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Stay on the fitness track

Here’s how you can keep your New Year’s weight loss resolution from fizzling out fast.

health and fitness Updated: Jan 14, 2010 20:10 IST

We aren’t strangers to fitness resolutions for the New Year. But we just never seem to be able to achieve those fitness goals. Within a few weeks of making these resolutions, many of these goals begin to fade, and after a few months, most are replaced by a return to old habits. Some tips to keep you on track:

Have a support system
The more people you have rooting for you, the better. Having a workout partner with goals and objectives similar to yours is a great way to stay motivated and achieve success with fitness goals. Training with the right person leaves less opportunity for boredom, creates an environment of friendly competition and provides accountability to keep you both in check.

Leave options open
To avoid getting burned out, don’t box yourself into doing the same workout over and over again. A good fitness plan includes a variety of exercises that can be performed whether at home, in the gym or when travelling.
Some portable and versatile strength training equipment like resistance bands, dumbbells, stability devices, wrist or ankle weights and jump rope will work well.

Hold yourself accountable
One good way to do this is to keep a journal so that you can take an honest look at your choices. For example, what excuses do you typically give yourself when you don’t feel like working out or counting calories? Whatever your excuses are, write them down. Coming to terms with what may have stopped you from reaching your goals in the past is key, so that you don’t slip back into self-defeating patterns of behaviour.

Another way to help ensure weight loss success is to write down what you are eating. In a study of more than 1,500 people conducted by the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research, it was revealed that participants keeping a food diary more than five days of the week lost almost twice as much weight as those who didn’t.

Exercise as stress buster
Stress is a major trigger for overeating, fatigue and subsequent avoidance of exercise. Study after study demonstrates that being active keeps stress at bay because it changes body chemistry for the better, relieving depression and anxiety, and reducing irritability.
As little as 20 to 30 minutes a day is enough to begin improving mood, health and level of fitness.

Get active
For those who hate formal exercise, ‘activity’ does not mean that you have to go to the gym or jog for miles in order to get into great shape. Any movement matters as it all burns calories, so simply start doing more at each opportunity. Be patient. Generally speaking, allow yourself about three weeks for exercise to become a habit.

The length of time it takes to reach goals varies tremendously from person to person. On average, it takes about 12 weeks of diligence to diet and exercise to see significant changes, such as having to buy smaller clothes.