​Resolution Rx (part 4): Setting yourself up for success

Family choosing produce at the grocery store

Welcome to the fourth, and final installment of our "Resolution Rx" series, where experts from UChicago Medicine weigh in with their best advice for successful New Year's resolutions.

We've already shared our expert's advice on how to stop smoking, offered suggestions on the first steps you should take on a resolution journey, how to make strategic resolution choices, and some practice lifestyle suggestions. Today we continue the series.

Set yourself up for success

If you’re trying to avoid certain behaviors, foods or activities, take steps to make your environment work for you.

Cathleen Mulcahy, MSN, APN, a family nurse practitioner who works with UChicago Medicine’s Chicago Weight Program, tells her patients that out of sight (or reach) can help put something out of mind.

That’s why she suggests placing tempting snacks in opaque containers.

“Put it in a place where it’s not readily available and not visible to you every time you walk through a room,” she said. “Then you don’t have that constant reminder or craving that develops.”

Another option? Place triggering items on top cabinet shelves that require a step stool to reach.

“Often that extra effort is just something you don’t even want to do,” she said. “So you may be able to forego the treat.”

Enlist the help of experts

Midwife Cynthia Jacinthe, DNP, APN, CNM, knows some couples may be hoping to conceive in the new year. One of her first suggestions? Schedule an annual check up with a primary care provider or OB/GYN.

“This allows you to identify any health issues prior to conception and will help guide your healthy lifestyle changes,” she said. “This goes for both you and your partner. It takes two to tango and you want to make certain you are both in fighting shape.”

Farah Hasan, MD, endocrinologist at the Center for Advanced Care in Orland Park and an expert in diabetes care, tells her patients not to make any diet or exercise changes without first checking in with their care team.

“Patients with diabetes need to speak with their physician before changing their diet and starting an exercise program,” she said. “Medications frequently will need to be adjusted to avoid low blood sugar. In addition, there are medications that can help achieve weight-loss goals.”

And, above all, if something feels wrong stop and ask for help.

“My one piece of advice is to always pay close attention to what your body is trying to tell you,” said Sandra Laveaux, MD, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology. “Don’t be afraid to bring up any question to your physician.”

Chicago Weight: A Weight Management Program for Adults

UChicago Medicine's Weight Management Program is designed to help patients manage excess weight, as well as any associated medical conditions. Our team works with each patient to create an individualized care plan. We offer a full spectrum of services and, depending on your needs, may recommend nutritional and physical activity counseling, psychological and lifestyle counseling, medications, endoscopic bariatric procedures and/or surgery.

Learn more about our weight loss program