Health kick: Get fit in 2006

Getting fit takes planning: Plan when you'll exercise each day and stick to it.
It's that time of year. We make the New Year's resolution to get back in shape. Well, let's define the phrase "back in shape." Back in shape implies that one was once "in" shape. It also says nothing about one's stamina or fitness level. Just the outward appearance, the "shape" of your body.

Let's face it. We're all part narcissist and want to look our best, turn a few heads, and in general, walk with a little swagger that says, yes, I am in fact, all that.

Turns out, this looking-like-the-goddess-I-know-I-am stuff is darned hard work. Without lifelong changes, particularly in attitude and routine, I'm destined to be a domestic goddess at best.

So, it pays to take things step by step. With that in mind, I bring you tip one for keeping with your New Year's resolution to get fit. Carve out time and get into a routine.

Prioritize fitness

We make the time for things that are important to us. Every single day, we prioritize.

We also make excuses. I don't have time to exercise because I have two kids under the age of 5. I can't go to the gym because I work 50 hours a week. My parents' health is failing and I have to take care of things for them.

OK. Fair enough. But, let's take a good look at this. You have some very important people counting on you. Kids, parents, boss and spouse. You cannot take care of any of them if you are sick, tired, or even gulp -- dead in ten years.

When a plane is about to take off and they issue all the safety information about where your floatation device is located, where the exits are, and how to use the evacuation slide, they also tell you to secure your own oxygen mask before you help anyone else.

Consider fitness your personal oxygen mask. To be of help to anyone you love, you must be healthy, strong, and alive! It isn't selfish for you to steal an hour out of your day to take care of yourself.

It's because you love your kids, parents and spouse that you promise to be around when they need you most. It's a promise you can't keep unless you make your health a priority.

Finding time

How to find that precious hour? Get a pen and paper and think about how you spent every hour of your day yesterday. Write down your activities. Review the list.

Where can you steal an hour three times per week to get back into shape? Could you walk during your lunch hour and eat at your desk later? How much television do you watch in the evenings? Try skipping Desperate Housewives (or better yet, TIVO it), and go to bed an hour earlier or work out that night.

In general, getting up to work out an hour before everyone else starts making demands on you will boost your energy levels and metabolism for the day.

What's really important? Fitness isn't magic. It's planned into your day. If you think you'll get to it later, most likely something else will fill up that time and you'll lose your motivation. Plan on being fit. You're worth it.

The people you love are worth it too.

Contact Michelle Theall at

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