Well, we made it. We reached 2003. Now that we
’re in the new year, many of us have probably made New Year’s
Well, we made it. We reached 2003. Now that we’re in the new year, many of us have probably made New Year’s resolutions.

Not all resolutions revolve around health and fitness; it’s a pretty safe bet to say that many of them do.

For those of you who have made resolutions to lose weight, get in shape or get healthier, here are a few tips to help you stick with your chosen program.

First and foremost, define your goals. Be specific about what you want to accomplish. For example, rather than saying “I want to lose weight,” say “I will lose five, ten (or however many) pounds.”

Goals should be measurable. If you have no way of measuring your goal attainment, it will much more difficult to stick with it. If you can see visible results (muscle tone, clothes fitting more comfortably), then you will remain encouraged and keep on going.

Remember, the scale may not be the most indicative measurement because muscle weighs more that fat. As you’re gaining muscle, the number on the scale may not go down as drastically.

Goals should also be realistic. Chances are if you want to lose 50 pounds by February, you will not achieve this goal. An average, healthy weight loss is one to two pounds per week. Again, if goals are unrealistic or too aggressive, you may get discouraged.

It is better to set smaller, more attainable short-term goals. Again, if more weight loss is what you are striving for, break it down into smaller increments.

Make your initial objective to lose five to ten pounds a month. When you reach this level, you remain encouraged and will continue on your program.

Another important step is defining your motivation. Ask yourself “why do I want to lose weight/get in shape?” Are you looking to achieve these goal for yourself or because someone else wants you to?

I have discovered over the years that if you attempt to reach a goal for someone other than yourself, you will most likely not be successful. The best motivation is knowing that you are doing something positive for your health/well-being.

Once you have determined the reasons for getting involved in a health/fitness program, you need to make a plan. What steps are you going to take to get to your ultimate goal? Will you go to a gym or exercise at home? Are you going to modify your eating habits? How will you go about this? A good idea is to contact a fitness professional and/or nutritionist.

The next step is to identify the reasons that we drop off our programs. If you have made these same resolutions in the past, as many of us have, what caused you to stop? What possible obstacles might stand in your way now?

Are you on the right program? If you do not get involved in a program that is conducive to your lifestyle, chances are that you will not stick with it.

Do you have an “all or nothing” mentality? If you cannot get to the gym seven days a week, will you not go at all? If you deviate off your diet, will you give up completely? There has to be a happy medium. In other words, if you can get to the gym three or five days a week, that’s okay. It’s better than not going at all. If you eat a piece of cake at a party, that’s okay, too. Just limit it to the one piece.

What kind of outside influences are you subject to?

Once you have identified potential obstacles, you can then create possible solutions so they do not slow down your progress.

How many of us have pledged to eat healthier in the new year? We claim we’re going to lay off the fast food and eat more fruits and vegetables. An effective way to monitor what we eat is to keep a food journal. This involves writing down everything you eat. I have personally done this myself, and it’s amazing what we do not realize we eat. This journal raises our awareness, so we can pinpoint where our weakness lay (mine is chocolate chip cookies).

A food journal also aids in identifying “trigger foods” that might cause you to deviate from your plan. Once you know what these are, you can more easily avoid them.

New year’s resolutions are only effective if they are followed through. These are just a few suggestions to ensure that they don’t fall by the wayside.

If you have any questions, contact your fitness professional or call me at 776-1617.

Karen Frost is the Wellness Director for Gold’s Gym of Morgan Hill. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Physical Education from New York University and is certified by the American Council on Exercise as a Personal Trainer and a Lifestyle and Weight Management Consultant.

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