August 27th, 2008
01:06 PM ET

Keeping my mid-year resolutions

By Val Willingham
CNN Medical News Producer

Last night, as I was driving by my local high school, I noticed a "Happy New Year" sign outside the
main door.  At first, I thought it might have been left over from last January, but then I realized it
meant the start of a new school year.  That made me smile, because ever since I was a kid, I've
looked at the first of September as a new beginning.  

When they call them the lazy days of summer, they aren’t kidding. The sun, vacations at the beach -
all sort of just slow me down.   I slack off going to the gym, indulge in fried foods and frozen custard,
lounge around reading juicy novels and forget about the importance of staying fit.   But once the
crisp air hits, and the back-to-school frenzy starts, I gear my body up for some changes.  I make a list of mid-year resolutions that help me stay healthy going into the holiday season.   Here are a few of them: 

No sugary drinks – I have a weakness for sweet ice tea.  But even sweet tea has calories, just like
the health drinks I guzzle on a hot day. According to a report in the American Journal of Clinical
Nutrition an extra sugary drink each day can pile on 15 pounds in a year. So now I'm back to tea
with no sugar, black coffee and water.

Get off the couch – I confess, I've let my routine slip, so it's back to the gym, at least four days a
week. Research shows that 20-30 minutes of interval training is more effective than 40 minutes of
slow cardio for weight loss. Combine that with 20-30 minutes of strength training, three times a week
and you can drop some pounds. 

Take a multivitamin every day – Plain and simple. The American Dietetic Association recommends
everyone take a multivitamin every day.

Eat breakfast – Researchers from the National Weight Control Registry, looked at 3,000 people who
had lost at least 60 pounds and kept it off for an average of six years. Eating breakfast every day
was a weight control strategy for 78 percent of the people they looked at.

Try to have a positive attitude -Step back, smell the flowers and breathe deeply. Many times it can
make the difference in your mental and physical health.

Do you have a routine for a particular time of year you'd like to share?   How do the seasons affect
your health?  We'd like to know.

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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.