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February Fitness Tips

Michelle Walker, the Recreational Specialist at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C., poses for her photo in the base gym on November 2, 2011.  Michelle was hired to work at the base gym to train, educate and encourage McEntire’s airmen to remain “fit to fight” and excel in the new Air Force fitness standards. 
(SCANG photo by TSgt Caycee Cook)

Michelle Walker, the Recreational Specialist at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C., poses for her photo in the base gym on November 2, 2011. Michelle was hired to work at the base gym to train, educate and encourage McEntire’s airmen to remain “fit to fight” and excel in the new Air Force fitness standards. (SCANG photo by TSgt Caycee Cook)

MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, S.C. --

Tips for a Healthy 2019

The holiday season is over, so it's time to start thinking about eating healthier again. Research shows that on average, people put on just a pound or two over the holidays, but any weight you gain can take months to shed. 

That means you'll probably want to return to eating a healthier diet as soon as you can. But it's not always easy.

Some people set unrealistic goals and attempt to make desperate changes. That all-or-nothing behavior becomes overwhelming, leaves you feeling deprived, and sets you up for failure.

That’s exactly why taking a more realistic approach and trying minor tweaks to make the changes doable, not daunting, will help you see improvements in your health.

You have so many nutritional choices to make every day, so even if you make a change only some of the time, the benefits add up.

By replacing just 25 percent of discretionary foods (such as desserts, snacks, and sugary beverages) with healthy foods results in a huge improvement in overall diet quality—reduces the intake of sugars by almost 21 percent and calories by almost four percent, and increases protein intake by about two percent.

That means that something as simple as trading a few cookies for a piece of fruit can make a big difference in helping you follow a healthier plan.

Here are seven strategies you can use to build your own personalized health plan.

Eat Healthy Foods You Like
Don’t try to force-feed yourself something healthy that you hate (such as kale) in place of something unhealthy you love (cake).

Seek out yummy healthy foods—such as strawberries—and you might find that after enjoying a bowl of fresh berries you no longer want that chocolate cake.

Cook More
People who eat home-cooked meals five or more times per week were 28 percent less likely to be overweight and 24 percent less likely to have excess body fat than those who ate at home fewer than three times per week.

Eat Your Veggies First
If you’re not eating enough vegetables (and most of us aren’t), it could be because you put them in a contest they can’t win.

But when you get the vegetables alone, you eat more of them.

Make a salad and sit down to eat it before you put any other food on the table. You’ll not only eat more vegetables, you’ll also fill up a bit so that you eat less later in the meal.

Go Meatless One Day per Week

Have a Better Breakfast

Research shows that having a big breakfast that contains protein (yogurt or eggs, for example) helps to prevent weight gain, promotes weight loss, and reduces the number of calories you consume in the evening. 

Make a Small Snack More Satisfying
You don’t need to give up your favorite sweets completely, but you can eat less and enjoy a snack just as much. The secret is being mindful. Give your treat your full concentration and focus on the flavor and texture. That will help you feel satisfied with a smaller portion.

Replace a Sugary Drink with Water
We all know that soda isn’t the healthiest beverage choice. But a recent study suggests that exchanging one serving per day for a glass of water could help reduce overall calorie intake and the subsequent risk of obesity, lowering your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by 14 to 25 percent.

Take a look at your fruit juice intake, too. Even 100 percent fruit juices can contribute a lot of calories and sugars to your diet. For a healthier diet, limit yourself to one 2-3 ounce glass per day.

Fitness Tips:

Cardio Interval Challenge
3 minutes at a slow walk speed
1 minute at a sprint speed
1 minute at the slow walk speed
And continue alternating every other minute at the sprint speed
Continue with this workout for a total of 15 minutes!

The Climb
At your slow walk pace, start playing around with walking uphill. The increase in level can really work your quads, glutes and hamstrings and serve as a strength training exercise as well as cardio. Simply press the up button on the treadmill and notice how the elevation number increases. Go up to a number that feels like a tough climb that you can maintain for 1 minute. Press down through your heels so that you work the back of your legs as well as the front of your legs. You’ll keep your speed number the same as you work harder to walk because you’re walking uphill.

This workout will be the following:
3 minutes at the Slow Walk speed
1 minute at this climb level
1 minute at the Slow Walk speed
And continue alternating every other minute at the climb level
Continue with this workout for a total of 15 minutes!

The Recovery
Every strong body needs a day to rest! On this day, do some stretching, foam rolling, yoga, or something else that feels relaxing to your body.