3Q's: Hank Boerner, North Mississippi Medical Center's wellness center director

By NEMS Daily Journal

Getting fit and losing weight are consistently at the top of New Year’s resolution lists. But most folks struggle with turning those fitness goals into reality. The Daily Journal’s Michaela Gibson Morris asked Hank Boerner, director of the North Mississippi Medical Center’s wellness centers, for tips on how to lose the pounds, not the resolution in 2012.

Q: What is the best way to get started on a fitness resolution?
A: One of the best ways to get started is to write down what your long-term goal is. Do you want to lose weight, run a 5K or just feel better? You have to understand that in order to accomplish most common fitness resolutions, you need to incorporate good eating habits with good exercise habits. It is very important that the long-term resolution be meaningful. It is also very important to remember that you need small realistic goals to accomplish the long-term big goals.

Q: How do you figure out what is a realistic, meaningful goal?
A: In order to determine if a resolution is realistic, you may need to discuss it with your doctor or fitness professional. Generally, you are the only one who can determine if the goal is meaningful. Others may tell you what you need to do, but if you don’t think so, it will never be meaningful to you. The best way to determine if a goal is realistic is:
• Can you fit it into your schedule?
• Is it believable?
A good rule of thumb is to start out slow and easy and progress slowly. I recommend that most people try to start with 15 to 20 minutes of a low-level activity that they enjoy and try to work it into their schedule every day. It is very important that you enjoy what you are doing. You need to look at it like brushing your teeth. As for weight loss, a realistic goal is to lose 1-2 pounds a week.
Q: What are the keys to keeping a New Year’s resolution going past Jan. 31?
A: It is very important to set small, obtainable goals that can be accomplished each week or month. After you accomplish the goal, set another one and reward yourself for the one you just accomplished. If your long-term goal is to lose weight, your first goal may be to exercise five days a week for 20 minutes per day. When you have accomplished that goal you reward yourself and set your next goal. This may be exercising five days per week for 30 minutes per day and eating less fat and more fruits and vegetables each day. Once you get into the exercise habit then you can start looking at the long-term goal of the weight loss … which will already be happening. It is just like anything else in life, you need to take it one step at a time, do what you enjoy and be patient.