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Lifestyle changes, commitment can turn fitness resolutions into reality

Make fitness resolutions stick

“People need to be realistic,” the trainer said. “You can’t put in what God left out. But, I can guarantee with hard work, things will change for them.”

1. Make it nonnegotiable. Commit to the effort no matter what, and remain constant.

2. Set a plan. Know what to accomplish and when.

3. Combat standard excuses and rationalizations. Excuses come easy, so respond to them before they become an issue.

4. Use procrastination as an advantage. Focus on an external deadline, such as a wedding or a reunion.

5. Schedule exercise. Make appointments for 30 minutes a day and keep it.

6. Monitor your behavior. Keep a written record of things such as daily food and water intake, calories burned and exercises.

7. Focus on the horizon. Measure progress made.

8. Take it one choice and one day at a time. Change is less overwhelming in smaller doses.

9. Imitate someone accomplishing weight loss. Observe and copy a successful person for good results.

10. React kindly to mistakes. When mistakes happen, avoid falling into traps of shame and guilt.

– Source: Take Off Pounds Sensibly,

or TOPS Club Inc.

For many, making a resolution to improve diet, increase exercise and lose weight is as common as popping champagne corks at midnight of a new year.

Unfortunately, these resolutions usually fizzle a short time later.

It’s a trend Jim Gregoire, manager at Trapper Health Club and a professor of sports medicine and weight and personal training at Colorado Northwestern Community College, frequently has seen.

“We’re already getting calls for weight loss,” said Gregoire, of the 20-some calls the Health Club has received this month from nonmembers considering a membership. “The pre-resolution period has started.

“Right now, this time of year, it’s all about looks.”

A question that many people new to clubs have is whether trainers such as Gregoire can “promise we can make them lose weight and look better,” he said.

“Of course, no trainer would make that promise,” Gregoire said. “What I can tell them is if they are committed : there will be changes.”

Take Off Pounds Sensibly, or TOPS Club, is the nation’s oldest, nonprofit weight-loss education and support group. Just before New Year’s, TOPS released a tips sheet for people seeking to improve their health in 2009.

The TOPS philosophy is basic.

It combines healthy eating, regular exercise, wellness education and support from others. The TOPS list includes sensible tips such as setting a list of health goals, scheduling regular exercise and avoiding typical pitfalls such as procrastination.

Without lifestyle changes, commitment and effort, Gregoire said many people’s good health intentions at the beginning of the year fade within a few months.

He cited one study that concluded about 60 percent of people who join fitness clubs in January no longer are members by June.

There are, however, success stories of people who stick with it.

The Health Club manager pointed out two members who have lost about 100 pounds each. Their accomplishment didn’t come without sacrifice, he said.

“They’re here at 5 a.m. everyday,” he said.

Another important aspect of getting fit, Gregoire said, is being reasonable with their health and fitness expectations. Not everyone can look like movie stars and perform like professional athletes, he said.