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Getting to Start Over'Again

Getting to Start Over'Again


The New Year brings new hope and possibilities. And if you are like many of us who use this time to self-assess and reflect, it allows us a starting point to do better for ourselves'for example, some changes in diet and exercise to improve your health, how you feel, or your looks. Many of us start our resolutions with energy and determination. That exercise program can go pretty steadily for a week or even a few weeks. The plans for changing our food intake to support health and feeling better can go for a few days or even longer. If something happens to take us off our rigid path to health, we feel like failures and sometimes throw the whole resolution out as impossible. If this sounds familiar, there are three concepts you may want to explore. (1) Make changes that are small and progress to bigger changes. (2) Make resolutions that fit into your real life. (3) Reevaluate your idea of what successful change is. No doubt you have heard that exercise is important to your health. If you don't exercise routinely, it can be difficult to get into the habit. To make changes that fit into your life, take a look at what you do now and see where you can work in more activity. For instance, if you get into your car to go a couple of blocks away to the store to buy a handful of food items, think about walking there instead. If you live or work above the first floor and it is reasonable to walk, take the stairs instead of the elevator. When you are ready to move your routine up a notch, think about getting a bicycle stand to put your bike in front of the television. When you turn on the TV and start looking for a sitcom to veg out with after your stressful day, sit on the bike instead of the couch and start pedaling. One half-hour sitcom is all it takes to get your bike time in! And when spring weather allows, you may feel more like taking the bike on outdoor jaunts. Exercising routinely is best. But even if you are able to fit in only a little more activity than usual, it is a change in the right direction. So rather than think of anything less than 100% as failure, consider even a 10% improvement a landmark and a success. As for diet, there are a some changes that are easy to institute. First, consider healthy dietary habits and choose one or two that you want to try out. Here is a list of examples to choose from: ' Eat some food at least three to four times a day. If you normally eat one or two meals each day, add a snack somewhere in between. ' Pay attention to portion size. Remember that you are not a camel and 'super-sizing' for that dry spell that never comes is not always a good thing to do. While many restaurants and moms may tend to overfeed you, it is your choice to push away when you finish eating what your body really needs. ' Keep the carbohydrate content of your meals fairly even. Eat about three or four servings of carbs per meal or snack. Carbohydrates are concentrated mostly in starches, fruits, and dairy foods. Distribute these throughout the day and remember to pay attention to portion size. ' Eat a variety of foods each day. A variety of foods is a way to better ensure that you get all the nutrients your body needs to maintain itself. ' Keep sweets and fats to a reasonable level. You don't always need dessert! Identify sources of fat and sugar and keep those in the 'occasional' or ' treat' categories and in balance with the rest of your diet. As you find yourself making successful strides, try making small changes that fit well into your usual lifestyle. Then progress to another change or expand on the change you have been working on. Remember that you can make changes any time during the year. Small changes may seem inconsequential, but they do add up to better health. Any positive change you make counts. Fields-Gardner is the director of services for The Cutting Edge, an HIV nutrition company in the Chicago area. She has written a book on HIV medications and a guide to nutritional management of HIV.

30 Years of Out100Out / Advocate Magazine - Jonathan Groff and Wayne Brady

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