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January 23, 2012

Healthy New Year’s Resolutions

by The Centinal

By: Faith Middleton

As the excitement of the new year blends into the monotony of January, many people struggle to keep New Year’s Resolutions. The majority of Americans’ resolutions pertain to becoming healthier, whether you vow to get fit, lose weight or a number of others. However, the hardship of your efforts can be an obstacle in the way of achieving your goal. Thinking about exercise or diet is easy; for some people, gaining the willpower to follow through is not.
“Coming up with a routine that you’re able to do and keep up with is the hardest part for most people,” Health and Gym teacher Mrs. Claughsey said. “Find one that you enjoy doing.”

The first step in becoming healthier is identifying the factors in your life that are causing an inconsistent exercise routine and an unhealthy diet: you need to figure out what you want to change. Be specific in your goals; this means to have a goal that you can measure. For example, “exercise 4 mornings a week” sounds more doable than “Get fit”. This allows you to track your progress, which will encourage you.

Break your one big goal down into many smaller goals. If your goal is to “lose sixty pounds”, you won’t know whether you are keeping a good pace in your weight loss schedule if you don’t have one. Instead, have a steady pace planned to help you achieve your goal, such as “lose six pounds per month”. This is less vague than the original resolution, which will help you feel in control.
In order to be ‘healthy’, you need to be conscious of what nutrients you are consuming. This includes food, drink and medicine. Many Americans are not aware of the calories, carbohydrates and proteins they take in each day. The average American consumes more than double the amount of protein required for their weight and body mass index. This causes excess protein to be stored in the body, especially when done without exercise.

On the other hand, many people do not get enough of what their body truly needs. Most Americans are lacking in their daily dose of “Vitamin P.” (Plants, that is.) In order to consume the appropriate amount of nutrients from plant life, people need to eat five one-cup servings of vegetables/fruit each day.

“Try to change little things,” Claughsey said. “Changing your whole diet all at once won’t work. Substitute low-fat foods for some of your regular, high-fat foods.”

A guideline for meals is that one-quarter of the meal be lean protein, one-quarter whole grain, and one half of the meal vegetables/fruits. Lean protein would be grilled/baked poultry or beef. Portion size is key in efforts to gain control of your diet.

Whether your resolution is to ‘get fit’, ‘spend more time with the family’ or ‘learn to play the oboe’, you need to find ways to enjoy the path to your goal and implement it into your daily routine.

“Most of all, stick with it,” Claughsey said.

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