It’s 2019 and that means everyone wants to get a jump start on their health and well being for the new year. According to the Washington Post, 45 million people go on a diet each year. But it can be a confusing space to enter as there are so many different options available when it comes to losing weight.
We recently sat down with Dr. Mehmet Oz, host of Dr. Oz, and spoke about some of the best ways you can whip your health into shape in 2019.
New Year, New Me
Dr. Oz says many Americans neglect their sleep and don’t realize how vital a healthy sleeping pattern is to your health. “Fix your sleep,” says Oz. “If you don’t sleep, it leads to high blood pressure, it increases your risk for cancer, leads to weight gain.”
He also adds that it’s important to know what food you eat. Dr. Oz points out that people tend to lose weight when they have a diet that consists of only 20 percent carbohydrates, because that means they have less calories coming into their body.
Dr. Oz also says that it’s important to know when you eat. He suggests having a hearty breakfast, a light lunch and, what he describes to be, a “happy hour” dinner. He also suggests not eating carbs after 3 p.m., saying your body goes into ketosis, which is a great place for your body to be since you burn fat.
It seems like everyone is going vegan or keto nowadays. Dr. Oz says dieting can be hard, and it’s important to find ways to “hack the system” by finding dieting programs that are easier for your body.
Dr. Oz says going vegan makes sense. Not only is it good for the environment, but vegan food is less calorie dense and has more nutrients.
Dr. Oz described the keto diet as a “phenomenal concept.” “When you allow your body to have periods of fasting so that your hormones stabilize, your body can’t rely on simple carbs to burn it, so it has to burn through your fat stores, which means your hunger levels go down.”
But Oz understands that low-carb diets can be impactful. “The catch is you’re miserable sometimes, because carbs hit your brain like crack cocaine,” Oz joked. “How do you do both? You have enough carbs so that you’re not miserable, so that you’re not getting hangry. Then limit the carbs to a few hours a day so your body is not intoxicated by them.”
Dr. Oz says high blood pressure is the number one cause of death in America. Blood pressure is the number one driver of aging. “When your body feels unsettled, it tells you that by jacking up its pressure. Psychological stress, genetics, illnesses of your organs and not sleeping can all contribute.”
He says that people should avoid high blood pressure medication if they can. “If you can’t treat the underlying problems, then you have to take the meds. But most of the time, you can deal with the underlying problems. People lose 10 percent of their body weight and it dramatically drops the blood pressure. Why not lose the weight, instead of taking a pill that might make you gain weight?”
Oz says that people should not ignore their blood pressure. “You can preemptively address that and by doing that changes your destiny forever.”
“I think not allowing medical marijuana is one of the biggest hypocrisies we have in this country,” said Oz. “Doctors in general are in agreement that if there’s a solution to a problem, like childhood seizures, we should allow it. Why would I want the government to tell me what medication I can use, or at least not allow me to study it freely? “
Healthy Sleep Habits
In an age where we are constantly connected to our smart phones and devices, they can also have an influence on how we sleep … or don’t. Oz suggests not keeping your phone next to your head, because the alerts can wake you or even keep you awake. He also suggests certain sleep hygiene habits, like turning the lights down at least 20 minutes before bedtime. “Be in comfortable clothing, or no clothing at all,” says Oz.
He also suggests keeping the room cold. “If there’s a fight between you and your loved one about what temperature the room is, whoever wants it colder, they win. Colder environments allow you to hibernate better.”
He also reminds people the importance of noise. Subtle noise from a pet, child or spouse can make a difference in sleep patterns.
“If you can’t get around that, get a sound machine. They do work.”
Dr. Oz airs weekdays at 2 p.m. on NBC 6.