Fit and fab

Staff Writer
Columbus Parent

Yes, it is that time of year. Everyone is making resolutions to lose weight and get in shape. Why do so many people fail? The real answer is lack of consistent change. Humans are programmed to do the same things over and over again. Face it we all have a comfort level with food, exercise, work and play.

To achieve a new body you need a new routine. Here are 7 steps to a healthier, fitter you in 2009:

  1. Set S.M.A.R.T. (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely) goals. Write them down and then work in small chunks to make them happen.
  2. Do not fall prey to scale obsession. Choose to weigh yourself once per week in the morning prior to eating and be sure to use the same scale every week. Weight may vary naturally 1-2 pounds each day based on hydration alone.
  3. Eat breakfast every day. Sounds simple enough, but many skip this meal and handicap their metabolism from the word go.
  4. Pack a healthy lunch for work. This allows you to sufficiently manage portion size and dictate quality of food without succumbing to the temptation of eating out or grazing on office munchies.
  5. Strive to eat 5 smaller meals per day. Eating every 2-3 hours keeps blood sugar levels steady and reduces cravings and binge eating.
  6. Prepare a list prior to grocery shopping and avoid the store when you are hungry. This greatly reduces the urge to buy unhealthy items.
  7. Drink plenty of water (at least 6-8 eight ounce glasses) per day. This will accelerate weight loss as well as help your complexion.

Foster a fitter family

Most people are aware that childhood obesity is sharply on the rise. For the first time in history, children born today are unlikely to outlive their own parents in many cases. Parents must take initiative to solve this problem.

Aside from lack of exercise and poor nutrition, technology and lack of attention are often to blame. The pace of society lends itself very easily to fast food and convenience.

To combat this, carve out specific time for physical activities that can be done individually or as a family. While some count the Wii Fit as exercise, you can obviously do much better than that. If your children are not active in sports, they will need more targeted exercise to be fit and healthy.

Here are some great wintertime activities to pump up the fitness level of your children:

  • Swimming at the local recreation center or YMCA
  • Ice skating
  • Skiing
  • Walking
  • Indoor recreational soccer/basketball/hockey
  • Private youth specific fitness programs
  • Playing at kids' spaces in the mall or other local recreation facilities

Keep in mind that children will model their parents' behavior. Set a good example when it comes to eating and exercise early on as this encourages a healthy pattern for them. As mentioned before, human beings tend to thrive with structure and a consistent routine. Kids are really no different. Seek activities they enjoy and then work to support or participate in them to keep your family fit.