GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

December 28, 2012

On the Mend: Avoiding those dieting pitfalls in the new year

On the Mend
Joe DiVincenzo

---- — Brace yourselves – those New Year’s resolutions are coming.

From watching less TV to staying in touch with friends and family, in less than a week more promises to thyself will be made than at all other points in the year combined.

Perennially the No. 1 one resolution, losing weight is a big to-do come January first. A new year with a clean slate is the perfect opportunity to actualize your health and fitness goals— even if the timing is a bit cliché.

Wanting and wishing for it is much easier than doing it though, and if you’re serious about being successful, you’re going to need to know where every roadblock lies.

So read on to see how you can keep your exercise routine fresh and how to avoid dangerous dieting pitfalls on your way to your new body in 2013.

Just get there. It’s more than half the battle. Want to cut your chances of “new-body attrition” in half? Make sure you don’t miss any of your scheduled workouts. Pick a regular time and regular, realistic intervals to exercise. Make it a habit ­— for better or worse, habits are easy to maintain.

Keep a complete gym bag in your car. Clothes ­— complete with underwear and socks, shoes, headphones, a towel and toiletries are among all the amenities you’ll need to ensure that you can workout whenever you want without going home to change. Because let’s face it – a pit stop at home usually means you’re in for the night.

Too hungry after work? Have a small, fruit-based snack and two large glasses of water. It will fill your stomach and help you temporarily shake the hunger so you can squeeze in a workout. Besides — vigorous exercising helps to curb your appetite and may prevent overeating — especially at night when ‘grazing’ is most consequential.

Still hurting from your previous workout? Tough. You still have to get to the gym for some stretching and light exercise. It will help shuttle lactic acid out of your muscles and get you feeling better. Don’t overdo it in the beginning. It’s critical to have a measure of success when you start to keep you motivated and on track.

The morning is the best time to exercise – and the least busy. After a couple of weeks, getting up an hour or so earlier won’t be nearly as difficult as it was. For various physiological reasons, the body tolerates exercise better and burns more calories throughout the day if you exercise in the morning as opposed to exercising at night. So set the stage for your metabolism by giving it a kick-start when you wake up.

Too busy? Too bad. Not having time is not an excuse to skip exercising. Think of all the things you do during the day that are not work-related.

There should be several hours each day where you have the option to unwind as you see fit. Even if you have to piece together workouts (half in the morning, half at night, during lunch), try to make sure one hour of every day is dedicated to your body.

Gloucester resident Joe DiVincenzo is a physical therapist and clinical specialist in manual therapy. He writes “On the Mend” weekly. Questions may be submitted by email to joedivincenzo@comcast.net