Many people are thinking about some changes they might like to make in the upcoming New Year. Some of those resolutions include reaching a better health condition by exercising and losing excess weight, or quitting tobacco products for example.

According to research by the University of Pennsylvania, just a week after making resolutions 23 percent of individuals already gave up and 60 percent gave up after six months. Whatever change people might like to make, it always requires a lot of commitment, patience and strength.

Some people say that it takes 30 days to make a habit or break a habit, but research shows that in most cases individuals need more time than that. When setting goals, people should be realistic because it is always much better to overachieve a goal than not achieving it at all, which can be discouraging. Research also shows that changes made by taking smaller steps can end up permanent because they actually become part of a new lifestyle.

Losing weight can be one of the most difficult things for many people. It also requires a long period of time that can be months, or even a year or more. It can be easier to keep on track by setting short-term (weekly) goals that are realistic, such as eating more fruits and non-starchy vegetables daily, rather than making a promise to lose three pounds in a week.

In addition, people who reward themselves are more successful and stay on track. Rewards should not be something that could make a person fall back into the bad habits, such as a box of chocolate, but something that the person would enjoy such as a manicure, a pedicure or buying a new outfit for example.

Some people might accomplish their goal more easily if they join local programs such as the “Health for Life” weight loss and wellness program in Ashtabula. The program includes free passes to local fitness centers, biweekly educational meetings and weight measurements, motivational workouts and prizes for weight loss and participation for as little as a $20 participation fee.

Registration and weigh-ins are underway at Premiere Fitness, 2231 Lake Ave, Ashtabula or at ACMC Outpatient Rehabilitation Services, 2515 Lake Ave., Ashtabula. The biweekly meetings begin noon Jan. 9 and again at 6 p.m. next door to Premier Fitness.

For more information about this program, call Premiere Fitness at (440) 998-3488.


maria walker is the health educator for the Ashtabula County Health Department.

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