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How to stick with New Year’s goals

The Union Staff
ALL | GrassValleyArchive

Twelve pounds.

It’s said the average person gains that much weight – picture a bowling ball – between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.

If you’re like most people, putting on the pounds was fun and easy.



Now comes the hard part: bidding that bowling ball goodbye.

Armed with New Year’s resolutions and good intentions, people flock this time of year to fitness clubs, personal trainers and weight loss groups such as Weight Watchers.




Many ultimately fail or give up.

But local experts have advice for getting fitness and weight loss resolutions to stick: pick some sort of exercise you enjoy, get the support of others, pick reasonable goals and have a realistic plan to meet them.

“You have to try to do something that is fun for you,” said Gayle Lossman, a 59-year-old personal trainer. “If you find that one … workout that works with you, you should stick with it.”

Lossman has seen diet and exercise work miracles for her middle-aged and older clients, including reversing weight-related diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure.

Teaming up with others helps.

“I think group commitment probably works better than personal commitment,” Lossman said. “If you do something with somebody else, you’ll stick with it longer.”

That sentiment was echoed by Jackie Kneeland, the leader of Weight Watchers classes which meet Wednesday night in the Brunswick Basin.

“It is better in a group than to do it on your own,” Kneeland said. Someone who wants to lose weight typically will be enthusiastic at first, “then you lose that enthusiasm. The group keeps it going.”

Mike Carville, co-owner of the South Yuba Club in Nevada City, said “most people decide they want to get in shape, but they don’t have clearly designed goals.”

“One of the most important things to do is defining a good game plan,” said Carville. People can do so by studying exercise magazines and books or by working with a good health club.

“The people with game plans and realistic goals are the one still exercising three months later,” he said.

Weight Watchers meetings are packed with new people after the first of the year, Kneeland said. And Carville expects to gain 30 to 40 percent of his new members in the next three months.

Getting ready for that extra workload helped keep Carville from gaining the typical 12 pounds during the holidays.

“I’m so stressed out getting ready for the New Year that I actually lost weight,” Carville said.

While keeping the body in good shape, it’s important to ensure the mind is sound, as well.

Dale Robbins, pastor of the Christian Life Center in Grass Valley, said the New Year is a good time for more than just physical self-evaluation.

During the past several weeks, Robbins said, self-reflection has become a popular discussion topic among his flock. The discussion transcends faith, however.

“It’s a time for people to put their concerns and worries behind them,” he said. “We try to inspire that every Sunday, but people often use the holiday time for a lot of that reflection.”

When 2002 approached, Robbins said he used that time to extoll the healing needed after the Sept. 11 attacks of the previous year. This year’s tone should be much more upbeat.

“I’m using the theme of optimism this year,” he said. “If you had a good experience last year, then you should think it’s going to be better. If not, then think of it as turning over a new leaf.”

– Reporter David Mirhadi contributed to this report.


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