Another year and another holiday eating season have passed.  The extra weight from 2006 and 2007 has supplemented 2008’s weight gain and once again and you’re ready to get healthier.  So, what’s it going to be? 

How committed are you to really changing your life in 2009?  Are you willing to make real changes, or will you result to the route of late-night TV commercials selling bogus fitness equipment and fad diets?  Would you like to do something that really works? 

If so, stick this list to your refrigerator.  I’m going to give you five things you can do everyday to get healthier and feel better immediately.

#1        Throw out unhealthy food.

Sweets, chips and soft drinks serve no healthy purpose. Keeping these around will make them available during times when will power is weaker.  Also, low-fat, reduced-fat and reduced sugar labels don't indicate that a food is healthy.  Stay away from them.

#2        Eat whole grains, fruit, vegetables, lean proteins and healthy fats.

Good examples include whole grain bread, blueberries, oatmeal, chicken, fish, walnuts, almonds, cabbage, squash and apples. 

You may not crave fruits and vegetables, but your body does and it needs the fiber, vitamins and minerals these foods provide. You’ve conditioned yourself to crave table sugar. You can re-condition yourself to crave fruits and vegetables.  Try small amounts and keep in mind how healthy, low calorie and satisfying these can be.

#3        Drink water.

Drink water before breakfast, during the day and at every meal. 

Keep it with you.  You’ll find yourself drinking it because it’s there - much the same strategy you already do with soft drinks.  If you need a change, try flavored water.  Too much of the sugar substitutes in these don’t always digest well, but it’s a better choice than sugary colas.

#4        Move.

Do not pass up an opportunity to move.  Climb stairs, walk parking lots, jog, lift weights, hike, clean the house, plant a garden, etc.

Never opt to sit on the couch when you can exercise.  The more you move, the better you feel.  Research has proven time and again, people who fidget and “can’t sit still” tend to be thinner from all the extra activity.

#5        Keep a journal.

Find a journal and make it your daily accountability.  In it, write down all you did for exercise each day and jot down the foods you ate. 

You can find some of these journals at www.dietminder.com (I like the body minder version).  Don’t go four hours without eating and don’t go a day without exercising.  If you write your eating and exercise activity down, you’ll see (on paper) the difference you’re making this year.

Jeff Howerton is a trainer and owner of LEAN Personal Training, where he and his trainers work with clients to lose fat, develop lean muscle and implement strategies for healthier living. Reach Jeff at jeff@leannashville.com

This article has been republished from Out & About Nashville, and was part of a series of first-person pieces written by the late Bobbi Williams.

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