Small steps make a big difference in your health


It sounds overwhelming to slim down and increase your activity level. But simple changes in what you eat and how active you are can make a big difference in how you feel. Healthy lifestyle choices set you on a path to lose weight and lower your risk for high blood pressure, diabetes and other serious health conditions.

We asked Thomas Pechin III, MD, at Goshen Physicians Family Medicine Pro Park, to explain how to get moving in the right direction toward a healthy you.

Weigh in on what's important – "Start by understanding how you feel about yourself and what matters most to you," said Dr. Pechin. Curbing your diet and indulging in physical activity can boost your energy level, decrease the need for medication and improve your wellbeing.

"Losing 10 pounds can lower blood pressure by 5 points," said Dr. Pechin. "Patients can get off blood pressure medication. It doesn't have to be a lifelong treatment."

Take it one step at a time – You don't need special equipment, a gym membership or the latest diet fad to boost your health, according to Dr. Pechin. Small changes, like a daily walk or one less can of soda a day, can set you on the right path.

"Start with something simple, like walking for 5 or 10 minutes a day," said Dr. Pechin. "It will get you out of the house and help you feel better."

Track your progress – "Be mindful of what you eat," said Dr. Pechin. Most of us don't realize how many calories we consume every day, particularly when we eat out.

Free apps, like My Fitness Pal, log calories, activities and more. To cut back on calories, try smaller portions, fewer sugary drinks, less alcohol and more veggies.

Find your balance – "A healthy weight and physical activity can lower risk of type 2 diabetes by 58 percent," said Dr. Pechin. "For people who are prediabetic, changing diet and exercise habits works better than medication."

That means adding plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains to your meals. Also reduce carbohydrate-rich foods, dairy products and meats that are high in fat.

Talk with your doctor

Ask your doctor about a referral for nutrition therapy services or to talk with our diabetes educators at Goshen Health. Goshen Physicians Center for Weight Reduction also offers medically managed weight loss programs.

Goshen Health has a full range of programs and services to fit your needs. Find a doctor or register for a class or health screening that's right for you.