Starting a new year doesn’t have to be about making a list of resolutions, it can be about taking small steps to have a healthier, happier you.
From taking precautions during the flu season or trying alternative medical practices to making a commitment to walking a few extra steps or trying the low-fat options on the grocery shelf. Each small commitment adds up, say local health and fitness experts.
Shelley Toby, chief nursing officer for Texas Presbyterian Hospital Flower Mound, said a healthier 2015 can be as simple as keeping routine bedtimes during the week and weekends, getting 7-8 hours of sleep, maintaining a healthy diet, taking vitamins and washing hands.
It’s that simple, she says. Thirty minutes of exercise a day can be a step in the right direction, even if it is just walking. “It makes a world of difference,” she says. And that 30 minutes of daily exercise can also help with sleep.
Heather Rudy, a manager at UFC Gym in Flower Mound, says it’s not uncommon for people to feel a little afraid to step into a fitness gym for the first time. In fact, one client trained at home with the help of a personal trainer before overcoming his fears of stepping into the gym.
Once at the gym, trainers work with each individual to assess where they are at and what their goals are to find a modified program tailored for them. At UFC Gym, they work on creating a unique program from throwing a 75-lb. training dummy over a shoulder to kickboxing to flipping tractor tires on turf.
The idea, she says, is to mix it up and try unique forms of fitness training. Classes allow groups at varying fitness levels to cheer each other on and work toward their individual goals while collectively training as a team. Coaches work with the group as a whole as well as the individuals.
“Everyone works together,” she says.
The team approach works for Amazing Weight Loss and Wellness in Flower Mound, where a number of those who have lost weight become each other’s support system.
The program helps each individual set goals and offers support through making lifestyle changes such as knowing what foods to look for on grocery shelves, explains owner Wendee Long. The program has proven successful for several area individuals including Buffy Saltzman, Robert Russell, Dale Johnson and Reina Garcia.
Buffy Saltzman say a flyer during a doctor’s visit and decided to give losing weight another try. After losing 60 lbs., she has learned the importance of drinking plenty of water, how to count calories and to recognize the need to cheat every once in a while.
But the most important lesson is to have the right mind set, she says. “It has to be something you want to do.”
Robert Russell, who had tried other weight loss programs, said he didn’t expect this one to work either. But in the first week, he lost 7 lbs. and it got his attention.
He’s since learned to schedule early morning workouts, watch what he eats, eat nothing after 7 p.m. and to stay away from fast food.
Dale Johnson learned about the program from a good friend who agreed to try it with her. Having a buddy helped, she said. “It was something that was definitely doable,” she said of the program. She has lost 65 lbs. in 22 months.
“When people ask me what is the premise, I tell them reduce calories, lose weight and then they will feel better,” she said. “It’s not about falling off the wagon; it’s about getting back on.”
Having lost 95 lbs. since August 2013, Reina Garcia says the experience has resulted in a lifestyle change.
“This place has been like a safe haven for me,” she said, adding the staff, Long and fellow attendees have been very supportive.
Her advice to others is to “believe in yourself. Don’t give up on yourself.”
Alternative medicines can offer potential relief to patients suffering ailments. Dr. Lili She from Beyond Acupuncture in Flower Mound has been practicing Chinese medicine for 18 years and has treated area patients for pain management, fertility, boosting immune systems and more.
The idea is to help patients release blockages in their systems to allow better circulation. Her suggestion for 2015 is for people to eat food of different colors and varieties and to eat in moderation.
Chani Overstreet, owner of Strada Fitness, says the key is committing to the process.
“It’s fantastic to have a goal,” she says. “But it’s important to be committed to the process.”
Part of the problem is that people set goals that they cannot reach or that set them up for failure.
“There’s a middle ground,” she says. “It’s that mind set of being kind to yourself.”
Whatever the goal for 2015, people should break it up into daily, weekly and monthly steps.
“Take it in steps and from those steps, then you can reach your goal,” she says. “If you take a step back, it’s OK. … It’s about staying the course.”
CUTLINE: From left, Dale Johnson, Buffy Saltzman, Robert Russell and Reina Garcia all decided to set goals for losing weight by using Amazing Weight Loss and Wellness to learn lifestyle changes and to be part of a support team. (Photo by Dawn Cobb)