Getting healthy in the new year


It seems as though just about everyone wants to drop a few pounds, gain a little muscle or fit into their skinny jeans.

Whether your goal is to amp up your energy or improve your diet, the advice abounds.

“My No. 1 thing is really just to set attainable goals,” said Chase Graves, a personal trainer in Bellville. “Instead of trying to lose 50 pounds in a month, set small goals that are going to get you through the first month. As far as diet goes, a lot of people want to go 100 percent healthy and they think they have to go super strict throughout the entire year. That alone is not going to go very far.”

Richard Nira, a Huntsville resident, lost 40 pounds on Weight Watchers, which allows users to eat just about anything as long as they tally their “points” each day.

“It has helped me practice healthy eating habits, and once you reach your goal weight, the program is free,” Nira said. “The combination of the meetings and wanting the program to stay free keeps me in line.”

Brittany Hall, a Sealy teacher, advises to make “small and obtainable goals.”

Brad Linder, a Coppell fitness instructor, says the solution is simple: accountability, a reason why (being healthy for your kids, not having to pay for medication) and a simple nutrition and fitness plan that will work long-term.

Aurilia McDonald sells AdvoCare products and subscribes to a multi-pronged program that includes management of food, exercise, sleep, stress and quality supplementation.

While “diet pills” are largely frowned upon in the fitness community, some vitamins and energy drinks can prove useful when powering through a workout or getting through a morning at the office after a night awake with a crying baby.

And as for that night out at the restaurant, know when to call for the to-go box, Graves said.

“If you want to go have tacos, just don’t eat all of them,” he said. “When you get full, put the rest in a to-go box and drink a whole glass of water. It didn’t take you 30 days to gain 30 pounds so it won’t take you 30 days to lose 30 pounds. It’s about the process. One bad meal isn’t going to make you fat; one good meal isn’t going to make you skinny.”

Graves, who is in the midst of a two-month challenge involving teenage participants to senior citizens, emphasizes the importance of setting small goals.

“There’s all these lies about shedding weight rapidly,” he said. “My main quote for everything – even in my personal life – is that Rome wasn’t built in a day but they were laying bricks every hour.”

Heather Neighbors, a mother of four who lives in Rockwall, works out daily and maintains a keto diet.

“Have a plan and a goal,” she said. “Be proactive, and put first things first, which are your health and your fitness, besides family and God of course. Everyone’s body is different so listen to your body. Find accountability. Celebrate your wins and move to a bigger and better goal.”

Graves added that he doesn’t train all the members of his gym to become Tough Mudder athletes.

“I want them to be able to do yardwork and not be sore,” he said. “I’m a big fan of safe workouts. You’re stronger for everyday life.”

His last two points of advice should be common sense but sometimes people need a reminder: Drink water – Graves recommends an intake of half your body weight – and move your body.


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