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12 Changes in 12 Months
(Part 2 of 2)

Flexibility

In my last article I shared five things you can do, one each month to help you shape up. Here are seven more to help you finish out the year. You don't have to do them in any particular order, just pick one of them and get started.

  Spend four weeks cleaning things out.

  • Week One: Plan on a couple hours to clear the unhealthy stuff out of your refrigerator and freezer. Then resolve not to replace it.

  • Week Two: Attack the rest of your kitchen and get rid of the fat and sugar filled diet destroyers.

  • Week Three: Clean out your car and promise yourself not to mess it up by eating fast food in it.

  • Week Four: Go through your office desk, break room and/or office refrigerator. Get rid of any junk food that's yours and replace it with healthy alternatives. Lean frozen meals, fresh fruit and zero calorie drinks are all good choices.

  Learn to cook one new healthy recipe a month. If you're really ambitious, try one new recipe a week. For those of you not sure what a healthy recipe is, look for these five things in each meal.

  1. It shouldn't be more than 500 calories.
  2. There should be at least 3 grams of fiber in a serving.
  3. Limit sugar to 4 grams or less per 100 calories.
  4. Keep fat under 30% of the total calories (that's 3 grams of fat or less per 100 calories).
  5. Compare sodium and calories. The sodium shouldn't be higher than 1.5 times the total calories.

  Once you've started to get into the fitness thing, change into workout clothes as soon as you get home from the office. Not only will it help to calm you after work, it'll remind you it's time to exercise. Don't change out of those clothes until you've gotten them sweaty.

  Start keeping track of something healthy in your life. If you like walking, wear a pedometer and keep a log of how many steps you take each day. Gradually increase your walking until you hit 10,000 steps. For those of you who work out, write down your exercises, weight, sets and reps. Put a date on top of each workout sheet. Your goal is to either do more weight (for strength) or more reps (for endurance). For those of you trying to lose weight, fill a food log with everything you eat and drink each day. Once you see what you're putting in your body you can begin to make healthier choices.

  Switch one meal each day from what you're currently eating to a healthy alternative. For breakfast switch from whole eggs, whole milk and sugar loaded cereal to egg whites, fat free milk and cereals with plenty of fiber. During lunch skip the burger and fries for a grilled chicken breast with no sauce. Bring healthy frozen meals or homemade lean sandwiches. Eat fruit, a protein shake, protein bar or small servings of nuts when you want to snack. Dinner is a great time to experiment with new recipes. Don't try and change everything, just choose one each day.

  Once you've spent a month exploring new foods, put that knowledge to the test. One day a week, eat something healthy every three hours. Your goal is to eat five times in one day without pigging out. That may take a little planning, so start a couple days before and shop for things you may need. Set an alarm on your computer, phone, watch or use a kitchen timer to keep you on track.

  Learn how to do one new exercise every other week. Learning new moves helps keep your workouts more interesting and constantly challenges your muscles. If you're nervous about trying something new, take a fitness class or hire a personal trainer for a couple sessions to help you out.

Twelve tasks, twelve months in a year. Get started today and next year you'll be celebrating the victories.

Part 1

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CAUTION: Check with your doctor before
beginning any diet or exercise program.

2/08/2009