A Healthy New Year

All Woman

Dear Donovan,

I want to begin a fitness journey this year just to maintain a healthier lifestyle. Yes, I want to lose weight, but overall, I just want to be healthy. Can you suggest small steps I can take in tailoring my diet and lifestyle to achieve this?

I am very happy that you have decided to embark on your fitness journey for the coming year. Eating well and doing your exercises will definitely help with your health and looks. I am quite aware that at the start of a new year many people are making their new year's resolutions. Unfortunately many of these resolutions never go beyond the month of January.

I want you to achieve all your fitness goals for this year. Firstly, it is very important to get your mind ready. I would suggest that you make a list of all the reasons why you need to achieve your fitness goals. Certainly with the high prevalence of lifestyle diseases such as hypertension, diabetes and strokes, embarking on a fitness journey makes sense.

It might also be important to get your support team to help you along your journey. In some cases you may even need a fitness coach to monitor and adjust your fitness programme. In many cases people will fail if there is no one to report to. This also will keep you focused and motivated. In addition, starting a fitness programme with a few other people might also be helpful. You will just have to see how you work best — alone or in a group. This also applies to your exercise programme.

I am wondering what you are eating now and if you are exercising at all. However, at the start of your fitness journey I usually suggest that you make small, healthy changes in your diet and exercise programme and continue to make more changes over time. Adjust your programme based on where you are now. For example, in the first two weeks you could focus on putting more fruits and vegetables in your diet. This you could do by having more fruits for breakfast, as well as snacking on fruits between meals on some days. Adding more raw vegetables to your major meals and eating more salads could also be a good way of introducing more vegetables. Using vegetable juices, especially carrot and green juices, can also be a good healthy snack that will increase your vegetable intake greatly. At the same time, the aim is to substitute some of the bad carbohydrates with fruits and vegetables. Over time you could also make other changes – for example, if you are drinking a lot of sodas you could replace these with plain water and coconut water.

You should also try to increase your activity levels. If you are not exercising now, you could start by doing half an hour of cardio exercise, say three times per week. Making changes with your foods and exercising regularly will definitely help you to cut calories and to lose the weight you want. Also, I would suggest that at the start of your programme you do a four to seven-day detox programme. This will definitely help your tummy to go down if it protrudes.

In general, as far as your diet goes, it is better to have smaller, more frequent meals instead of fewer larger meals. Eating on time and not too late is also important.

Good luck!

We will answer your weight-related questions

Are you struggling to lose weight, or jus t need some advice on living a healthier life? Tell us about your health issues and we'll have nutritionist and wellness coach Donovan Grant answer them for you. Grant has over 12 years' experience in the fitness industry and is the owner of DG's Nutrition and Wellness Centre, 39 Lady Musgrave Road. Call him at 876-286-1363. E-mail questions to clarkep@jamaicaobserver.com.




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