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The Year in Preview

Only Healthy Thoughts For 2005

Tuesday, January 4, 2005; Page HE01

2004 was a tough year to be a health consumer: We learned that pain relievers can kill not just inflammation, healthful fish are swimming with toxins, flu-shot makers aren't immune to sickouts and the Food and Drug Administration may be suffering from clinical depression. And that low-carb thing? Don't even get us started.

Happily, those who managed to survive 2004 face a fresh opportunity to clean up the ol' personal health act this year. Here we make this easier by offering a handy list of prefabricated health resolutions for 2005. Adopt these, and we can promise you a safe, healthy and happy year.

Those who managed to survive 2004 face a fresh opportunity to clean up the ol' personal health act this year.

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No, we can't. But at least they won't hurt you. These days, that's worth celebrating.

I resolve not to "ask my doctor" about any advertised medication. In fact, I'll wait until my doctor asks me.

I resolve not to search for medical treatments using Google, but when I do, I at least promise not to click on any "sponsored link."

I resolve to defer action based on any authoritative medical study published in a first-rank, peer-reviewed journal for at least six months, in order to make sure another equally authoritative medical study published in a first-rank, peer-reviewed journal doesn't contradict it. (On second thought, let's make that a year.)

I resolve not to be cowed by dramatic new findings from a study paid for by growers of some foodstuff that concludes that the same foodstuff they happen to grow (imagine!) contains some obscure but powerful micronutrient certain to make me younger, stronger or better-looking.

I resolve not to purchase any exercise equipment with "abs" or "buns" in its name, especially if it can be financed in "three easy payments."

I resolve to not follow any diet or fitness book with a geographic location in its title.

I resolve to change channels during any commercial for a drug whose side effects, recited over music that's a little too loud, include heart attack, stroke, convulsions, loose stools, inability to remember family members' names, a rash shaped like Ukraine or an erection that lasts more than four hours.

I resolve not to be fooled, even for a second, by cigarette company ads that solemnly claim they don't want me to smoke.

I resolve to get rid of those annoying plastic wristbands by Feb. 1, and give the money I would have spent on them directly to any charity I find worthy.

I resolve not to use medications imported from any country I'd be reluctant to have an elderly relative visit.

I hereby resolve to eat more fruit, vegetables and whole grains, and fewer fried and manufactured foods; to get 30 to 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise three to five days a week; to take in no more calories than I burn off, give or take; to get around eight hours of sleep per night; to stay away from cigarettes and wear my seatbelt; to manage stress with meditation, yoga or relaxation exercises; and to have satisfying relations with family and friends -- because no matter what anybody tells me in 2005, these are among the very few things that stand a chance of helping make my life healthier, happier and longer.

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