New Health and Wellness Plan Side Effects: Should You See a Pro or Deal with Them Yourself?

BY: Colleen Loggins |Dec 21, 2016

So you’re about to make a New Year’s resolution. According to studies, you’ll join the 45% of Americans who usually make New Year’s resolutions. But will you be part of the 8% of Americans who actually achieve their resolution? If your goal is to lose weight (the No. 1 resolution) or to stay fit and healthy (the No. 5 resolution), you have a battle ahead of you.

Resolving to commit to a new health and wellness plan isn’t easy. In addition to consistently showing up to the gym and pushing yourself through workouts, you have to deal with the challenges that come with changing your lifestyle. That might mean finding a way to treat lower-back pain after exercising or figuring out which healthy foods to eat. We’ve come up with ways to tackle these challenges, outlining ideas for a DIY or a professional game plan for each.

Extreme muscle soreness

At the start of a new fitness routine, one of the initial hurdles is pain. You’ll be especially sore during this initial period, when workouts are creating tiny tears in your muscles. Ultimately, it’s a good thing—it forces the muscles to repair themselves, making them stronger than they were before. You don’t have to suffer through the pain, though.

If you want a professional’s help:

Try cryotherapy. Athletes such as NBA star LeBron James and soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo have been known to pop into cryotherapy chambers after practices and games. The chambers rely on sub-zero temperatures to help relieve pain and reduce inflammation in sore muscles. One of our own beauty editors, Favin, reported that her chronic back pain lessened after she tried cryotherapy.

If you want to do it yourself:

Soak in a bathtub full of ice. Sure, it’s significantly less glamorous than a cryotherapy chamber, but it will still numb your body until you can’t feel feelings anymore. According to the Washington Post, a 2012 study of ice baths found that they may “reduce the pain that occurs a day or two after hard exercise.” Once you fill up the bathtub, submerge your achy body in the frigid water for 6–10 minutes.

Unhealthy food temptations

Deciding to eat healthy often means making chicken, steamed broccoli, and brown rice every night. But that gets tiresome fast, enticing you to fall back into old eating patterns. Like painting a question mark on every stop sign you see, you know you shouldn’t do it, but it’s hard to resist.

If you want a professional’s help:

Have healthy meals delivered to you. It’s much easier to fight the temptation when you subscribe to a meal-delivery service that sends portion-controlled meals (or the ingredients to make them yourself) to your doorstep. Many meal-delivery services tap both chefs and nutritionists to create the menus, so you get dishes that are delicious yet waistline-friendly.

If you want to do it yourself:

Let a meal-planning tool help you out. Although it’s not as convenient as having meals sent right to you, it can be cheaper and more fulfilling to plan your own meals. To give yourself some structure, check out a meal-planning website or app, such as Food on the Table (free), an online budget meal-planning service, or Evernote (free), one of the more popular recipe- and menu-organization apps.

An overactive brain

Committing to a new health and wellness plan generally means squeezing gym visits into a busy schedule and eschewing takeout in favor of home-cooked meals. Making it all work requires a lot of thought, and it’s easy to send your brain into overdrive.

If you want a professional’s help:

Forget all of your worries in a flotation tank. Spending an hour in a flotation tank can lull you into a meditative state. Inside the tanks, hundreds of pounds of Epsom salt are mixed with skin-temperature water, allowing you to float effortlessly. And because the dark tanks block out outside light and sound, there’s nothing to distract you while you relax. The result is a peaceful respite that may lower stress levels and promote theta brain waves, which occur during sleep and deep meditation.

If you want to do it yourself:

Meditate. In addition to promoting restful theta brain waves, research has shown that meditation can reduce anxiety, improve focus, and enhance memory. The Headspace app (free), which was created by a former Buddhist monk, can guide you through 10 minutes of meditation, making it easy to add to a busy schedule. If you need some additional tips, beauty editor Kelly walked readers through what she learned in a meditation class.

Excessive fatigue

Working out can sap away a lot of energy, and combating that fatigue may not be as simple as chugging gallons of coffee or sticking your hand into an electric eel’s den. You might need additional support.

If you want a professional’s help:

Visit a med spa for some vitamin-B12 shots. The injections quickly introduce B12 into the bloodstream. Without adequate amounts of B12, cells struggle to take in enough oxygen, which can affect your energy levels, Cleveland Clinic’s Dr. Roxanne Sukol told Time magazine. However, Dr. Sukol did add that unless you have vitamin-B12 deficiency, the shots probably won’t do much. Still, an earlier study found that nearly 40% of the population have low B12 levels, so it might be worth it.

If you want to do it yourself:

Take a vitamin-B12 supplement. Dr. Sukol went on to tell Time that for some people, an oral supplement can be just as effective as an injection. You could also try eating more eggs and meat. People who abstain from these foods tend to be B12 deficient, said Dr. Sukol.