The holiday season is upon us with its many traditions, often including lots of food and quite a bit of stress.  As we look forward to a new year, many of us will make resolutions to get and stay healthier in 2017.

The first promises often include changes in diet and upping our exercise.  Diet programs and gyms will soon be offering incentives for their programs.  However, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), between 15 and 50 percent of those who start new programs will give them up during the third week of January through the end of February.

It’s not that these people are simply “weak-willed.”  According to NIH, the fact is that we often have unrealistic goals and expectations.  Those who share their goals with others, and make plans that include accountability, are far more likely to succeed than those whose intents remain private.

There are no foods or pills that magically burn fat, and no product will miraculously make you slim and fit while you watch TV or sleep.  Some supplements and OTC diet products can actually be harmful to your health.

Steer clear of any plans, pills or products that make the following claims:

– Rapid weight loss.

– Specific food combinations for health.

– Rigid menus.

– Unlimited quantities or severe restrictions in certain foods.

– No need to exercise.

If 2017 is the year you really want to set a routine that will improve your health and fitness, then some of the keys to succeeding include, but are not limited to:

– Setting realistic goals with a competent professional.

– Meeting regularly in groups or 1:1 with someone who you will be accountable to.

– Learning to make better choices from a reliable, evidence based program.

A Sodexo program approved by the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics, among other national organizations, is called Core 4 Adult Weight Management. This program encompasses nutrition education, physical activity, and the role of behavioral therapy in weight management.

Nutrition education focuses on the macro and micro nutrients, calorie composition, food portions, fad diets, food preparation, dining out, food labels and shopping tips.  The physical activity module addresses the benefits of exercise, fitness components and the basics of planning a personal exercise program. Behavior modification consists of weekly assignments and discussion under the guidance of professionals. A workbook is included which addresses how to listen to your body and overcome overeating, and obsessions with food.

There are individual meetings with a dietitian that focus on your personal needs, developing a treatment plan and individual goal setting.  Classes meet for an hour once each week for 12 weeks.  The program then goes to monthly meetings for a minimum of another 12 weeks, but may be extended as the needs of the group dictate.

HealthLink, and Registered Dietitians of Littauer’s Nutritional Services trained in Sodexo’s CORE 4, will be offering this program on Wednesdays beginning January 18, 2017.

For more information or to attend this program, call HealthLink Littauer at 736-1120.  You can e-mail us at healthlink@nlh.org, see our website at nlh.org, or visit our NEW wellness center at 2 Colonial Court in downtown Johnstown, Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.  We’re your community health & wellness service of Nathan Littauer Hospital and Nursing Home.

Carol Tomlinson R.N. B.S., is the Community Health Educator for HealthLink Littauer.

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