According to the website Statistica, only about 23% of Americans make New Year’s resolutions. And of those who do make resolutions, 80% admit to abandoning their resolutions by February. That’s not a great track record. But there is merit in resolving to make positive changes in one’s life. And January is a perfect time to address those issues. After the excesses of the holiday season, we get a fresh start, a re-do on a new year. We want 2023 to be your best year yet. If there are changes you would like to incorporate into your life this year, the stories in this special section offer tips to help you stay on track.
Shape up, SWLA!
by Jody Marceaux
Ahh, the lifelong New Year’s Resolution – get in shape! Do you find yourself making a resolution each year and never following through with your goal? Maybe you start out fired up and go all in for the first month or two but lose track of your routine or just lose your passion for it? Do you want to try something different from traditional workouts? SWLA has you covered with several unique gym options. Here’s some local hot spots for self-improvement that will keep you feeling motivated to achieve your goals!
Looking for something that’s not your typical club? Want a different atmosphere? At Orangetheory Fitness, you’ll get an individual experience catered to you using small group coaching, a little science, and various “heart rate zones” to boost metabolism and caloric burn. Or sweat it out and melt away the pounds at HOTWORX. Schedule sessions that fuse together heat, infrared energy, and exercise, like yoga, pilates, or high intensity training.
Like to push yourself to extremes? Try the grueling, pumped-up workout challenges at one of the several CrossFIT gym locations. At CrossFIT, the challenge comes with a variety of movements fused with high intensity interval training. As one of the biggest fitness chains in the world, they combine elements from weightlifting to gymnastics to produce a fast-paced competitive fitness sport.
If you’re looking for a big initial push, try a 30-day challenge at South Lake Charles Fit Body Boot Camp. They offer a wide schedule of 30 minute boot camp style, fat-burning workouts, lively coaches, and kickin’ music to keep you moving. They’ll get you in a good routine to lose the inches and think positive with fun small group workouts that are fast-paced and challenging. If you’re really up for a different concept, try Sulphur Boxing Club or Mayweather boxing to get an intense, 45- or 60-minute small group champion experience.
Want a more personal experience? Try Premier Personal Training for one-on-one creative workouts with world-class coaches. Trainers develop a unique plan based on each fitness need, down to cardiovascular, muscle conditioning, and even nutrition. Options available even include theragun massage and red-light therapy.
Need a family friendly experience? Club4 Fitness offers kid care, where they enjoy physical activities, arts and crafts, and computer games. Workout stress free in their state of the art gym, cycling center, or take a break at the coffee club.
Dynamic Dimensions Fitness has two locations in the area offering convenient childcare options. Join a group fitness workout, slam a cardio session in the gym, then grab a smoothie from DD Cafe.
For those of you who don’t work typical hours, Planet Fitness offers late hours till 11:00 p.m. and Anytime Fitness or Snap Fitness are 24 hour options! At all of these facilities, you’ll find a wide availability of high quality, state-of-the-art equipment set up for quick in-and-out routine keepers.
Not really a fan of the gym atmosphere? Get off the beaten path and get fit with nature. A new fitness station at Prien Lake Park is a nice addition to the peaceful walking path overlooking the beautiful lake. With canoe/kayak launches, you can enjoy a swift boating workout in the sunshine.
Westlake’s newest addition to Pinderosa Park offers a shaded walking trail, baseball and softball parks, and a lighted outdoor basketball court. Try the renovated Sam Houston Jones State Park for awesome biking trails too!
As you can see, no matter what your favorite atmosphere for self-improvement motivation, SWLA has just the spot for you. So let’s get going on those New Year’s resolutions to a better YOU and enjoy doing it!
Having trouble losing those extra holiday pounds? Insulin Resistance Could be the Culprit
by Angie Kay Dilmore
Insulin resistance is one of those health hazards that sneak up on you. And according to Dawn Hinton, APRN and owner of Revitalized Health in Lake Charles, the disorder is more common than we even know. “It’s widespread in our communities primarily because of our unhealthy diets, full of sugar and highly processed foods.”
Though it is difficult to detect, especially in the important early stages, it is vitally important to your health to keep insulin resistance in check. The disorder can cause a myriad of health problems, most notably prediabetes, which can lead to type 2 diabetes, but also heart disease, fatty liver disease, polycystic ovarian syndrome, and metabolic syndrome (a life-threatening combination of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, high glucose levels, and excess body fat around the waist.)
First, let’s discuss the role of insulin
“Insulin is a hormone that helps the body balance its primary source of energy – glucose,” Hinton explains. “It is made by the pancreas which sends insulin into the bloodstream after eating. Insulin sends glucose into cells to be used or stored for energy. When the system works properly, glucose levels remain at appropriate levels.”
Hinton says insulin resistance occurs when cells become resistant to the effects of insulin. “This causes glucose to accumulate in the blood. In response, the pancreas releases more and more insulin. The combination of high blood glucose and high insulin levels are what cause the health complications.”
The exact cause of insulin resistance is unknown, but there are known risk factors – obesity, Black/Asian/Hispanic ethnicity, a family history of insulin resistance or diabetes, a diet high in carbohydrates/sugar, a sedentary lifestyle, corticosteroid use, and chronic stress.
Symptoms of insulin resistance.
There are generally no symptoms of the disorder in the early stages. But there can be subtle signs – increased visceral fat, irregular menstrual cycle, excessive body hair, acne, skin tags, and dark patches on the skin. “The symptoms a person experiences depend largely on the underlying cause of the insulin resistance and the subsequent complications,” Hinton says. Metabolic syndrome and prediabetes are some of the most common conditions related to insulin resistance. In the U.S., approximately one of every three adults over the age of 18 has metabolic syndrome or prediabetes!
How is insulin resistance diagnosed?
Fasting insulin, blood glucose, and hemoglobin A1C tests can determine risk for prediabetes or type 2 diabetes, but these are not always reliable tests for insulin resistance. Healthcare providers suspect the disorder based on a combination of symptoms, blood tests, and physical exam.
Can insulin resistance be reversed?
Hinton says yes, it can. “Lifestyle changes, primarily through diet and exercise, can not only improve insulin sensitivity but reverse its effects. Intermittent fasting and a low-carbohydrate or ketogenic diet have been proven to improve markers of health including reducing blood pressure, improving cholesterol levels, decreasing body fat, and reducing inflammation in the body. Hinton also recommends “at least 30 minutes of physical activity most days of the week.” There are also some medications that can be used to help treat insulin resistance or associated co-existing conditions (menopause, hypogonadism, thyroid disorders, diabetes, HTN, hyperlipidemia).
Hinton says losing weight through exercise and a healthy diet is the best way to help your body respond better to insulin. “Even small changes can help reverse insulin resistance, and if you continue these healthy habits over time, you increase the odds of preventing a long list of health problems.”
To make an appointment with Dawn Hinton, call Revitalized Health at 337-214-0097.
Make S.M.A.R.T. Fitness Goals
by Christine Fisher
Being efficient is a goal most of us can agree is well worth the effort. When it comes to fitness goals for the New Year, ensuring efficiency is a great way to achieve results.
When George Doran came up with S.M.A.R.T. goals in the 1980s, little did he know it would be applied to virtually any project. The acronym stands for:
“The more specific you are with a goal, the more likely you are to achieve it,” explains Suzy Trahan, LDN, RD, ACSM certified exercise physiologist, ACE certified personal trainer, manager of Dynamic Dimensions Fitness Centers of West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital.
Perhaps your goal is being able to exercise for a certain length of time, participating in a specific number of workouts each week, or being part of an upcoming fitness event, such as a charity walk or marathon.
“Being specific gets your mind focused on your goal,” she says.
By being specific, you’re able to measure progress better. If your goal is to work out more often, that measurement is vast; but if your goal is to work out three times each week, it’s easy to measure. “Reaching your goal of three work outs each week helps keep you motivated every week you achieve it,” Trahan says.
Ensuring your fitness goals are achievable is key. “If your goal is to work out three afternoons each week but work and family commitments continue to thwart your efforts, your goal is not achievable,” explains Trahan. “Moving your work outs to the mornings could make all the difference in being able to achieve that goal. Explore possibilities to boost your achievement level.”
Is your fitness goal in line with your wants and needs? If you want to be more flexible, setting a goal to work out with weights twice a week will not propel you as much as attending a class focused on yoga movements twice a week.
“Everyone’s time is limited. You want to spend your work out sessions in a way that will help you move forward in areas where you’d like to improve,” she says. “If you want to change your body composition and improve your metabolism, spending time with both weight training and cardio training will benefit you.”
If you aren’t sure which options you should take to achieve your goals, Dynamic Dimensions Fitness has certified personal trainers to tailor a workout specific for your needs. “Tell us your goals and we’ll help create S.M.A.R.T. fitness steps so you can reach that goal,” Trahan says.
Goals can be both short-term and long-term. You may find it helpful to set several short-term goals that align with your overall long-term goal.
“By breaking down big goals into smaller ones, it helps you understand the specific steps to take to achieve them. Celebrating your success along the way is a great way to stay motivated,” she says.
For more information, visit www.dynamicfitnesscenters.com.
Unclutter your life!
by Stefanie Powers
Tired of all the clutter that surrounds you? Make a New Year’s resolution to organize your life. Here are some tips to get you going!
Start your organizing off with a purge
Go through your closet and get rid of those clothes you’ve been hanging on to but haven’t worn in ages. It will feel good to fill a few bags for your favorite charity. Your kitchen pantry will probably have expired items, so take care of that next.
There may be an abundance of (unexpired) canned or dry goods that you can take to your local food bank. Don’t forget your junk drawer—You’ll find plenty in there that needs to be tossed.
Next, head for your desk/workspace.
Remove everything and clean the surface. Put back all the necessary items that always remain on your desk, and go through any papers, files, etc. that have been piling up. Add to existing folders, create new ones, archive old documents, shred what needs to be shredded. Go through your desk drawers and do the same.
Don’t forget about your digital life
Look at your social media accounts and delete unwanted Facebook friends and unfollow old groups. Unsubscribe from annoying emails and delete all those emails from the past year that you never even bothered to look at. And empty your trash!
Make lists and check them twice
They keep you focused and prevent you from forgetting what’s most important. From grocery lists, or a list of goals for the day, week or month, you need them. In addition, write important things down in a place where you can see them. This will ingrain them in your memory.
Learn to put your things away
As soon as you’ve finished using them throughout the day. An uncluttered space leads to an uncluttered mind.
If you’ve done all the above, you’re in a great position, so keep it that way. Don’t buy or keep unnecessary items and clean out your closets, pantry and workspace regularly. Good luck!
How to Break Bad Habits
by Stefanie Powers
We all have habits—some good, some bad. It’s the bad ones that need breaking, and that’s never easy. Psychologists define habits as acquired behaviors or thought patterns which we repeat so often they become automatic. We develop habits because they free up our brains to do other things that require our focused attention.
Breaking a bad habit is often on lists of New Year’s resolutions. These four tips will help you succeed.
Pay attention to your triggers.
They’re the key to forming a new habit (or breaking an old one). A trigger is an event that kicks off that automatic urge to do something habitually. For example, when some people start to worry, they bite their nails. Getting into bed when you’re not sleepy can trigger the urge to grab your phone and scroll on Facebook—for a few hours.
Focus on why you want to change.
Write your reasons down on paper and keep the list where you’ll see it regularly. Seeing the list can keep the habit you’re trying to break fresh in your mind. If you happen to backslide, your list will remind you exactly why you should keep trying.
Enlist a friend’s support.
Try to find a friend who’s in the same situation so you can overcome the problem together. Case in point – if you need to stop smoking, dealing with not only the habit but the nicotine withdrawal on your own can be challenging. But quitting with a friend can be easier than doing it on your own. You now have a buddy to help you through the rough times and encourage your victories. Mutual support is the key.
Accept occasional slip-ups.
No one is perfect and changing an ingrained habit is a process. Experts say it requires on average over two months for a new behavior to become automatic. So don’t give up! Be aware that there will be bumps and setbacks along the way. We’re our own worst critics, and many of us view anything short of total success to be a complete failure. But be confident! One cigarette, one cheeseburger, one missed workout doesn’t mean it’s the end. Pick yourself up and keep going. Concentrate on your achievements, and don’t give in to negative thinking. Tomorrow is a new day and a new opportunity to succeed.
Give Yourself the Gift of Sleep for the New Year!
Every year, millions of people use the start of a new year as an opportunity for self-improvement, aspiring for personal change by setting New Year’s resolutions. Health-related resolutions are some of the most common, with goals such as losing weight, exercising more often, and smoking cessation leading the list of most common resolutions.
Sleep is often overlooked in New Year’s resolutions, but it is one of the most fundamental steps to improving wellness. Sleeping better can enhance physical, mental, and emotional health and generate the energy and self-control necessary to achieve other goals in the new year.
Properly planning a New Year’s sleep resolution can help you make a lasting change. Knowing how to craft and carry out your New Year’s sleep resolution can lead you to a healthier and more productive future.
Why Make a New Year’s Sleep Resolution?
A sleep resolution is a powerful tool for people looking to emphasize wellness and healthier living in the coming year. Sleep enables virtually all systems of the body to function effectively. It sharpens thinking and memory, strengthens physical health, and boosts mood and emotional regulation.
Sleep is also a lynchpin to achieving other goals. Getting enough sleep every night generates energy for exercise, helps with weight loss, enhances productivity at work, and fosters creative thinking. Studies have found that getting quality sleep is associated with better self-control, which makes it easier to follow through on other resolutions. In addition, simply developing consistent sleep habits may fuel self-control and the ability to continue striving toward goals even during times of difficulty. While getting better sleep doesn’t have to be your only goal for the new year, research demonstrates that it can positively impact virtually all New Year’s resolutions.
Another critical component for New Year’s sleep resolutions is to zero in on things you can control, such as your sleep hygiene. By focusing on the process rather than the outcomes, you can take advantage of the fact that humans are creatures of habit. Reinforcing healthy routines helps make behavior change feel automatic and, as a result, more sustainable.
Dr. Conner at the Sleep Disorder Center of Louisiana suggests you stick to a sleep hygiene routine for better sleep.
Make sure your bedroom is quiet, dark, relaxing, and at a comfortable temperature.
Remove electronic devices, such as TVs, computers, and smartphones, from the bedroom.
Avoid large meals, caffeine, and alcohol before bedtime.
Get some exercise. Being physically active during the day can help you fall asleep more easily at night.
If your resolution is based only on outcomes, such as sleeping better, you may be disappointed and give up if you don’t see quick results. Instead, a wiser approach emphasizes smaller steps that you can take to reshape sleep habits positively.
For example, if you are having trouble with your sleep schedule and feel unrest throughout the holiday season. Call the Sleep Center’s Board Certified Sleep Physician and Dream Team at 337-310-7378.