Keeping your New Year’s resolution to get fit |

Keeping your New Year’s resolution to get fit

Carla Ferrer
For the Chicago Tribune

Replacing the tattered 2011 calendar with a pristine 2012 version will inspire many of us to take stock of our lives and try to figure out how to be a better, richer, kinder, fitter person in the new year.

But it won’t happen without a firm plan. The more specific the objective, the greater the likelihood of success, advises Lisa Zaslow, founder of Gotham Organizers, a New York firm specializing in organizational and productivity challenges for individuals and businesses. 

“Most New Year’s resolutions are way too vague,” Zaslow said. “They start goals that are way too big – be better organized, lose weight – how do you know if you’ve achieved that?” 

When it comes to weight loss, there are no shortcuts.

Instead, a Chicago-area weight-loss expert says it’s the tried-and-true combination of diet, exercise and behavior changes that offers lasting results. 

“Unfortunately there’s always something new because all of the fad diets get a lot of attention and hype … then something (new) becomes the latest and greatest,” said Dr. Jessica Bartfield, an internal medicine and medical weight loss specialist at Gottlieb Memorial Hospital. 

“There’s a large target audience that will buy into this hope of a quick fix or an easy solution that doesn’t require a lot of effort or changes on the individual’s part.” 

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that two of every three American adults are overweight, defined as having a body mass index of 25 or higher. BMI is determined by a formula of body weight relative to height. 

“It always, always, always comes down to a good foundation of behaviors,” Bartfield said. “The key to that concept is that it’s a skill. It’s like learning how to do anything new: riding a bike, learning a new instrument or a sport or a new language.”

While New Year’s Day caps a busy holiday season, it’s actually an ideal day to start a program.

“People tend to have a fresh start and are very motivated,” Bartfield said. “You don’t make any behavior changes unless you are motivated.  

Each year millions of us resolve to lose weight and exercise, but by the third week of January the treadmill in the spare bedroom has become a coat rack and we’re consoling ourselves with Häagen-Dazs.

According to a recent survey, here are the most common resolutions:

42 percent Lose weight

12 percent Exercise more

12 percent Improve career

11 percent Be a better person

8 percent Save more money


– Coach Carla Ferrer is a heath and fitness expert at 

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