Sunday, January 3, 2010

Lucille Roberts - How to Make Your Commitment to Diet and Exercise Easier

Like any commitment in life, sticking to a healthy diet and exercise program can be a challenge – often draining you both emotionally and mentally in the process. If you have ever tried to develop newer, healthier eating or exercise habits, then you know just how difficult it can be to eat right, stay motivated and stick to a plan that works for you. Fortunately, with the right tips and a little bit of knowledge on the subject, you can develop a lifelong commitment to healthy eating and exercise that will help you look and feel your best while improving your overall health and wellbeing!

Keep a Journal - Start by keeping a journal with a list of all the foods you eat in a given day. Your journal can be as simple or as elaborate as you want it to be – some people simply jot down the foods they eat while others prefer counting calories or calculating macronutrients such as total carbohydrate, protein and fat grams consumed.

Not only is a food journal a great way to keep you on track, but it also shows you which foods are stifling your progress. If you avoid fatty foods such as French fries for a month and decide to indulge in Aussie cheese fries from Outback Steakhouse – check your weight the following day. If you gain a pound or two, you know to keep those greasy fries off your plate in the future. On the contrary, if you want to continue eating the fries, you may decide to cut 250 calories from your daily diet to make up for it. A journal is a great tool for that, too.

Feel free to include your exercise sessions in your journal, complete with the activity, duration, intensity and calories burned. Logging your exercises is a great way to track your progress, giving you a sense of purpose and direction while at the gym.

Get Involved in a Support Group
- If you are just starting out your journey towards healthy eating, you will definitely benefit from talking to, or simply being around, like-minded people. Peer support is a great motivational tool for any type of commitment, and diet and exercise are no exception. There are plenty of support groups and clubs available, both locally and over the Internet (Weight Watchers, for example), designed to keep you motivated and connected with people on the same path as you.

Set Realistic Short and Long-Term Goals
- Never underestimate the power of setting realistic goals in both your eating habits and exercise program. For example, if you would like to take up a cardiovascular activity such as running, avoid going from the couch to a 3-mile run in one week. Set small goals for yourself and you will stay motivated and excited about making progress each time you exercise.

Depending on your current fitness level, you may want to start by jogging for 90 seconds, followed by a brisk, 3-minute walk and then another 90 seconds of jogging – repeating this process for twenty to thirty minutes. The next week, you can try jogging 3-minutes intervals followed by a 3-minute walk, gradually increasing the interval times until you reach your long-term goal (jogging 3 miles, for example).

Short and long-term goals work great for your diet, too. Feel free to set daily goals, monthly goals and yearly goals to keep you motivated. An example of a daily goal would be consuming a set number of calories, where a monthly goal may be to lose ten pounds. Write your goals down and keep them in your journal so that you have objective evidence about the progress you are making.

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