Healthy New Year’s resolutions

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 28, 2005

The Selma Times-Journal

3. Stop smoking.

2. Exercise.

1. Diet, diet, diet.

When American adults make their New Year’s resolutions, health issues usually top the list – trashing the Marlboros, hitting the treadmill and a personally led strike against anything chocolate or deep-fried.

Vowing to have a healthy lifestyle is admirable, but the problem is this – maintaining these healthy resolutions through 2006 and beyond.

Area fitness guru Tameka Little and dietitian Susan Mann offer the following tips on how make healthy resolutions stick.

“Every

New Year’s I hear, ‘I’m gonna lose weight,'” said Little, fitness director at Vaughan Wellness and Fitness Center. “First of all, they need to change their lifestyle forever – not just for three months.”

Little said people should first set realistic goals – taking 30 minutes out of a lunch break to walk downtown

or in the park is a start. Daily exercise is optimal, but Little said working out at least three times a week will suffice. There

are no excuses, Little said. Leave them

at the door.

” ‘I don’t have the time’ or ‘I don’t have the money,'” she said. “But you can go buy a cell phone, you can go buy a pack of cigarettes. This is your health!”

If one gets bored easily, adding music, a television or a buddy to daily workouts will keep motivation high and take the focus off the clock. Changing up workout routines every four to six weeks also keeps spirits up, Little said.

Joining a fitness club doesn’t hurt either. Little said Vaughan is running an enrollment special next month and will premiere its Fitness Resolution program the second week in January. The program aims to help people stay on a fitness routine that is personally designed for them.

“Vaughan Wellness and Fitness wants to

help people in the community reach their goals. That’s our challenge everyday,” Little said.

And after all that hard work, Little urges people to treat themselves.

“It’s really good to get a massage now and then,” she said.

Research studies show massage reduces heart rate, lowers blood pressure, increases blood circulation, relaxes muscles and increases endorphins.

Mann, a dietitian at Baptist Health Center in Montgomery, said it’s the little things that make a difference in healthy eating.

Mann said limiting the intake of soft drinks and other sugar-filled beverages such as sweet tea is No. 1. Mann calculated if people stopped drinking two-12 ounce soft drinks a day, each person would lose close to 29 pounds a year.

Eating three balanced, portion controlled meals will trim the waistline and boost metabolism.

“Keep your food to a half cup serving,” Mann said.

Techniques and ingredients used in preparing food are also essential.

“Make changes in cooking your food – baking, grilling and broiling. Add more spices. There are seasonings other than fat back and salt pork,” Mann said.

Eating out less is beneficial, but if it can’t be avoided, Mann suggests sharing an entre with someone or requesting a to go box for leftovers.

“You can’t control your calories as much when you eat out,” Mann said. “Don’t super size.”

Finally, Mann said barring guilty pleasures from a diet “will set you up for failure.” It’s ok to indulge a little – occasionally.

“It’s unhealthy to cut out the food entirely. Allow yourself to have a portion of it – a half cup of ice cream, a few bites of pie,” Mann said.