My Friend Shannon is in the newspaper!

My Health & Fitness column in the Aiken Standard this week is about my friend Shannon and her remodeling project. I have been writing about Shannon on this blog for some time, but I thought her story was worth sharing elsewhere.

Shannon has been trying to do what I call remodeling–losing a little weight and adding some muscle. To do this she started an exercise program and is now exercising nearly every day. She has also changed her diet, focusing mostly on eating out less, reducing portion sizes, and eating more fruits and vegetables.

It has been working!

What is interesting about Shannon is that the specifics of her diet and exercise program aren’t the reason for her success. Yes, that is how she lost fat and added muscle, but she could have done that following almost any diet and exercise program.

What helped Shannon the most is that she changed her habits. For years she didn’t exercise much and ate a diet that consisted largely of unhealthy foods. This was mostly due to convenience–it was easier to eat out and not exercise.

Changing these behaviors was the real challenge. Shannon’s lifestyle and interactions with others supported her former habits. And changing these habits isn’t easy. It means saying “no, thank you” a lot and making difficult choices about what to eat and when to exercise.

But she has done it and learned along the way that she really can make those tough decisions. And so can everyone else. The key is to focus on WHY we eat what we eat and WHY we don’t exercise rather than obsess about exactly WHAT to eat and WHAT to do for exercise.

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