Thursday, September 22, 2011

It's Fall - Time for School Year Resolutions!

Fall, with the return to school and the change in the season's, has always seemed much more like New Years to me than January.
It's a great time to get outside. The evenings are long with the last of daylight savings, parks and public spaces are less crowded, the heat of Summer is cooling down and the air is crisp and clear. After months of altered schedules, family vacations and camping trips, Bar-B-Q's and celebrations, it's time to get back on schedule and re-commit to getting fit.
Join me in making "School Years Resolutions." It will help you re-connect to meeting your goals, and at the very least, will help you establish good habits and patterns as we move into the holiday season. This way, when you make your 2012 New Years Resolutions, you'll already be off to a great start!
Resolution suggestions to get you started:
  • Log your foods: If you aren't already logging your foods and your exercise, (or if you've stopped,) this is a great time to get started. Counting your calories and tracking your movements keeps you accountable for what you're consuming vs. what you're expending. At the very least, keep track in a notebook, so you have a visual reminder of exactly how much goes in vs. how much goes out. If you're on track, it's rewarding to have a record of your hard work. If you need to work harder, it shows you exactly which areas you need to work on.
  • Make time to exercise: Set a specific time each day to exercise and mark it on your calendar. It's too easy to want to do it, mean to do it, but never actually do it. Setting a specific time of day to exercise pushes you to follow through, whether you feel up for it or not, and you get to cross it off your list!
  • Create a meal plan:  Plan everything including healthy snacks. Then shop specifically for your meals. Knowing what you're going to eat in advance, takes the guess work out of dining, so you don't make poor choices when you're tired and hungry. Buying only what you plan to eat means that you're not tempted by unhealthy choices just because they're easy and accessible. You'll also find that you'll save money - By having only the food on hand that you plan to eat, you won't over buy, extra food won't go to waste, and you'll be less inclined to eat out because you'll know exactly what's for dinner.
  • Get rid of unhealthy snack foods. Rid your cupboards of empty calories such as candies, cookies, chips, and crackers. You don't need them, you don't want them, but if you have them, you will eat them. This is not to say that you'll never treat yourself - just make  sure you want the treat. Studies show that random cravings only last about 15 minutes. Snack foods on hand are far too tempting, and encourage mindless eating. If you have a craving that you can't resist, and you've consciously decided it's worth your effort, treat yourself and make the trip out for it. 
  • Find an exercise Buddy: Committing to exercise with another person, particularly someone you love to spend time with, will help you commit to an exercise routine. You're much less likely to back out of exercising when you're accountable to someone else. Choose someone who is enthusiastic and committed to your workout. You will inspire one another.
  • Invest in a class: Sign up for a fitness class or sports team at your local community center. You'll learn something new and you'll build a supportive community.
  • Sign up for a marathon: Having a challenge to train for, and a deadline in which to prepare, will help keep you focused and on track with your fitness goals.

Most importantly keep your resolutions attainable and fun. By setting realistic goals, you will experience success and establish long lasting habits which will ensure your long term health.