The New Year is upon us and 2020 may look bright and promising from where you stand. If you’re like most Americans, however, this may be a time for mistakes, for unrealized dreams, and unaccomplished resolutions. Of all the New Year’s resolutions made by people from all walks of life, only about 25 percent stay committed for the first 30 days, and only 8 percent accomplish them completely.[1] The solution? Set goals for 2020 instead of making resolutions.

Fitness for the New You

The average New Year’s resolutions are fall into categories of health, hobbies, and career. In fact, the top three common resolutions are to diet and eat healthier, to exercise more, and to lose weight.[2] If you’re like your peers and dissatisfied with your overall health and wellness, you can succeed in the New Year by setting goals, not just resolutions.

Fitness Goals You Can Keep

Don’t set yourself up for failure by making resolutions you can’t keep. Set goals instead, implement new habits, and put on your work boots. The thinner, more active, mentally and physically well you is just months away.

  1. Drink more water. Make a goal to drink 75 ounces of water per day. It may take time to work up to this amount, but starting a daily habit of reaching for water first will lead to results. Drink one full glass of water first thing in the morning and one before you go to bed at night.
  2. Stop eating two hours before bed. Eating late can cause problems getting to sleep and staying asleep. It can also lead to indigestion, problems with metabolism, elevated glucose levels, and fat storage.
  3. Get active every day. You don’t have to join a gym to be more active. Take up a hobby like swimming, yoga, pickle ball, hiking, tennis—the sky is the limit. Commit to taking one walk every day. Move for thirty minutes minimum. You don’t have to sweat; you just have to move.
  4. Eat smaller portions. Follow the recommended plan on Choosemyplate.gov or similar recommendations by a nutritionist or dietician. Balance your protein, carbohydrates, and fats using an app or service like MyFitnessPal, Noom, or WW.
  5. Limit processed/fast food. You don’t have to cut out fast food and processed (or boxed) food completely. Simply limiting these foods can make a difference. If you eat out every day, cut it down to 3-5 days by meal-planning or packing a lunch. Pick a day each week to cook every meal without processed ingredients.
  6. Limit weigh-ins. Weighing too frequently can actually derail a great weight loss plan. Limit your weigh-ins to once per week and keep the scale out of sight until weigh-in day.

Above all, making your goals known to others can put you one step above the rest when it comes to achieving them. Tell your immediate family and close friends you plan of action so they a) know you’re serious, b) can keep you accountable, and c) can do their best to not derail your goals.

 

[1] https://www.forbes.com/sites/ashiraprossack1/2018/12/31/goals-not-resolutions/#390c95723879

[2] https://www.inc.com/peter-economy/10-top-new-years-resolutions-for-success-happiness-in-2019.html

The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped gland at the base of the neck. It is smaller than your palm but affects your entire body from your weight, appetite, digestion, vision, brain function, and more. The endocrine system is responsible for a variety of your body’s functions and at the heart of that system is the thyroid gland. Your thyroid gland, simplified as “thyroid” by most, is like your car’s distributor which routes or distributes the correct amount of current to the spark plugs to initiate a firing sequence in the exact order necessary to fire the engine. If the distributor is working improperly the entire system will fail. This is exactly what occurs when your thyroid works improperly—and for too many, this butterfly-sized problem flies under the radar for too long.

Common Thyroid Disorders

It’s estimated that 12 percent of the U.S. population will develop a thyroid condition in their lifetime and currently it’s estimated that 20 million Americans currently have a form of thyroid disease. Up to 60 percent of those affected are unaware of their condition![1] In many cases the symptoms can go unnoticed for months or years before a thyroid condition is diagnosed and treated. The best way to bring down the number of undiagnosed thyroid disorders is to raise awareness of common disorders and the symptoms that go with them.

Hyperthyroidism – Caused by an overactive thyroid gland and results in too much hormone production, Hyperthyroidism affects 1 percent of women and is most common in women. Hyperthyroidism may be caused by Grave’s disease which causes nodules on the thyroid gland. Grave’s disease can be diagnosed by a medical exam, blood test, radioactive iodine uptake, ultrasound, and other imaging tests.[2]

Hypothyroidism – When the thyroid produces too little hormone it is underactive, a condition more common than Hyperthyroidism. Hypothyroidism affects 4.6 percent of people and symptoms are less severe than those caused by Hyperthyroidism. An underactive thyroid may be caused by Hashimoto’s disease which can be diagnosed by medical exam and blood test which includes hormone and antibody levels.[3]

Goiter – An enlargement of the thyroid gland affects individuals globally due to an iodine deficiency and can be caused by Hyperthyroidism in the U.S. where many salts and foods contain iodine.[4] Goiters can happen at any age but are more common in women. A goiter can be diagnosed by medical exam, blood test which includes hormone levels and antibodies, ultrasonography, thyroid scan, and biopsy.[5]

Nodules – Different than a goiter, nodules are growths that form on the thyroid gland. This occurrence may be the result of an underlying illness such as Hashimoto’s or an iodine deficiency. It affects more women than men, and the nodules may be large enough to feel, or too tiny to notice. Thyroid nodules can be diagnosed by medical exam, thyroid function tests, ultrasonography, biopsy, and thyroid scan.[6]

It’s important to note that every person has a thyroid unless it has been medically removed and it can malfunction at any age. It’s important to identify symptoms and follow through with routine medical appointments for children and adults. When a thyroid condition is diagnosed, treatment and recommendations should be followed.

For more information about your butterfly-shaped gland that keeps your body functioning properly, check out Thyroidawareness.com.

[1] https://www.thyroid.org/media-main/press-room/

[2] https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/graves-disease/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20356245

[3] https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hashimotos-disease/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20351860

[4] https://www.healthline.com/health/common-thyroid-disorders#goiter

[5] https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/goiter/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20351834

[6] https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/thyroid-nodules/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20355266

Whether you have a chronic medical condition or a large family with routine medical expenses, you may have costs that are not reimbursed by your insurance provider. If this is the case, you may be looking to deduct some of these medical expenses from your taxes this year. In 2019 there are changes to the threshold amount that qualifies for deduction, and you may not get back what you expect. It’s important to keep good records and make sure you know what counts and what doesn’t.

Medical Expenses That are Tax Deductible?

There is quite a bit that is tax deductible when it comes to medical expenses, but you must keep receipts, reports, and forms that prove the patient cost. You can include all of the following when preparing your tax deductions for 2019 taxes:

  • Travel for medical care, including mileage on your car, bus fare, and parking fees
  • Preventative care
  • Medical treatment
  • Surgeries and procedures
  • Dental and vision
  • Phycologist/Psychiatrist fees
  • Prescriptions for drugs and devices
  • Glasses and contacts
  • Dental prosthetics
  • Hearing aids

Non-Qualifying Medical Expenses

If you are reimbursed for any medical expense by your insurance provider or employer, it cannot be deducted from your taxes. Other medical expenses like that for cosmetic procedures and care is not deductible. Additionally, non-prescription drugs or purchases for general health are not deductible. You cannot deduct expenses for toothpaste, gym memberships, vitamins, diet foods, nicotine products, or any qualifying medical expenses paid in a year prior to the tax year.

How Much Can You Deduct?

Though the IRS allowed deductions on all medical expenses that exceeded 7.5% of adjusted gross income in 2017 and 2018, the amount was raised for the 2019 tax year. This year, when you file your taxes, you are only allowed to deduct medical expenses that exceed 10% of your adjust gross income. That means that if your adjust gross income is $41,000 and your medical expenses for yourself and dependents is $7,000 for the year, you can easily find the amount that is deductible by using the following formula to find 10% of your adjust gross income:

AGI x 0.10 = threshold for medical expenses for 2019 tax year

Enter the amounts as follows:

$41,000 x 0.10 = $4,100

Following this formula we find that in this scenario, only costs that exceed $4,100 are tax deductible. Since the total costs were $7,000, we know that $2,900 is tax deductible. If instead of $7,000, your medical expenses were a mere $2,000 for the year, you would not be able to deduct these expenses from your 2019 tax total because the cost does not reach the threshold.

Claiming the Deduction

In order to claim a medical expense deduction on your taxes, you must itemize your deductions. This can be tedious work and will require very detailed record-keeping on your part throughout the year. If you’re unsure how to properly complete your tax form, it’s important to seek out a professional who can help you get the most out of your tax return. Make sure you tell your tax preparer up front that you have medical expenses you’d like to deduct so that they can advise you correctly.


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