By Lee Anne Grace
As 2011 comes to a close, many people are making New Year’s resolutions for 2012. Resolutions frequently focus on improving health and activity level.
On Jan. 1, we all start out with good intentions. There are countless ads on TV touting the latest diet. Stores prominently display diet and fitness products. By the beginning of March, many have fallen off the bandwagon and reverted to old habits. Another year has passed with failed attempts at making permanent changes for a healthier life.
There is only one proven way to maintain long-term weight loss: to eat fewer calories than your body burns. More simply stated, to lose weight a person must eat less and move more. This is a very simple concept, but it can be very difficult to put into practice and commit to. For me, the combination of far too many homemade Christmas cookies coupled with less exercise over the past few weeks has resulted in unwanted holiday weight gain. It’s time for me to get back on track.
My resolution for 2012 is to:
Have a plan.
• Schedule exercise into your daily routine.
• Invest in an inexpensive pedometer. Challenge yourself to take more steps than you did the day before.
• Find others with similar fitness goals, then meet to support and encourage one another. Take the initiative and start a walking or other fitness group in your neighborhood.
• Join a gym or fitness center.
• For those of you who have always wanted to train to complete a 5K, now is your chance. The Tupelo Park and Recreation Department is partnering with the Tupelo Running Club to offer training. The group will meet from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays starting Jan. 17 at Ballard Park. After completing eight weeks of training, team members will participate in the St. Patrick’s Day 5K at Ballard Park on Saturday, March 17. This will be the first of a series of four 5Ks sponsored by Tupelo Park and Rec.
All ability levels are welcome. I will be leading the group. I was a beginning runner not so long ago myself. I hope to bring compassion, understanding and introduce participants to the joy, increased fitness and self-confidence running can bring.
• For those of you who already have some running experience, an intermediate group, led by Ines deLambert, will meet at the same time.
To register, call Park and Rec at (662) 841-6440.
• Become familiar with healthy dietary guidelines. A lot of good information can be found at www.choosemyplate.gov.
• Keep a food log. If you bite it, then write it.
• Eat breakfast.
• Don’t skip meals. This leads to unhealthy snacking later on.
• Fruit and vegetables should be a large part of your daily intake. If this is not the case, resolve to try at least one new vegetable each week, and stick with it. Speaking from personal experience, a person can acquire a taste for vegetables. It just takes time.
• Eliminate overly processed, sugary and fat- laden food. Eliminating one thing at a time works well for many people when trying to implement lifelong changes.
Have a Plan
• Setting goals without a plan in place is just wishful thinking.
• Plan what you eat, then eat what you plan.
• Schedule exercise. Consider it an appointment that can’t be broken.
• Set small goals that are measurable.
• Take one day at a time. Stay in the moment.
• Have a plan in place to get back on track when (not if) you falter. Just because you slip up doesn’t mean you are a failure and should give up.
• Schedule a regular time each week to assess how you are doing. If something didn’t go well, then identify why and make changes. Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results doesn’t work.
• Roadblocks and setbacks are part of the journey. Don’t see them as a reason to give up, but as a way to learn and grow.
Resolve to make 2012 the year you stop making excuses and embark on a path to lifelong success. I invite you to join me. Move more. Eat less. Have a plan. Reassess.
Lee Anne Grace is an elementary music teacher for Tupelo Public Schools. After reaching a weight of almost 300 pounds and failing at numerous diets for over 25 years, she has been successful at losing weight and maintaining her weight loss for three years. She is the mother of two teenage daughters and enjoys running in her spare time.