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Nutrition and exercise go hand in hand

By Andrea Renee Wyatt, M.S.S., C.S.C.S.

Q: My exercise routine over the past six months has been great. I have more energy, feel stronger and have more flexibility than anytime in the past 10 years. Yet with all of these accomplishments, I still have not reached my weight goal. I must admit that I have focused more on my exercise than my nutrition; however, I thought I would have seen more weight changes by now. Are my eating habits keeping me from reaching my goal?

A: Making the commitment to consistently take part in an exercise program is a great accomplishment. There is no question that exercise is beneficial and necessary. The effort needed to exercise is often seen as enough to get the results you desire. However, your nutritional habits are a major factor in your goal to lose weight, body fat and even gain lean muscle.

What you put in your body helps maintain what is going on in your body. This makes it absolutely imperative to monitor what, when and how much you intake. Following a balanced nutritional plan, designed for you, will help your body get the needed nutrients and energy to recover from workouts, build lean muscle and supply the other organs of your body to function efficiently.

The combination of proper nutrition and exercise can be achieved one piece at a time. Since you have already begun your exercise program and have seen results, slowly begin to incorporate better nutritional habits each week. Oftentimes we change what is easiest for us to change first and slowly progress to making more difficult changes. If your nutritional habits are more challenging for you to change, begin making small changes and increase your commitment to those changes each week.

Creating a healthy eating environment may take time, but be patient and remember to start small. For example, if you do not eat breakfast, start off your week by eating breakfast. Once eating breakfast becomes easier, make another change. Keep making these changes until you are regularly eating a sensible and healthful diet.

Exercise without proper nutrition, and proper nutrition without exercise, can produce results, although the results you'll achieve when completed in tandem will be much greater.

Always consult a physician before beginning an exercise program. Andrea Renee Wyatt, M.S.S., C.S.C.S., is a certified personal trainer with an extensive background in strength and conditioning as well as therapeutic recreation. If you have a fitness or training question, write Andrea in care of King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475.

(c) 2007 King Features Synd., Inc