As the new year dawns, you may be considering a weight loss goal for the coming year, or a New Year’s Resolution to be more active or eat more heathily. While your plans may be successful in the short-term, the only way to lose weight and keep it off, is to develop the habit of a healthy lifestyle. Whether your body is revolting after years of abuse, or you are simply realizing that you can’t eat those cheeseburgers the way you used to, adopting a healthy lifestyle can make you feel better about yourself and your body. If you have a family, you will be much more successful in changing your lifestyle if you make it a family affair. Whether your partner needs to lose a few pounds, or the kids aren’t as active as they should be, everyone can benefit.

Before making major changes to your diet, or implementing an exercise regime, you should see your doctor for a physical. Your doctor will be able to assess your current level of health, and identify any concerns he may have with your plans. Make sure you talk specifically with him about the changes you intend to make. Listen carefully to any suggestions he may have as well.

After you have recieved your doctor’s approval, it is time to consider your diet. Remember that any changes that you make to your diet should be changes that you can continue indefinitely. A diet high in fruits and vegetables, high in fibre (whole grains), and lean meat, fish or poultry.

While your diet is a big part of a healthy lifestyle, activity and exercise are as well. Starting out with something as simple as a daily walk is a great idea. Take a walk with your spouse and kids after dinner, or, if you need greater motivation, think about getting a dog. A dog may give you that extra motivation you need to get out on those cold nights.

After you have established a walking routine, you may want to consider adding jogging, or a trip to the gym. If you can afford a personal trainer, it is definitely worth it, as the trainer can help to motivate you, as well as ensure you work your entire body evenly. Even if a trainer is out of reach, many gyms have a no-cost service of setting you up with a basic workout program. There are also some basic workout ideas available on this site.

Even though you’ve added other exercise, it is a good idea to continue your daily walks. It is great quality time with your spouse and family, and the dog will be happy, too.

After a couple of months, consider returning to your doctor and having another physical. You may be surprised in the difference in your state of health after adopting this healthy lifestyle!