Trim the Fat: Stick with the goal or move on?

Maria Hoover, SBJ Features EditorYear-end update: –6.8 pounds

A year ago, I started this blog series with the idea of focusing my entries on health and wellness news while updating readers about my personal goal to lose weight. It’s been an interesting year, with this blog covering everything from news from the American Heart Association to the advent of Kentucky Fried Chicken’s not-altogether-healthy-but-less-fatty grilled fare.

As we prepare to welcome a new year, I find myself thinking about resolutions and what I’d like to change in the next 12 months and beyond. As you may note from the number posted above, I obviously did not hit the pound-shedding goal I set for myself.

Now, I must decide whether to stick with the effort or abandon it in favor of improving something else.

A recent doctor’s visit has tipped the scales – pun intended – toward a continued effort to live a more healthy life.

Just a couple of weeks after my 35th birthday in November, I headed to the doctor’s office for a checkup. What I found was that my blood pressure was out of control and my kidneys weren’t functioning at 100 percent, likely as a result. The doctor added a second medication to get my blood pressure under control, but he also made it clear that I can no longer say that someday I’ll get around to taking off the weight. Someday is here, and it’s time to pay the piper for too much sedentary living and poor eating habits. If I’m being completely honest here – and I am – the nearly seven pounds I’ve taken off have been since that visit with my doctor, with Christmas gatherings in the mix, to boot.

The doctor suggested an over-the-counter aid, Alli, combined with low-fat eating, and I’ve been off all caffeine for three weeks. That’s more aimed at lowering the blood pressure, but given the fact that I was consuming up to a gallon of diet soda a day – and there are some disturbing studies about artificial sweetener and pancreatic cancer – I felt a clean break was best. I’m trying to figure out the best way to exercise more, too.

Has your “someday” arrived? Do you want to pursue better health in 2010? I know I’m not alone; the folks at the University of Missouri Extension office say it’s pretty common for New Year’s resolutions to focus on eating healthy, exercising or losing weight. Some helpful suggestions:

• Set a specific goal, such as “I will get 30 minutes of exercise a day,” instead of “I will get in shape.”
• Don’t make many changes at once; try instituting one or two at a time, and remember, it takes 21 days to change a habit.

• For positive reinforcement, share your goals with the people who care about you, and reward yourself.

Want to get started? The Willard Parks and Recreation Department and CoxHealth Fitness Centers are teaming up for a six-week “Biggest Loser” competition that will begin Jan. 9 and run through Feb. 13. The entry fee is $20, $15 of which goes into the winners’ pool. Participants will weigh in on Saturdays at The Willard Fitness Center, 133 N. State Highway Z. Two prizes will be awarded in each of four divisions. Rules and info is available here. Registration ends Jan. 8.

Here’s wishing everyone a prosperous – and healthy – 2010.

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