Living better often tops list of resolutions

By REBECCA WEBSTER

Recorder News Staff

Exercise more.

Eat healthier.

Get fit.

With New Year's Day just days away, many across the region -- and country -- are beginning to make their New Year's resolutions.

And just like every year, many of them focus on health.

According to USA.gov, an interagency initiative administered by the Federal Citizen Information Center, five of the top New Year's resolutions deal with creating a healthier lifestyle.

Sarah Eipp, a clinical nutrition manager for St. Mary's Healthcare and a registered dietitian, said that many tend to feel the need to make those goals due to overindulging during the holiday season.

"I think people tend to make those types of resolutions because it's a new year, a new start," she said. "They're looking for ways to break those eating habits."

Eipp said that if residents decide that they are going to jump in to changing their lifestyles, they should consult professionals and be smart and safe about how they go about it.

Over at the Diabetes and Nutrition Education Center at the Memorial Campus, Eipp said the dietitians and staff offer nutrition counseling for those with diabetes and medical therapy counseling, but they also offer nutrition counseling for just anyone looking to make a change.

Insurance coverage of those services varies, Eipp admitted, but the center professionals are ready to help.

"We can provide meal plans. We can give shopping suggestions, ways to overall improve your intake, increase the nutritional value, cut back on the fat and calories," she said.

Though she has only been in the position for a few months now, she said she feels that the number of individuals coming in is likely to spike at the beginning of the year, as long as those coming have referrals from physicians.

Alpin Haus Fitness Center Manager Mike Altieri said Friday that the gym has already begun to see an influx in people who were receiving gym memberships for the holidays and looking to start working toward their New Year's resolutions a bit early.

Altieri, who has been a trainer at the gym for three years and started as manager at the beginning of 2012, said January and February are their busiest months of the year.

"It's the most exciting time of the year for us, for the trainers and the staff," Altieri said.

In order to accommodate the influx, Altieri said they focus on orientation at the gym for new members, teaching them how to use the machines, stretch, and take care of themselves.

"From that, we've found that we have people in the gym who actually understand what they're doing," he said. "When you have people at the gym who understand what they're doing, you can have 1,000 people there at once. As long as the flow is good and people understand what's going on at the gym than it's really not a lot."

When newer folks come in with no direction, it can create "clutter" in the gym, he added.

Altieri is confident, however, that come Jan. 1, with all five trainers out on the floor, the flow at the gym will be uninterrupted.

And recent changes to the gym have helped to make the gym-goers more conformable being there.

But what both professionals explained is that long-term goals are key to keeping these health-related resolutions and short-term goals lead to often short-lived lifestyle changes.

And with any new resolution to be healthy, it's good for residents to be smart about just what type of resolution they choose.

"Anything that promises any sudden dramatic weight-loss, it probably is not going to produce the kind of results you're looking for and have the potential to be more dangerous than traditional," Eipp said. "Pick things you enjoy doing so it doesn't seem like such a chore."

Gradual weight-loss is key, she added, but always consult a physician first because depending on what a person's health status is, their regimen may be drastically different than another person.

Even those not looking to lose weight can make the resolution to feel healthy and the nutrition center services will apply to them as well, Eipp said.

"We wouldn't want them to lose weight, but we would want to change the composition of their diet," she said. "I think we could be very helpful in that regard."

Eipp said it deals with gradual consumption and moderation.

"Try to be realistic with the things that you're willing to change and the things that you're not going to change," Eipp said.

Altieri said that at Alpin Haus Fitness Center, their personal training opportunities and fitness classes have helped individuals keep their resolutions, and more importantly create lifestyle changes.

It's about teaching people to get away from the fad diets and exercise programs that promise results in 10 days, Altieri said.

"My advice would be to just make this a lifestyle, not to look for fast results because that never really sticks," he said. "It's about giving yourself on a specific program and sticking to it. If it's nutrition, it's got to be a nutrition plan, not a crash diet. If it's a weight-training program, it has to have a foundation."

It's all about learning what helps to make the body feel at it's best, Altieri said.

"Make this a lifestyle and not a 30-day get-fit-fast."

For information on the Diabetes and Nutritional Education Center, readers can visit www.smha.org.

For more information on Alpin Haus Fitness Center programs, readers can visit www.alpinhaus.com/fitness.