It has begun…..TV commercials and billboards are filled with fitness and diet ads. NutriSystem, Weight Watchers, Planet Fitness, East Shore Athletic Clubs, Beachbody, The Barr Method, Blue Barn Juice, the list goes on and on! New year…new you! Start the new year off with healthy life choices that will bring about positive changes! Sounds easy, right? Well, for some it may not come so easy. Here are some simple and easy changes that can help get you started on your way!

Take the stairs! Whether at home, work, parking garage or office building, opt for the stairs instead of the elevator. Have a few extra minutes? Take the stairs and then repeat again.

Water! There are health benefits to drinking more water. It helps keep your temperature normal, lubricates and cushions joints, protects your spinal cord and other sensitive  tissues, and gets rid of wastes. Add an extra glass or two a day.

Walk! Walk during your lunch hour or to a store that is a block away to buy a gallon of milk — it’s all good for you. Plan a walk across the Ravenal Bridge! A great way to increase your heart rate and work those lower body muscles!

Weigh yourself! Look for the scale buried in the back of the cabinet, dust it off and use it! To keep your weight from creeping up on you, set a weekly maintenance or loss goal for yourself, write it down, and check yourself against that goal. Weigh yourself each week on the same day and at the same time.

Eat Breakfast! Eat something high in fiber that includes protein to keep you full and energized. If you start the day out right, you tend to eat better overall.

Add leafy green vegetables to your diet! Incorporate these into your meals to add nutrients and water to your diet. The fiber in lettuce helps to fill you up, and it does so at just 20 calories per serving. Lettuces that are dark green and reddish in color are the most nutritious and the most flavorful. Love Kale!!

Substitute bad foods with healthy ones! Work to eliminate foods and snacks that you buy regularly that are high in calories but low on their health benefit. Eat them less often, as an occasional treat. Try using low-fat dairy, whole-grains, healthy oils (avocado,coconut and olive oil) and natural sweeteners (fruit) instead of high-fat or sugary alternatives.Remember that building new healthy habits can take some time. Stay focused on your goal, and if you slip along the way, just start again!