Realistic health goals can be attained

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Yep, it's that time of year, the dreaded New Year's resolution list. It's really an opportunity to acknowledge and put to paper the things you've been thinking about all year but have successfully procrastinated about. At the top of the list is usually the dreaded 10 pounds you've wanted to lose since 1900 and something that has now ballooned to some number that you'd rather not think about.

We know we need to get in shape, join a gym or eat less, but the bottom line is to make a lifestyle adjustment that will work for you and that you can maintain for a lifetime.

Top 10 Tools to Live a Healthier 2008 and Beyond:

1) Write it down and post it. blog it, e-mail it or get a T-shirt about it, but name it and claim it. You're less likely to fail if you publicly acknowledge your intentions.

2) Don't drink your calories. Alcohol, eggnog and sweet tea contain a lot more calories than you think.

3) Find a friend with the same goal. Buddy training is a great way to stay on track.

4) Hire a personal trainer who is certified by an accredited agency such as the American College of Sport Medicine or American Council on Exercise.

5) Schedule your workouts like a business appointment. Write it down on your PDA or calendar, then do it.

6) Eat off of a salad plate. Today's dinner plates are yesterday's platters.

7) Don't inhale your lunch or eat in your car. Give your stomach time to tell your brain that you're full.

8) Water! Water! Water!

9) Dining out? No problem. Order what you want along with a to-go box. Immediately put half in the box and eat what is left. Two great meals for the price of one. Go to www.dietfacts.com and look up your favorite restaurant for nutrition information.

10) Calories in -- calories out. You have to use more energy than you take in to lose weight, period. The true secret to losing weight boils down to basic math.

Living a healthful life is not about fad diets, pills, drugs, surgery, starvation, calorie shifting or being a weekend warrior at the gym. Healthful living is about daily exercise, eating fresh vegetables, 100 percent whole grains and lean meats. You'd be surprised at how much of the right foods you can eat and still stay within your calorie limit.

If you would like more information on nutrition, consult a local dietician or nutritionist. If you need help with motivation, exercise, accountability and goal- setting, consult a personal trainer. Check the Internet or newspaper for information on local running and bicycle clubs that host activities in a group setting. Community centers offer many different activities.

The information you seek is out there. You just have to reach out and take advantage of it. Don't let another year go by without taking action.

Knowledge is power. You have the power to make a change.

Lori Comshaw is an ACE certified personal trainer and president of At Home Personal Training Inc. in Aiken.


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