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Focus on fitness to stay healthy

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By Kelly Cantrall

For those determined to make healthy changes in 2013, Lisa Murphy has one piece of advice: don’t make too many.

At least, not at the same time. Murphy, a registered dietitian and wellness coordinator at Hardin Memorial Hospital, urges not to completely overhaul exercise and eating habits, because “it’s just too much all at once.”

Murphy suggests fitness-seekers should assess their behaviors, choose what they want to change, and focus on one behavior every week or two weeks.

Breakfast is a good place to start, she said. Many people skip breakfast, but it’s needed for one’s metabolism and to avoid over-eating later. Something as simple as peanut butter on toast with a banana can be a good early meal.

Looking at what’s eaten the rest of the day, such as fast-food lunches, is another change that can be made.

Food isn’t the only issue; drinks can be a big source of unnecessary calories. Murphy said fluids should only constitute about 200 calories of a person’s daily intake, but many people take in 400 to 1,000 through drinks alone. Sticking with water over soda or juice is a good way to combat caloric overload.

Portion size, even of healthy foods, is another important area to watch, she said.

Staying active is necessary for health, but even active people need to avoid sitting for long stretches of time, she said. She suggests walking across the room to talk to a coworker instead of using email or standing while on the phone.

And to ensure focus on weekly healthy goals, working with a partner or a group provides accountability and motivation.