Ask The Coach

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My new year’s resolution is to lose weight and embrace a more active lifestyle. How do you recommend I get started?

Many people fail at new year’s resolutions because goals must be:

SPECIFIC: What changes are you willing to make to lose weight and get more active? Evaluate your diet, and be honest with yourself. Think it through. Clean out the pantry and fridge. Practice meal prep and portion control. Cut out high calorie beverages and snacks that lack nutrition. One soda a day results in a 16-pound weight gain a year. Check your phone, what’s your average steps per day? Start moving more and increase your average! Find some activities you enjoy, try a workout partner or class, also sit less.

MEASURABLE: Have a concrete number that you want to lose within a certain time. I want to lose 10-pounds in 12 weeks to start. Weigh yourself at least once a week and record it. Create a calorie deficit of 500 calories a day. Track your food and activity. There are lots of tracking devices available. Know the numbers.

ATTAINABLE: Don’t set a goal that is not possible to reach. A healthy rate of weight loss is one pound every seven to ten days. Be realistic. Start modifying your diet at a rate you know you can sustain. If you haven’t been exercising you may not be able to start where you left off or stick to a serious regiment for long. Ease back in to exercise and give your body time to adapt. Don’t fall off the wagon if you make a mistake. Get right back to it.

RELEVANT: The changes you make should be directly related to the goal of losing weight and becoming more active. Define what that means to you.

TIMELY: There needs to be a due date on the objective. Increasing physical activity by a certain amount by a certain date is how you set a SMART health goal.
Plan for setbacks and what you will say to yourself when you want to quit. Plan for Mardi Gras, which derails many resolutions in our area. Setting goals is crucial to success. Why? Because they hold you accountable, keep you motivated and give you a way to measure success. There are some specific guidelines when setting goals to adhere to in order to make them attainable. By following the SMART guidelines, you’ll create goals for yourself that will increase the likelihood of you hitting them, which is the ultimate goal.
My parents are aging and not able to get around as much anymore. What are some simple exercises they can do to keep from becoming sedentary?

Gardening, dancing and washing cars are all physical activities. If they don’t do much of that anymore, here are some ideas. If your parents are in a Medicare advantage plan, they can get a free membership at area health clubs that have senior programming. Some offer transportation. The hospital-based programs at their wellness centers offer the most programming for a wide spectrum of conditions and disabilities, taught by a trained staff. Some community centers also offer senior exercise classes free too. This offers a social element. Physicians can also recommend some home health care sessions with a PT designed to preserve or improve daily activities. Medicare and some insurance plans cover this. It’s important to do some type of cardio, like a stationary bike or just walking, if they are still able to ambulate for their cardiovascular fitness. Preserving leg strength is essential, have them squat to a chair with good posture. The elderly often have trouble getting out of deep, soft furniture. Rubber tubing is perfect for an upper body routine, seated in a chair or standing. Some light dumbbells in weights of three, five or seven pounds could also be used. Resistance training is important for strength and bone density. Flexibility and balance also need to be included. There are lots of resources available online.

Resources:
https://www.move.va.gov/docs/NewHandouts/PhysicalActivity/P32_SampleStrengthActivityPlanForBeginners.pdf
https://www.verywellfit.com/chair-yoga-poses-3567189

Carla Gray, BSES, HFS, CPT is a persoal trainer and can be reached at
info@fitnessconnection.net or (504) 885-7855.

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