As I See Fit: Start new routine by making small changes

Do you look forward to your workouts and gym time? Are you “in shape” and enjoying the compliments that accompany a toned body? Are you thinking about amping your program up a notch?

If so, save yourself some time and skip reading this column. This one is not for you. Not this time.

I’m writing this week’s column for the people who are overweight and are not in shape. I’m writing it for the people who are intimidated and paralyzed with depression about their state of fitness. And I’m writing it for all of you who have just about given up and don’t even know where to begin.

Let’s make small but sweeping changes that can make a huge difference in the way you look and feel. And let’s scratch everything and have a “do-over,” where we can forgive ourselves for getting out of shape in the first place and start all over again, at the beginning.

As we progress into the month of January, the onslaught of health and wellness advice has yet to diminish. Everywhere we turn, we are bombarded with competitive sales offers for new workout wear, equipment, diet plans and gym memberships.

All of these things are fine and sometimes necessary, but without committing to a true change in the health and fitness department of your life, their full benefits may remain untapped.

Make a contract with yourself to make small changes and then implement them. As my five-year-old likes to say, “We are all the boss of our own selves.” Be the boss of yourself and hold yourself accountable for making changes that will reward you with something that you really want to see: results.

Watch what you eat

We all know that in order to lose weight, we need to watch what we eat. This cannot be stressed enough. Be aware of what you are eating.

The food, its ingredients, the size; being a mindful eater is a great first step to take into your fitness journey.

Below are my top three favorite eating tips, courtesy of Adopt some of these into your new and improved healthy lifestyle!

• Best Diet Tip No. 1: Drink plenty of water or other calorie-free beverages.

People sometimes confuse thirst with hunger. So you can end up eating extra calories when an ice-cold glass of water is really what you need. Cynthia Sass, a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association, on the website suggests adding citrus or a splash of juice to water, or brewing infused teas, which have no calories.

• Best Diet Tip No. 2: Think about what you can add to your diet, not what you should take away. Start by focusing on getting the recommended 5 to 9 servings of fruits and vegetables each day.

• Best Diet Tip No. 3: Eat several mini-meals during the day. If you eat fewer calories than you burn, you will lose weight. But when you’re hungry all the time, eating fewer calories can be challenging. Obesity researcher Rebecca Reeves recommends on dividing your daily calories into smaller meals or snacks and enjoying as many of them as you can early in the day — dinner should be the last time you eat.

Get moving

I am a big fan of workouts that require little or no equipment. However, I know that a lot of people feel like they do need “accessories” in order to feel like they are actually accomplishing something.

To that end, below are my top three choices of equipment for those beginning, or restructuring, their fitness goals.

These are all on the inexpensive side and easy to find locally. Or you can ask your neighbor, who probably has some collecting dust somewhere.

• Stability Ball: A firm and large inflatable ball used in various exercises, chiefly to strengthen the back, pelvis and abdominal muscles.

• Resistance Bands or Tubes: Resistance bands are strips or tubes of rubber used to perform strengthening exercises for your muscles.

The bands come in different strengths, based on the effort required to stretch them.

• Free Weights: 5-8 pound weights are ideal for beginners.

Get ready to put all of this to good use with new workout moves in the next column! Get moving! You can do it!


Megan Green Stuke 8 years, 4 months ago

Jennifer, I am considering getting a toning ball to sit on at work. What do you think? Is this a helpful thing or a waste?

focusedonfitness 8 years, 4 months ago

It's a good thing in small doses, Megan. If you already have lower back pain, you should look for a more supportive chair. But many people feel that short periods of time on the ball force them to pay more attention to their posture, and it can make it easy for you to sneak in some brief but effective workout time. It's an instant motivator! I hope that answered your question.

sustainabilitysister 8 years, 4 months ago

Thanks Jennifer for the motivating article! Now I'm off for a jog.

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