YMCA offers tips for a healthier New YearPublished 9:05am Thursday, January 2, 2014
As the calendar flips to 2014, many people are setting New Year’s resolutions.
Denise Peters, healthy living director at the Niles-Buchanan YMCA, said one of the most common resolutions she hears from people is a desire to change to a healthier lifestyle.
This can mean losing weight, starting a workout routine and/or changing a diet.
“When you are trying to achieve a higher level of health and well being it needs to be a lifestyle change. It can’t just be ‘I’m going to lose weight,’” Peters said. “What happens is people choose a fad diet or make goals that are not achievable or unrealistic.”
Making change last can be difficult.
Peters said it is common for people to stick with a resolution for a couple months, only to fall back into old habits.
So what steps can people take to make sure they stay on track?
Peters said the first step is asking yourself, ‘why should I change?’
“You need to look at yourself and assess what you are doing, why you are doing it and why you don’t want to do it,” she said. “That behavior change really has to be your own decision.”
Once that is done, Peters recommends recognizing the things that are standing in the way of achieving your goals and the things that are helping you achieve your goals.
“If you are making a behavior change to be more active, but your friends sit around and go to a fast food place for lunch then you are probably going to do what they do,” Peters said. “You either have to get them to buy in with you, or you have to make that change and do something different at lunch, like go for a walk or have a salad.”
The last step is to develop a plan and set a start date.
“It has to be one step at a time, one small achievable goal at a time,” Peters said.
The goal, she said, could be as simple as cutting soda intake by half each day and exercising after work Monday, Wednesday and Friday for 30 minutes. It’s also important to reset goals as you achieve them, she said.
To increase the likelihood of sticking with the plan, Peters suggests enlisting a friend to work out with.
“Having someone partner with you or starting a competition in the office is always a good idea because everybody is supporting everyone else,” Peters said.
The Niles-Buchanan YMCA is beginning a Fitness Challenge program Jan. 6. Participants will track and earn points for their healthy lifestyle choices such as eating well and working out.
At the end of the program, participants will get a T-shirt and prizes will be awarded to the people with the most points.
“It will help people get engaged in their wellness. So if they haven’t done anything this is a good start,” Peters said.
To learn more, visit the YMCA’s website at nb-ymca.org or call them at (269) 683-1552.