Sunday, February 6, 2011

Spring Into Shape

Spring is a time for the outdoors, walks in the park, picnics with family and friends and fun on the beach. It is time to smell the fresh air, feel the tingling as raindrops caress your face and watch the tulips grow. 

Nothing says outdoors more than springtime. Spring brings us an abundance of fresh fruits and flowers; freedom and frolic. Oh, yes, there is so much to enjoy when springtime rolls around. Will you be ready to take it all in?

Being physically fit is an important prerequisite for the ultimate springtime experience. Start the journey today. Here are a few tips to help you get in shape:
  1. Lose the weight. If you are overweight, lose the weight. Make the process as seamless as possible by making small but smart changes in your diet. A good resource to use is with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010.
  2. Avoid junk food. Most likely, you know which foods are bad for you – those packed with sugar, unhealthy fats and salt. Make the commitment to limit those foods. 
  3. Control food portions. If you need to lose weight, portion control is crucial. Take time to learn what an appropriate portion is and try to stay within those limits. If you eat two or more portions, just be aware that you are increasing the amount of calories with each extra bite you take. The food guide pyramid is a good reference tool to help you learn more about portion sizes.
  4. Shop wisely. Obviously, what you buy is what you will eat. So, read food labels and buy only those foods that will take you closer to your weight and health goals. Avoid packaged foods as much as possible, as these foods are likely to have added sugar and/or be high in fat and salt (sodium). 
  5. Pack your own. Packing your own meals and snacks will allow you to eat balanced meals and snacks without too many calories. If you must eat out, plan ahead and try to avoid fried foods or anything that would undermine your efforts.
  6. Take a walk. Walking is the easiest ways to burn extra calories, improve your circulation and strengthen your bones and muscles. If you have been doing nothing but sitting on the couch during your free time, make the switch to an active lifestyle.
  7. Mix it up. Do both cardio/aerobics and strength training exercises. It may take a while for you to get your comfort level up, but be persistent. Come spring, you will be glad that you did.
  8. Hydrate. Hydration is one of nature’s best-kept secrets. Your cells need the right amount of fluids and the proper mineral balance to function properly. If you become dehydrated, you cells could actually shrivel up and cause serious health problems. So, keep lots of water handy and drink up to stay properly hydrated.
  9. Weigh yourself regularly. You can choose to weigh in each morning, once a week or once a month. What is important is that you are consistent. Checking your weight frequently will help you to keep tabs on your progress and to tweak your diet or exercise program if you are not making they kind of progress you expect.
  10. Talk to a Registered Dietitian (RD). You can find lots of helpful information on the internet. But if you are having difficulty making sense of all the information or just want personalized guidance, contact a registered dietitian. Registered dietitians are highly trained and experienced experts in diet and nutrition. You can find a registered dietitian by searching online at You can also use a search engine to find dietitian websites, forums and answers to frequently asked questions.

Have you seen a registered dietitian yet? Registered dietitians are the healthcare professionals most trained and qualified to help you understand and interpret nutrition concepts, and to show you how you can make them work for you. Go to to find a registered dietitian today.