New Year is a good time for new habits
For most trying to kick start a healthier routine for the new year, something has to "click" deep inside to pull off significant changes.
"For some people it starts with getting a little pissed off," said Trevor Carne, 34, a personal trainer and kinesiologist. "Something has to click and once it does, it's easier."
Carne has a BA in kinesiology and has spent 12 years as a personal fitness trainer.
His experience shows that holidays tend to be the hardest for anyone trying to stick with healthy eating and exercise patterns.
"With party after party, it's almost impossible. You're just holding on for dear life."
But with the new year having arrived this week, the month of January is a good time to "attack" it, he tells The Progress.
"It starts with passion. You have to have your mind set on some changes, and you have to work toward building momentum."
He recommends starting with that first healthy decision. It can snowball from there, if you keep at it.
"If you can get a few days of it going, the snowball effect gets bigger and eventually nothing can derail the momentum. You can take on anything."
He strives to make perfectly healthy decisions, eating well and working out, all week long.
"On the weekend, if I want to enjoy a snack, it doesn't make or break me."
He advocates working on making nighttime habits healthier, and then to tackle the weekends.
Improvements can be gradual and progressive.
"One of the things that works is that I never let myself become hungry."
Stress makes people hungry, and what causes people to fail is not having the right foods handy.
That's when a pre-packed food kit, comes in exceedingly handy. He's always got it with him, especially when he's on the go.
It's Carne's carefully planned armour against the feeling of starvation, when blood sugar levels drop and people make the poor choice to head for the fast-food drive-through.
So what's in his food kit? An array of fruit, almonds, protein shakes, trail mix, water and other healthy snacks. He includes a week's worth of fruit and always keeps the kit in his car at all times.
"If you have healthy snacks at the ready and are eating properly, you are not in a famished state of mind. When you can think rationally, you tend to make better choices.
"When you're forced to go hours without food, you're screwed. Deprivation makes the body hold onto fat. That's why diets don't work. I don't even like the word diet."
Part of the answer for long-term results is eating smaller meals, and healthier snacks.
"By eating a third carbohydrates, protein and fat, your body stabilizes its blood sugar so you're not full and constantly burning fat."
Making the switch from three big meals a day, to five or six smaller meals, is crucial.
"That's the cornerstone."
It means eating every three hours.
"Sometimes it takes someone to tell you for the millionth time: Pack a lunch. Don't skip breakfast. Buy more fruit and vegetables."
So it's really about the right foods, at the right times, in the right portions.
"I recommend reading a book by Marc McDonald called Body Confidence, he addresses everything, allows you to keep the foods in your diet that you love and lets you go off plan.
"It's really the only plan you will need for life, no matter what your goals are. Plus it's very reasonable."
In terms of exercise, it's important to get some form of exercise everyday.
A trainer or group fitness challenge can keep people on track, and put them in a position to win.
"Once you hit that tipping point, something changes. It ignites a passion."
Walking is a great overall form of exercise, but it won't tone the body the way weight training or other activities might.
"Ultimately it has to be something you enjoy. If you don't enjoy it, you won't do it."
Group sports. Crossfit. Badminton. Swimming. Take your pick.
"Of course going to a gym is helpful. I recommend strength training and boot camp to produce the most dramatic changes to the body."
Keep in mind changing it up and keeping it interesting is important.
"It's all about finding the activity that's right for you. There are lots of ways to do it, with no right or wrong way."
Check out Carne's site at functionalkinetics.com, for a variety of fitness ideas.