New Year, New You!


How to Get Fabulously Fit in 2013

If you want to look in the mirror this New Year and see a fit and fabulous you, your goal is within reach. Health–minded individuals can start by focusing on these basic ideas:

By writing down your goals, you’re more likely to feel accountable for seeing them through. For example, posting your plan to lose five pounds by February 1 on your refrigerator, bathroom mirror or desk might just keep you going. You can also enlist the support and encouragement of your family and friends by telling them about your goals. And finding a partner with similar goals can make things easier, as you can motivate each another and succeed faster.

The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week, or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise. With these milestones in mind, you can create your own blend of intensity. If exercising 30 minutes five times a week seems overwhelming, break it up into a manageable routine that better suits you. It can be just as effective to exercise in 10–15 minute spurts over the course of a day. Regardless of your exercise schedule, don’t reinvent the wheel or engage in too much repetition. If you’re stuck in a rut doing the same thing every day, that can become boring. Keep your workouts interesting and fun by mixing it up between swimming, walking or bicycling.

These are all great aerobic activities that have cardiovascular benefits, too.

When it comes to food, make informed choices. According to The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, a healthy diet focuses on fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fat-free or lowfat milk and dairy products. It also includes lean meats, fish, eggs and poultry, and is low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, added sugars and sodium.

Focusing on portion size can also make a difference in keeping the extra pounds away. Many restaurants tend to offer larger portion sizes than you really need. You don’t have to eat it all, so consider sharing! At home, you might try using smaller plates. And make sure you’re really still hungry before going back for seconds, as your brain takes a few minutes to process that you’re actually full. You might even just be thirsty for one more glass of water.

Be aware of your triggers, as they are different for everyone. Some people are more inclined to eat more when they feel anxiety or stress.

Rather than eating, find a healthier alternative like taking a walk with your dog, meditating or doing yoga. It’s okay to snack, but the key is to find healthier options, like fresh fruit or low-fat yogurt. And look to replace some of the time you spend in front of the television or computer with anything that gets you up on your feet. These are all steps in the right direction.

On your journey to a fitter and more fabulous you, whether it’s your diet or your exercise plan, don’t hesitate to consult with your physician first, especially if you have an existing health condition. Your doctor can confirm that your health status is right for you to get started, or might prescribe some necessary medications. Don’t be afraid to reach out to a personal trainer or dietician if you feel the need for extra support or motivation.

Good luck!