We’re over a week into 2018, so by now you’ve probably embraced the annual motto of “new year, new me,” and have already drafted your list of resolutions for 2018, because why not? For patients who struggle with gastroesophageal reflux disease, i.e. GERD, the promise of a “new you” is quite a bit harder to attain.

Living with a chronic condition like GERD is anything but easy, but there’s a lot you can do in 2018 to reduce those unwanted symptoms. If you’re already considering making some lifestyle changes this year, here are five New Year resolutions that can improve your life and your reflux.

  1. Quit Smoking. Quitting cigarettes is probably a top goal for many individuals come the new year, but for someone with GERD, quitting is also a great way to reduce their symptoms since smoking naturally creates more acid in the stomach – a big no, no!

  2. Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and carbonated drinks. If you live with GERD, you’re probably aware that certain drinks upset your stomach and make your symptoms worse. Although it’s hard to say no to a warm mug of joe in January, the promise of reducing your reflux by sticking to a new year’s resolution to avoid caffeine and other “triggers” may offer the positive encouragement you need to stay strong.

  3. Eat healthier.  Cutting certain foods, adjusting to a careful diet, and achieving a healthy weight is an important lifestyle choice, particularly for people with GERD. Choosing foods that are low-fat and high-protein, eating 2 to 3 hours before bed, and adapting to smaller portions will not only help you lose weight, but also reduce reflux symptoms.

  4. Exercise. Having a workout regime that works for people with acid reflux is a challenge in itself, but nonetheless recommended to help maintain a healthy weight. Make sure to take it easy and to test different workout methods that won’t exacerbate your symptoms, such as going for a long walk or doing yoga. Regardless of what type of workout you choose for 2018, be sure to always wait a few hours after a meal before exercising.  

  5. Journaling. Keeping track of your healthy habits is a great way of knowing whether your hard work and lifestyle changes are improving your symptoms and/or making them manageable. And, it will be a great tool for you and your doctor to determine whether any further treatment methods are necessary to manage your condition.

Whatever your goals are for this year, be sure to keep your health at the forefront and stay informed and alert to any worsening symptoms. A few healthy resolutions can take your wellbeing a long way, but you don’t have to do it alone. For further questions on how to manage your GERD through lifestyle changes, or to learn about other GERD treatment options, be sure to contact your reflux doctor at Tampa Bay Reflux Center.