Start year by making commitment to yourself

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You have officially flipped over that calendar page and it is the beginning of a new year — and another resolution to get into shape. Where do you start?

You start by making a commitment to yourself. New Year’s Eve parties will come and go. The Super Bowl will come and gone. Valentine’s Day will come and go. Someone will have a birthday. There is always “something” that could potentially pull you off course.

It is OK to have a day — just don’t have a combination of “days” that add up to yet another year. Make a commitment to you — and make it today.

There are a number great fitness facilities in and around the area. Tour all of them, learn what they have to offer and pick the one that best fits your needs and lace up your sneakers.

It will also be helpful to start tracking your caloric intake. The majority of my clients are very surprised when we track our calories and add them up after each day.

Write down everything that goes in your mouth for three days straight — including anything you drink. You, along with your fitness trainer and/ or health care provider can then analyze that data and make some suggestions that will help you on your way toward a healthier life.

It is really fairly simple — it all just requires a commitment from you.

As you begin, don’t let your scale dictate your mood. We all know that muscle tissue weighs more than fat tissue. You may be decreasing your percentage of body fat and increasing your muscle mass (strength) and not lose a pound! This can be very frustrating for someone who begins an exercise program to lose weight, and then feels like all that effort is wasted when it doesn’t happen.

However, you are making substantial changes in your body that may not be reflected on the scale. Your clothes may be noticeably looser in your waist area as you firm muscles, thus losing inches, not pounds. While you are increasing your strength, you are also lowering cholesterol levels and blood pressure while strengthening your heart muscle. Another major benefit of weight-bearing exercise for women is increased bone mass, which decreases your chances of developing osteoporosis.

Exercise gives the body an opportunity to use up some of the stress hormones that may build up when you are tense, angry, or anxious. This helps us relax more. Better yet, for people who are exercising for weight control, it also increases the basal metabolic rate, so you burn more calories when at rest than you did before

So, instead of going straight home after work to sit in front of the television — why not work out? At least one study showed people fell asleep two to three times faster when they worked out later in the evening than when they exercised at other times.

Natalie Dreger is a certified fitness professional, Team Isagenix athlete and can be reached at nataliedreger.com.

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