Forward planning is the key to keeping new year's resolutions to achieve improved health and happiness, AMA Vice President, Dr Choong-Siew Yong, said today.
"The new year is a great time to make a fresh start and resolve to improve your health and fitness," Dr Yong said.
"Aim to keep your resolutions by planning ahead.
"For instance, if you plan to quit smoking, have a support network of friends and family ready to help, and speak to your doctor beforehand for tips on staying on track.
"Or if you want to lose weight, draft up a healthy eating and exercise plan ahead of time, and perhaps ask your partner or a friend to embark on the fitness regime with you."
Dr Yong cautioned against adopting fad diets, most of which are doomed to fail.
"Crash diets and fad diets can be very unhealthy, even though you may lose weight in the short term," he said.
"The best approach is to eat a varied diet of fresh, healthy foods, and make sure your consumption is appropriate for your age, gender and level of physical activity.
"By making small, incremental alterations to your exercise and eating habits - rather than dramatic changes - you are more likely to achieve lasting success.
"Your family doctor can help you plan a healthy, long-term approach to weight loss."
Dr Yong also encouraged people to seek advice from a GP before embarking on a new fitness regime, or for help to quit drinking or taking drugs.
A good way to start down the path to a healthier 2007 is to exercise some restraint over the festive season, Dr Yong said.
"Christmas and New Year can often be a time of excess, which people may regret in the days, weeks, and sometimes months to follow," Dr Yong said.
"Sharing food and drinks with family and friends can be an enjoyable way to while away the holidays, but too much alcohol and too many 'party' foods, like chips and chocolate, impact on health in both the short and long term.
"That's not to say that you can't have fun. The AMA wishes all Australians a happy and very healthy New Year."