, much more so than fat. And few people know this, but virtually all processed foods have sugar--everything from canned pasta sauce to the bread you probably eat every day. In fact, a serving of spaghetti sauce can have as much sugar as two chocolate chip cookies: 20 grams! The American Heart Association recommends no more than 100 calories of sugar a day for most American women. That's about 24 grams, or six teaspoons. When I'm grocery shopping, I'll be sure to read labels. I'm not saying I'll never eat a sugary treat, or that I'll never let my children have ice cream--after all, my other New Year's resolution is to act more like a kid--but I'm going to be smart about how much we consume." -- SANJAY GUPTA, M.D., CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT FOR CNN
"I will have fewer colds this year."
I've decided to pay as much attention as possible to preventing colds and viruses, so I'm going to be really good about using my neti pot! To maximize the bacteria-fighting power, I'll put a couple drops of grapefruit-seed extract into the pot, and use it daily to stay well." -- JULIE MCKEE, M.D., AN ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF INTEGRATIVE MEDICINE AT THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS, GALVESTON
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"Walking more will keep the weight off."
"Even though I'm a doctor, managing my weight has always been a really sensitive area. So, although it sounds very girlie, I recently went to Weight Watchers and lost 20 pounds. I was amazed by how much I learned about portions and healthy eating choices. My schedule is as hectic as it gets, and it's easy to rationalize that I don't have time to work out. But I resolve to continue making exercise a priority. I live in Oregon, a beautiful place, and my wife and I will take a brisk walk after dinner as many nights a week as possible, and use that time to reconnect. I've found that an evening walk is also a great way to avoid what I call 'arsenic hour'--that time when you come home exhausted and put junky foods in your mouth." -- JOHN R. TONGUE, M.D., PRESIDENT OF THE AMERICAN ACADEMY OF ORTHOPAEDIC SURGEONS
"Sleep will help my mood."
"As a psychiatrist, I treat people with mood disorders, including depression. What I've found is that the less sleep patients get, the worse their problems with mood get too. So this year, I'm making sleep a higher priority so I can feel as great as possible. I'm giving myself a bedtime, 11 p.m. every night, and I'll wake up at 6:30 a.m., so that's a good, consistent seven-and-a-half hours." -- KAREN L. SWARTZ, M.D., AN ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF PSYCHIATRY AT THE JOHNS HOPKINS MOOD DISORDERS CENTER IN BALTIMORE
"I'll be selfish (in a good way)."
"I'm trying to get really disciplined about handling my stress through exercise. Four days a week, I've resolved to do 30 minutes on the elliptical machine, swim laps for 25 minutes, and do some strength training (think: push-ups and sit-ups)--an hour of exercise total, even if that means waking up a little earlier on those days. I have to set priorities, the most important of which is taking care of myself." -- LINDA COX, M.D., PRESIDENT OF THE AMERICAN ACADEMY OF ALLERGY, ASTHMA & IMMUNOLOGY IN MILWAUKEE
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"I'll eat what's in season."
"Eating seasonally is one of the keys to optimal health. So in 2013, I plan to be more focused than ever on eating produce that's in season, and I think this should be near the top of everyone's resolution list. Not only will it help ensure you'll eat fewer packaged, processed foods, but fruits and veggies in season are usually more nutritious, especially if they're local, as nutrients can degrade during long-distance shipping." -- MELINA B. JAMPOLIS, M.D., A PHYSICIAN NUTRITION SPECIALIST AND THE AUTHOR OF THE CALENDAR DIET
"I'll set myself up for better sleep."
Even a sleep doc like me can stand to improve his snooze habits on a regular basis, so this New Year's, I'm taking stock of my sleep setup. That means changing my pillows, which I do once a year so they better support my head and neck. My preference? Soft foam pillows. I'll also make sure my mattress isn't breaking down; a good-quality new one every five to 10 years can give you the best sleep of your life."
--MICHAEL BREUS, PH.D., A SLEEP DOCTOR AND CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST IN SCOTTSDALE, AZ
"I'm getting hooked on Zumba."
"I recently took a Zumba class for the first time, and I was really surprised by how sexual it made me feel! Physiologically, I realized it was the movement of my hips and back--keeping that blood flowing can decrease vaginal dryness. I also know that consistently doing that class will give me flexibility and strength, which are important as we all age. So I resolve to attend Zumba classes three times a week in 2013; I've also ordered DVDs for when I'm traveling, so I can keep working out with no interruptions. And talk about benefits for a relationship: If my husband had been around after that first class, I would have jumped on him!" -- HILDA Y. HUTCHERSON, M.D., AN OB/GYN IN NEW YORK CITY AND A CLINICAL PROFESSOR AT COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY
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"More calcium for me!"
"This year, I'm going to be mindful about getting enough calcium through my diet, to keep my bones healthy. The Institute of Medicine recommends that women between 31 and 50 years old aim for 1,000 milligrams of calcium daily. I'll meet that goal by eating two to three servings of nonfat dairy a day--like low-fat cottage cheese--plus plenty of salmon, black beans, and soy, which all contain calcium." -- C. NOEL BAIREY MERZ, M.D., A PROFESSOR OF MEDICINE AND THE DIRECTOR OF THE PREVENTIVE AND REHABILITATIVE CARDIAC CENTER AT CEDARS-SINAI MEDICAL CENTER IN LOS ANGELES
"Two words: water and sunscreen."
"I'd feel like a hypocrite if I wasn't always striving to improve my health. First on the list: I'll aim to drink eight glasses of water a day. I've had three kidney stones because I was so busy that I wasn't hydrating myself. Many patients tell me, 'I don't drink water because I don't have time to pee!' Well, I'll have to make the time. I'm also going to get serious about skin cancer prevention. I have to be honest: In the summer, I've made the mistake of letting myself get dark, and last August I had a lesion taken off my face. From now on, it's SPF 30 every day!" -- JENNIFER ASHTON, M.D., AN OB/GYN AND THE AUTHOR OF YOUR BODY BEAUTIFUL
"I'll live life 24 hours at a time."
"I'm both a doctor and a breast cancer survivor. Ten years ago, I had just delivered my third child when I received the cancer diagnosis. I learned then not to gallop into the future, jumping to the worst that could happen down the road. Instead, I focus on the 24 hours in front of me each day. I try to let the silly things go and stay centered on what's important: my kids, my friends, and helping others. My husband, Glenn Dubin, and I created the Dubin Breast Center at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, and I spend time there every day, where I'm endlessly inspired by other survivors. In 2013, as always, I'll choose to be optimistic and to recognize my blessings, which anyone can do--it doesn't take a cancer diagnosis. If you feel gratitude, you'll feel fantastic." --EVA ANDERSSON-DUBIN, M.D., AN INTERNIST IN NEW YORK CITY