New Year's resolutions are the kiss of death. We all know this.
So instead of drafting some sweeping resolution we know darn well we'll never keep, how about thinking small for 2012. How about trying one thing — maybe two — that just might nudge you a tiny bit closer to "fit" and "healthy."
And don't take it from us — we asked local folks who each, in their own way, have already resolved to live healthy, fit lives, to share one fitness secret and healthful eating tip. These things work for them. Maybe one or two will work for you.
Josh Kirk, owner of INLINE training
Fitness: This is the best move for releasing holiday neck and upper back tension while getting in a little arm toning. Grab anything that you can hold in the palm of your hand that weighs a few pounds: a medium dumbbell, a heavy can of soup or even a rock. Sit at the edge of a dining chair completely upright, like you could balance a book on your head. Place the weight in your right hand and place the other hand on your hip. Lean your head slowly to the left side while allowing the weight to drag your right shoulder away from your ear. You should feel an awesome stretch going down the side of your neck and into your upper back. Slowly curl your hand with the weight up while continuing to pull your shoulder and elbow down. Now you will feel a nice isolated bicep, working to help you stretch even more and get some toning in. Repeat on the other side.
Eating: When treating yourself, truly the enemy is sugar and your desire to be satiated. To that end, the unsaturated fat and alkaloids from low-sugar dark chocolate can go a long way. When I absolutely need a fix, you will find me with a tablespoon of natural peanut or almond butter and a 1- to 2-ounce piece of dark chocolate. I can eat this classic combination without sending myself deeper into a craving cycle.
I wash it down with a half-cup of low fat milk (or unsweetened almond milk) and then walk away.
Molly Shattuck, former Ravens cheerleader and creator of The Vibrant Living Workout.
Fitness: Schedule your workouts. Just like meetings and other personal commitments, make time to exercise by putting the activity on your calendar. Also, remember Saturday and Sunday. They're still days of the week, so live by the same rules for exercise and eating that you do on weekdays.
Eating: Eat fruit on an empty stomach first thing in the morning. I recommend strawberries, blueberries, grapefruit, orange, and cantaloupe because they are loaded with vitamin C, fiber, calcium, and folic acid.
Lawrence J. Cheskin, Johns Hopkins Weight Management Center
Fitness: Put exercise-related gear and your running shoes by the door the night before so in the morning, you'll trip over them to remind yourself to go to the gym or take a long walk.
Eating: Try dipping the tines of your fork into the salad dressing, which you should have on the side, and then touching the fork to your tongue before spearing the salad greens. You'll get the taste of dressing but use a lot less than pouring it on the salad.
Hilary Phelps, creator of the lifestyle website hilaryphelps.com (and famous sister)
Fitness: It's a great time of year to try something new. With offers from Groupon and Living Social, one can often find discount offers to try out a new gym or class. If it's something you've always wanted to try, now is the time.
Eating: Drink plenty of water. Often we confuse the feeling of dehydration for hunger, so it's important to stay hydrated.
Tony Foreman, restaurateur and known "fitness nut"
Fitness: Don't skip — a bad workout is better than no workout. Start early in the day to get your metabolism going.
Eating: Keep portions small and don't allow more than four hours between meals.
Personal trainer Michelle Stafford
Fitness: Each time you get up [during the workday], do a gentle all-over stretch (reach for the ceiling, touch your toes, etc). This will help improve circulation, reduce stress and relieve body aches.
Eating: My favorite on-the-go snack: apples and raw almonds, for fiber and protein. They withstand a good beating (they don't get bruised in my purse) and hold me over until I get a good meal.
Jim Adams, owner of Falls Road Running Store
Fitness: As I age in life (I'm 56), I find it very helpful to run with younger, faster people who have their own goals that may be a bit beyond my reach now. There is a spirit of friendly competition in that environment that keeps me feeling younger and more motivated. The excitement around training for goal-oriented performance is contagious, and helps me to set higher goals and strive to reach a little further than I may otherwise attempt on my own.
Eating: I love to eat red grapes as a snack, or even sometimes as a light meal when I am not very hungry. Even though at the store I have access to PowerBars, Honey Stingers, GU and Cliff Bars, I would take a bunch of red grapes over any of the alternatives anytime.
Rebecca Dineen, Baltimore City Assistant Commissioner for Maternal and Child Health and a triathlete
Fitness: Sign up for several races at the start of the year and mix it up — road races, triathlons and cycling races to keep it interesting.
Eating: Eat beans, veggies and whole grains as much as possible; I find stews go a long way and are perfect for a winter day.
Maryland Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown
Fitness: No matter how busy my schedule gets, I stay motivated to exercise and keep fit by the thought of living a long, healthy life with my family.
Eating: I make sure to eat a fresh banana, strawberry and blueberry smoothie with a bowl of oatmeal every day.