Secrets to Leave the Couch Potato Body Behind

f years of not exercising are stacking up, this year is the time to break the cycle. There is no reason that you have to be miserable about your body.
03/05/2012 02:46 pm ET Updated May 05, 2012

Have you realized that over the years, your body has changed? Is your couch a second station for your behind, next to your office chair? Do you believe that you need to do something to get rid of the spuds that have jumped onto your thighs?

It is up to you to realize your potential, see the possibility and create success. As Henry Ford once said, "Whether you believe you can or cannot, you are right."

If years of not exercising are stacking up, this year is the time to break the cycle. There is no reason that you have to be miserable about your body. Exercise can be fun and it will change your mood, your sleep habits and how your clothes fit, too! The biggest mistake people make when starting an exercise program is they begin with too much too soon. Getting motivated to get off that sofa is easy!

Food Tips

The most important meal of the day is breakfast. If you aren't a regular breakfast eater, eating breakfast will help you lose weight and fuel your body. If you are already a breakfast eater, make sure that it is a well-balanced meal with both carbohydrates and protein. An omelette made with egg whites or egg substitute, a piece of fruit and a cup of coffee, tea or juice is a great combination. Another option is instant oatmeal, but make sure the brand you choose has at least nine grams of protein or you will have to eat two packages to get enough fuel. It is good to eat "dinner" for breakfast!

Exercise Tips

This is the key to a continued exercise program: Find an activity that you like to do that keeps you moving with labored breath for at least 10 minutes every day. Walking, climbing stairs and jogging are just a few ideas, but don't forget vacuuming, washing floors and shoveling snow. There are those first few options sounding like more fun already! You can increase your cardio to 30 minutes by adding five minutes every two weeks. It is also important to start a strength-training program as well. Check out the fitness at the video store or hire a personal trainer to get a short 15-20 minute workout that best suits your body.

Stress Reduction

Here's a simple way to relax your body and reduce stress. Start seated in a chair with arms relaxed at your side. Sit tall and slowly roll your shoulders backwards with each breath. Roll the shoulders back five times, and then forward five times.

Andrea Metcalf is a healthy lifestyle expert, best selling author of Naked Fitness and host/producer of "Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is," weight loss tv reality show on NBC Nonstop in Chicago. She blogs to inspire and education people to live healthier lives by being healthy and moved daily. Sign up for her FREE monthly newsletter for more healthy lifestyle videos and tips.

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