76755839Did you leave your New Year’s resolution to lose weight back in the first week of January? It’s not too late.

According to Marketdata Enterprises, Americans spend a little over $60 billion dollars a year annually trying to lose that unwanted weight. However, this doesn’t mean you have to break the bank this year trying to reach your goals of exercise and weight loss.

Here are some simple tips to lose weight and stay active.

  1. What is you goal? Why are you exercising? Why do you want to lose weight? The answers to these questions are vital for staying on track and motivating you when the going gets tough. Create a S.M.A.R.T (Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-bound) goal to help set a direction and keep your-self motivated.
  2. Move it! Check out your local fitness facilities. Many run monthly deals and provide free personal training sessions and classes to get you set up with a routine and familiarized with the gym. Shop around.
  3. Check with your local recreation department. Recreation departments sometimes have free or reduced rate exercises classes for community members. Also, some athletic stores have free running/walking groups.
  4. Grab a friend. Many report having someone to exercise with holds them accountable and motivates them to reach their goals. This also benefits your emotional well-being.
  5. Take Fido for walk. According to research, dog walkers are 34 percent more likely to reach their exercise goals. If you don’t have a dog, check the local shelters as they are always looking for volunteer dog walkers.
  6. Five servings of fruits and veggies a day, aim for more veggies than fruits. Frozen fruits and veggies can sometimes contain the same amount of nutrients as fresh, and you’ll save some money.
  7. Clear out your fridge and cupboard of the foods that might sabotage your weight loss goals.
  8. Avoid hunger. Eat regular meals (3) and snacks (2). Make sure you have some protein foods such as yogurt, tuna, beans or chicken for most meals. Research suggests that protein helps you feel full longer.
  9. Slow and steady. Take your time with your food. Savor each bite; force yourself to eat slowly.
  10. Drink 8 ounces of water before your meal. This may help you eat less and it also helps you stay hydrated throughout the day.

The gym membership – for a lot of people a gym can be an escape. The gym provides a sanctuary for those looking to get a sweat on, and just move! On the flip side, the gym can be a very intimidating place with iron slamming on the racks and dumbbells hitting the ground. If you want to get into a gym, look around at the different facilities and see what they provide for new members. Some provide free introduction training or classes. This will help you get a plan together for what you’re going to do when you get into the gym.

Corey Cenate is an Wellness Health Coach with Employee Wellness at The University of Vermont Medical Center. 

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