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Locals offer tips on maintaining New Year’s resolutions

Published: Friday, Jan. 4, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

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YMCA fitness instructor Jessica Carls sees the cycle every January.

People resolve to get healthy in the new year and start a new exercise regime ... that only lasts two or three weeks.

Carls, who also is a personal trainer and wellness center coordinator for the Kishwaukee Family YMCA, 2500 W. Bethany Road, Sycamore, recommends exercising in groups to defeat this problem.

“If someone is relying on someone to be there, you’re more willing to not skip out on it,” she said.

Carls and other DeKalb County professionals have some advice for residents who resolved to really keep their resolutions this year.

If someone wants to start working out for the first time, Carls said they should exercise two days a week using a full-body workout with weights. That way, the person does not get overwhelmed.

“[Otherwise] they’re not gonna want to do it anymore,” Carls said. “It’s enough to scare some people away.”

People who have stopped working out for only a couple of months can simply get back into their regular routine, Carls said.

Exercising is only half the battle, however. FitWorkz owner Ray Binkowski has lost more than 60 pounds, and he tells some of his clients they are working out too much without getting the results they want. FitWorkz is located at 1690 Sycamore Road in DeKalb.

Last year, Binkowski noticed a young woman doing cardiovascular workouts seven days a week. He approached her to tell her what she was doing was going to frustrate her.

Since Binkowski talked to her, the woman has lost 60 pounds. She now works out only three days a week and follows Binkowski’s book, “Eat By Color.” He said the woman now eats more than before.

The book teaches people that diets don’t work.

“It’s not about counting calories. It’s not about eliminating total food groups,” Binkowski said. “It’s a long-term approach.”

Binkowski recommends eating lots of protein, vegetables and fruits. They should eat fewer carbohydrates, but they should not cut them entirely, he said. Eating good fats is also really good for you, he said.

“I started out by making a lot of mistakes and trying what most of your readers do” like starting diets, Binkowski said. “We use more foods [people] enjoy eating and teach them what ones are better ones to eat to be healthy, happy and lose weight.”

Before someone gets a gym membership and talks to a trainer, though, they should first make sure they can afford it. That very well could help them with another popular New Year’s resolution – saving money and reducing debt.

Katie Johnson, vice president and trust officer of National Bank & Trust Company at 230 W. State St., Sycamore, has a five-step plan people can use to make better financial decisions. It includes developing and sticking with a budget, setting financial goals or re-prioritizing current ones, making reducing debt a priority and checking credit reports.

People are entitled to one free credit report per year. Johnson recommends going to www.annualcreditreport.com so people can review the report and check for inaccuracies.

“My best recommendation is to increase your income and decrease expenses,” Johnson said. “Try to eliminate luxury or extravagances that really aren’t a necessity.”

The biggest mistake Johnson sees people make with their money is not diversifying it. People have all their stock in one particular company, like the company for which they work.  

“While that loyalty is good and everything, it isn’t a good idea to put all your eggs into one basket,” Johnson said.

How to best diversify depends on someone’s risk profile, and Johnson said NB&T works with people to assess those needs and goals.

Whether it’s losing weight, eating healthier or being smarter with money, there are local resources for people to succeed. Once someone does succeed, that’s one less thing for next year’s New Year’s resolution list.

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