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Start small to make big fitness changes

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Updated: March 12, 2013 1:39PM



Q . I need to lose weight, but it never happens. I want to exercise, but I can’t seem to stay motivated. How can I get on track?

A. Start simple, and don’t be discouraged if the weight doesn’t fall off. You’re building for a lifetime of health. Your first step? Walk 30 extra minutes a day. With that 30-minute walk — or three 10-minute walks — you are doing a lot to get your health on track. After 30 days of taking 30-minute walks, you should reward yourself by buying and using a pedometer.

Then, pick a realistic, long-term goal: Ask yourself, “What can I reasonably accomplish in six to 12 months?” As you set your goal, remember: If you lose weight slowly — 1 pound a week — you increase your chances of keeping it off. And people who start a moderate activity program feel better and can slowly build up intensity and endurance. (Aim for 10,000 steps a day.)

Pick a mentor or buddy: Whether it’s a friend, nutritionist, coach or gym instructor, arrange to work toward your goal with someone who can support you. All of us need help to stay the healthy course; otherwise life’s demands, big and small, intervene.

It takes two to three weeks for a new behavior to become a habit. Apply your willpower for 14-21 days and you’ll see the rewards in a renovated life and a younger you!

Q. My daughter is running for junior-class president, and she’s obsessed with building up Facebook friends and Twitter followers for her campaign. I understand this is part of modern campaign strategy — even presidential candidates use it — but I feel like it’s hurting her. Am I just out of touch?

A. Social media is here to stay, and there are many wonderful things about making new connections or reconnecting with friends from the past. The power of people’s opinions, individually and as a community, is wondrous to behold.

But a new study may confirm your suspicions that too much Facebook can be hard on image-sensitive kids, especially girls. Adolescents are worried about what others say about them and about keeping different groups of people (parents, friends, other kids and other adults) happy at the same time. So, if your daughter is trying to win a popularity contest — and that would be junior-class president — it’s possible she’s trying to be all things to all people.

You might want to point out that despite the name “social media,” there’s very little that’s social about digital connections. But campaigning door-to-door (or lunch-table-to-lunch-table) works. Help your daughter use social media for the tool it is: to organize a debate and present her platform for the junior class.

King Features Syndicate



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