Get Healthy in 2011 (No, Really!)
by Celia Bonino, exercise physiologist, EdenFit
The start of a New Year seems to give many of us renewed hope for making healthy changes in our lives. We resolve to follow that new diet plan, dedicate a few hours each week to exercise and promise to park further away from the front door.
However, for many (if not most), old eating habits start creeping back and the new exercise gadget becomes a coat rack or collects dust in the corner.
Why does each year start off with such good intentions, but by February -- April if we’re lucky -- we revert to old habits that we know are not very healthy?
I have been in the exercise field since 1981 and I’ve helped hundreds of people make long-lasting, healthy changes in their lives. Many of the people I’ve helped face major obstacles to getting fit. Some are rehabilitating from a serious injury, others have suffered a heart attack and some have been morbidly obese. My job is to make sure they don’t use their circumstance as an excuse to not make healthy changes in their lives. If they can do it, so can you! Here are some tips that I’ve learned over the years:
- Don’t set yourself up for failure. Would you run a marathon without training? Of course not, and yet we choose to make drastic changes to our lives and jump into an exercise program without help.
- Be accountable. Find an exercise partner who will encourage you and keep you on track. Having a buddy also makes exercise more fun. Who says exercise can’t be a social activity?
- Look at long-term benefits. We believe the “hype” about that new diet that will melt off the fat, yet do not think about the fact that it is not something that can be sustained long term. For long-term results, we must make LIFESTYLE changes.
- Start small. Have long-term goals, but realize that reaching those goals takes many small steps. Remember small steps result in small changes that will snowball into big rewards.
- Figure out how you got here in the first place. This step is the hardest and one that is often skipped. You must identify your obstacles before you can avoid them.
- Define for yourself the meaning of “fitness” and “health.” Hint: It’s NOT defined in terms of a number on a scale or measuring tape. Think in terms of what you want your body to do for you…whether it is running a marathon, or simply carrying in grocery bags without losing your breath.
By focusing on these steps and slowly changing your perspective about diet and exercise, you can make 2011 the healthiest one yet.
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Celia Bonino is an exercise physiologist at EdenFit, a supervised exercise program through Eden Medical Center. Celia will present a seminar “The Truth About Weight Loss” on January 13 at 7:00 p.m. at Eden. To register, call 1-888-445-8433 or register online.