More than a year ago, Jan Phillis made a commitment to herself to get healthy.
"I was an obese child, an obese teenager, an obese mother. everything."
Now Jan is 78 pounds lighter. She's in shape and has lower cholesterol and lower blood pressure. How did she stick to it?
"Very, very slow changes."
She started walking a little bit everyday. It made her feel better. Then she joined a gym and hit the machines.
"As I would start to see results I would get excited about trying something else."
That included small changes in her eating habits. Jan didn't rule out any foods. Instead she measured portion sizes to make sure she didn't over eat. Nutrition expert Dr. Donald Hensrud says this type of food action plan can work long term.
"I think it comes down to practical factors. Which one are people most likely to stay on? In general, people should choose something that is not restrictive enough that its short-term, something they can stay on long term."
Drastic changes can be hard to sustain. Dr. Hensrud recommends gradually working fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains and lean sources of protein into your diet.
Jan says keeping a log of her diet and exercise helps her stay focused on daily triumphs not just on the scale, and that keeps her going.
"Just remember that it's not temporary. It's your life. you can either feel like you did before you made the change. And you probably don't want to feel that way again. Or you can take it one day at a time."
Jan says another thing that helped her stay focused was to
read everything she could about nutrition and exercise. And when she
was tempted to slip back into old habits, Jan remembered the commitment
she made to herself to be healthy.
For more tips on how to stick to your New Year's resolutions or on
how to get started on improving your health now, visit the Mayo Clinic at www.mayoclinic.org/medical-edge.
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