Sunday, January 2, 2011

Embrace the New Year

We'll hear it the entire month of January... A New Year - A New You.  So I ask...What makes the idea of a new year fill us with excitement and anticipation of setting new health and fitness goals?    Maybe instead of rolling our eyes at the age old cliche, we should embrace the simple truth in this phrase and look to the new year to set goals not just for a new diet but for an overall healthier lifestyle. 

First, set realistic goals. If are currently not exercising don’t set a goal of running a marathon by the end of the year. Start by adding a short walk into your routine a few times a week and slowly work up to 30 minutes 4-5 times a week.   If your goal is to start running, once you can comfortably walk 30 minutes at a time, add 1-2 minute running breaks into your walk and slowly work up to longer periods of time as you get more comfortable. 

Second, slowly make healthy changes in your diet.  A complete pantry overhaul may be what you need but to keep your family from thinking you have lost your mind...make simple changes one at a time.  For instance, switch from white rice and pastas to brown.  Switch from white bread to wheat and multi-grain varieties.  Be more conscience about the packaged products you are purchasing; if they contain high fructose corn syrup or any kind of hydrogenated oils, put them back on the shelf.  And the most important nutrition goal you can have is to limit your animal protein and start eating a larger variety of fruits and vegetables.

Third, have fun. Try not to look at healthy eating and exercise as a daunting, punishment to endure. Instead, try to turn it into a new way of life – your new and improved lifestyle. Exercise stimulates various brain chemicals, which may leave you feeling happier and more relaxed than you were before you worked out. You'll also look  and feel better when you exercise and eat a healthy diet on a regular basis, which can boost your confidence and improve your self-esteem.

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