Tips for staying on track
• “If you look in the mirror and you’re not happy, remember that is why you are getting up early to get to the gym. If it’s because you want to be fit and healthy as you age, remember that’s why you make the effort to go go the gym each day. Whatever it is, if you focus on why you are exercising, you will be more likely to continue making it a priority.” — Rebecca Miller, Bradley Wellness Center fitness consultant
• “If your goal is losing weight there’s only one thing that matters and that is burning more calories than you are eating. As long as you are operating at a calorie deficit you have to lose weight.” — Alex Smith, lost 150 pounds in 2012
• “Set a schedule. Find a time that works for you every day, or at least two or three days a week. ... Whenever you choose to exercise, be sure to put it on your calendar. If you think of your workout as an appointment, you will be less likely to miss it.” — Miller
• Decide ahead of time to push through the days you don’t feel like it. “The thing is when you weigh 500 pounds you feel bad every day, and you don’t feel like going every day. It wasn’t a different thing for me. I had made my decision.” — Smith
From Dalton Seventh-day Adventist Church health educator Vivian Raitz, adapted from “Eight Weeks to Wellness” by Don Hall
• Take personal responsibility. Others can assist, but you have to take charge of your health and life.
• Choose to make changes because you want to. For goals and values to be permanent, they must be chosen freely. Make a list of the reasons why you want to make changes.
• Set realistic and measurable goals. Be specific. Set a time line to achieve your goal (a short-term goal should be no longer than six to 10 weeks). Plan a reward when you reach your goal (not food!).
• Enlist the help of a buddy, someone you can work with in achieving your goal. Tell family and friends your new goal and ask for their support. If needed, join a support group.
• Learn as much as you can about the best way to reach your goal. Attend a class, if possible. Read. Study. Talk to those who have reached a similar goal.
• Get help from a health professional, if needed, someone you can get reliable information from and someone to report to on how you are progressing. It may be a doctor, nutritionist, fitness trainer or counselor. It is a sign of strength, not weakness to ask for help.
• Don’t give up. Any worthwhile goal takes persistence and commitment. Experiment. Try something new. Share what you are learning with your family and friends. If you do this, you will gradually be a little healthier and will feel good about the new you.