It’s common to resolve to swear off sweets and sign up for a gym membership for the new year.
But Kelly Proctor, a health advocate and nutritionist, advises starting out slowly rather than trying to stop bad habits cold turkey.
“It’s not going to happen overnight, you’re not going to throw everything out of the cupboard and go organic,” she said.
One strategy to improve your diet is to slowly replace soda with water. For example, if you drink four sodas a day, try replacing just one of them with water, she said.
Another is to hit the gym on a lunch break rather than waiting until the end of the day when other priorities are likely to distract you.
“Try to realistic goals and stick with them, and even if you quit – keep trying,” she said.
Proctor works for the local nonprofit Piñon Project, a which addresses national health problems locally.
More than 78 million adults in the U.S. were obese in 2011 and 2012, which accounts for about a third of the population, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
Teens and children also struggle with weight – about 12.5 million are obese, according to the CDC.
This leads to more children getting adult diseases such as Type 2 diabetes and shortening their life-expectancy.
The stresses of modern life are part of the problem.
“With the economy, parents have to work, and it’s easier to get fast food than it is to go home and cook a meal,” Proctor said.
Proctor recommends cutting back on fast food and making healthier choices.
For example, order apple slices instead of fries or a grilled-chicken sandwich instead of a burger.
She said there is also a misperception that eating healthy is expensive, a myth that she combats in community classes.
She also incorporates hands-on activities to teach people about food content, like placing the scoops of lard on a bun to show the fat content in a burger.
The next round of free classes will start Jan. 8 from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. at 300 N. Elm St. Class size is limited, so sign up soon with Kelly Proctor at 970-564-1195, ext. 126, by Jan. 3, 2014.