This New Year, Resolve to Take Just One Step Toward a Healthier Life

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January is the start of a new year, and a time when many people make New Year’s resolutions to be healthier. Maintaining a healthy weight, staying active, and quitting smoking can help reduce your risk for a number of chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes, which is the leading cause of kidney failure. The National Kidney Foundation of Michigan (NKFM) is encouraging individuals to make resolutions to make healthy food choices, engage in physical activity, and quit smoking to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and related complications and also help those with diabetes to manage their condition.

An estimated 10% of Michigan adults have been diagnosed with diabetes—about 758,300 people—while 2.5 million have prediabetes and over 250,000 Michigan adults are thought to have undiagnosed diabetes. Small changes, such as losing a small amount of weight and becoming more active, can go a long way toward improving your health. But even if you know what to do, figuring out how to do it and fitting it into your daily routine can be a challenge. Here are some simple steps for eating healthier and exercising more to get started on your resolutions for 2014.

Keep these healthy eating tips in mind:

  • Try not to exceed the amount of calories and fat grams that you need on a daily basis.
  • Try to eat meals and snacks at regular times every day.
  • Make less food look like more by serving your meals on a smaller plate.
  • Take your time when you eat. It takes about 20 minutes for your stomach to tell your brain that you are full.
  • Try to limit your alcoholic beverage intake. If you drink alcohol, choose light beer and avoid mixed drinks.

Take these small steps to increase physical activity in your daily routine:

  • Build physical activity into your day—take your dog for a walk, park further away from store entrances, or walk around while watching television.
  • Start off slowly with a 5-minute walk on most days, then add more time until you reach 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity five days a week.
  • Move more at work. Try to get a "movement break" during the day.
  • Make it social. When you involve others in your activities, you are more likely to stick to your program.
  • Keep at it. Pay attention to small successes. The longer you keep at it, the better you'll feel.

In addition to eating healthy and including physical activity into your daily routine, it’s also important to quit smoking. Smoking increases your chance of having type 2 diabetes and makes diabetes harder to control, making it even more deadly and disabling for individuals with diabetes. A nicotine replacement product or other medications can help you stop smoking.

Try to add one or two healthy changes every week. If you fall off the wagon, don’t get down on yourself! Managing and preventing diabetes is good for you and for your family and friends, so try to keep at it.

For helpful resources and programs about diabetes management and diabetes prevention, contact the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan (NKFM) by calling 800-482-1455. For help to quit smoking, call the Michigan Smokers’ Quitline: 1-800-480-QUIT.


For over a decade, reducing health disparities has been a focus of the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan (NKFM), bringing together key strengths and expertise to address the formidable challenges implementing innovative community-based interventions. The NKFM has received a grant from the Centers for Disease Control to help tackle diabetes disparities. The mission of the NKFM is to prevent kidney disease and improve the quality of life for those living with it. The NKFM is widely known for providing more programs and services to more people than any other region or state.