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New Year's Resolutions


Dr. Brian Richardson

Out with the old and in with the new, 2017 has come and gone and a new year brings new optimism, new motivation and a fresh start for many people. 2018 willbring new fads, new trends, new ideas and this New Year will be defined by many of these changes.Fads and trends come and go like the part in President Trump’s hair in a strong wind. Some seem great at the time, but as we look back on those pictures and sort through our closets, we often come to the realization that the fad really just wasn’t all that cool. I heard a recent fad on the radio the other day that is definitely worth mentioning. Hair extensions have been around for a long time, but have you ever considered hair extensions for you nose hair?If you have not, I’d like to suggest to you that you are behind the times. 

Americans love to set New Year’s resolutions and pledge to make significant andlife altering changes in their lives for the better.Statistically, over 20% of us will decide healthy eating and weight loss are the most important changes to be made. Unfortunately, by February over 80% of us will be looking at those resolutions and changes in the rear view mirror as we transition back to our “normal” habits and lifestyle.Why do we fail so often? 

There is a lot of science behind the process of changing habits. Repetition is lessstressful and many of our bad habits are promoted and rewarded through neurotransmitters that are released when we maintain our own personal status quo.Scientists estimate that it takes an average of 66 days to break a habit or to form a new one. If you’re like me, I start off strong and my motivation for change tapers off after about a week or two.

One of the most common methods we utilize to eat healthy or lose weight is something we have all come to know as a “fad” diet.I simply call them “bad” diets. Fad diets are advertised as a fast way to lose weight, but if you have nevertried one, you will quickly figure out these are not sustainable and certainly do notpromote long­term health. We read about them on the internet, Dr. So and So talks about it on TV or in a magazine, or your next door neighbor tells you they lost 15 pounds by eating cabbage soup for every dinner for the last month.We have a tendency to always look for the easy solution for a problem or a quick fix, and fad diets have definitely made their name in history.

If you are looking for that easy and quick fad diet trick, there are countless options you might pursue. There are a few worth mentioning and a few that are outrageous!People have tried the cotton ball diet, because if you can’t digest it you won’t gain weight.This would be a very bad option and may lead you to emergency surgery for intestinal obstruction.If you have a baby, you might try the baby food diet.Can you imagine what people might say if they saw you and your skinny baby sharing food out of a jar? Beware of child protective services if you do this in public! My sci­fi friends may want to consider the werewolf diet. You need to track the moon and your eating habits will be dictated by the phases of the moon.

Eating healthy is hard. In today’s society, fast food and processed food are convenient and actually cheaper than preparing a healthy home cooked meal. I would argue that processed simple sugar is one of the most addictive and dangerous substances on earth.The addiction starts early and once you are addicted, it is extremely difficult to go back. The food industry takes advantage ofthe addictive properties of sugar, just like the cigarette companies did with nicotine. Sugar is found in almost every processed food on the shelf. A public awareness was born and as a result the genius food marketing departments have changed the name of simple sugar to make it seem more cool and healthy. Instead of labeling sugar as sugar, we see cool names like agave, barleymalt, or all natural cane sugar.If we see the word, “all natural” we get that warm fuzzy feeling that it must be good for us. I think the surgeon general should publish a warning that consuming these foods is highly addictive and has been strongly linked to diabetes, heart disease, and even death. After that statement, I may need to change my address so the pro­sugar industry does not hunt me down! 

 Before you go on Amazon to get your nose hair extension ordered, or Google search for that fad diet to lose weight quickly, step back and think about the long term goals and results you are looking to achieve. Remember, one day your Facebook memory will pop up and you will see that beautifully braided extension flowing from your nose and tickling your upper lip. One day, you will realize you cannot replace good healthy eating with quick and easy fad diets. May God Blessyou in 2018!Eat healthy, Alabama!

 Dr. Brian Richardson
Urologist and Chief of Robotics and Minimally Invasive Surgeon at Jackson Hospital

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