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2014 is here, and you have probably set a New Year’s goal to get healthy.  We know with life challenges, family and work, it can sometimes be difficult to keep that commitment. So, FitFactor is here to help you jump start a healthy routine and share tips on how to maintain a healthy lifestyle throughout the year.

1. Be realistic. Select a safe, attainable goal with a realistic time frame. For example, if your goal is to eat healthier, begin by eliminating one unhealthy food from your diet at a time, not ALL unhealthy foods. Do what you like to do consistently. If you want to swim, walk, try boot camp or cycle, start off doing it 1-2 time a week, then slowly increase your time or distance. Just don’t force yourself in doing something you don’t like.

2. Wear a pedometer. Research has shown that wearing a pedometer encourages people to walk about an extra mile each day, lose weight, and lower their blood pressure. Aim for 10 minutes and amp it up to 30 minutes of brisk walking and a total of 10,000 steps per day. Start slowly.

3. Workout with a friend. Working out alone can be difficult, so find a partner in health.  This person will help to motivate you to stay active, boost your confidence, challenge your weaknesses, and make fitness fun. You can do the same for them.  Your workout partner can be your spouse or your child.

4. Sleep 8 hours a night. Studies have confirmed that you really do need at least 8 hours a night.  Here are a few benefits: Adequate sleep makes you feel better, decreases risk for cardiovascular disease, boosts memory, and maintain your level of energy throughout the day.

5. Focus on eating, Not dieting. If you are hungry, you are more likely to overeat. Instead, of sacrificing all day and gorging later, it’s better to eat enough during the day to avoid uncontrolled eating at night. Eat every four hours or so, and make sure to eat a small  “second lunch.” Think of it as another small meal rather than a snack. The mid-afternoon meal keeps your energy up and makes you less hungry in the evening.

5. Eat colorful vegetables. Bright-colored and dark green leafy vegetables are loaded with vitamins and antioxidants. These veggies are also high in fiber (makes them very filling) and low in calories. When you fill up your stomach with veggies, they will be less likely to feel the urge to binge on other high-fat or processed foods.

6. Snack on fruits (fresh or dried). When you feel like snacking, grab fruit instead of chips or cookies. Like vegetables, fruits are high in antioxidants and fiber, and low in calories.  Be creative, add yogurt or hummus as a dip.  When you do this, you get in calcium and a little protein.  You can also add dried to you meal plan, and mix them into cereal or trail-mix.

7. Drink water. Try to reach for water first if you are thirsty. Water has no fat, no calories, no carbs, no sugar.

Here’s to a happy, healthy year!!!

 

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