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Keeping Your Fitness-Related New Year's Resolutions

December 5, 2013

With the end of another year quickly approaching, many people are already thinking about making their New Year’s resolutions for 2014. Despite the best of intentions, statistics show that most resolutions are either broken or forgotten by the end of January, especially those relating to exercising regularly, eating healthy and losing weight.  If you’re looking to keep your health and fitness-related resolutions for more than a month, Kristin Hatch, a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator who founded Nutrition for Life, Inc., of Lakeville, recommends taking “small steps” toward setting a realistic goal rather than making a resolution that’s too enormous and difficult to keep.“ [Taking] small steps at a time, being kind, understanding and accepting of oneself is the key,” she said. “New Year’s resolutions often do not involve preparation of attitude and readiness for the project. The intention is often to lose an unrealistic amount of weight in a short period of time, without evaluating the reasons, approach, having a sense of self-care, or having intuition about oneself and the project.”  “Planning is often in response to someone else’s direction, diet or restrictive approach,” she continued. “Too much restriction and too much exercise is often planned, causing the person to be able to follow through with their new ‘plan’ for only a short period of time.” s. Hatch added that people should reflect on their lives for a considerable amount of time before making a resolution that requires any kind of personal behavioral change. “Spend time contemplating what needs to be changed in terms of behavior, what the goal would be, other than simply weight loss,” she said. “Focus on increased energy, being able to move more easily, possibly to sleep better or to have clothes fit more comfortably. Let the scale weight be in the background.” Ethan Wager, at East Coast Fitness, of Lakeville, said gym memberships typically increase around the first of the year as people make physical fitness part of their New Year’s resolution. Like Ms. Hatch, he said people need to set realistic goals or their resolutions will likely go unfulfilled. “The key is to make it realistic,” he said. “From there, start slowly and find something that you enjoy so you can stick to your goal. Everyone has different preferences and there issomething for everyone here. By starting out slowly, you will see results that will last.” For those that struggle to keep their resolutions, Mr. Wager said that East Coast Fitness has qualified personal trainers who will do whatever it takes to help each person succeed. “We have certified trainers here at East Coast Fitness that are able to help guide clients to their goals through a workout plan and healthy eating habits,” he said. Besides offering classes in group cycling, barbell burn, TRX, Zumba, Kettlebell, and cardio kickboxing, Ms. Wager said that many of their fitness programs are offered at Synergy Functional Fitness, which is attached to the main facility located at 155 Millennium Circle (Route 44). These programs have a separate fee from East Coast Fitness and have different monthly memberships.  “The member can come in for their scheduled class time and receive a customized functional fitness workout,” he said. “Functional Fitness is helping the client prepare for everyday activities along with achieving their health goals.” s. Hatch agreed that it’s important to seek help from a professional when they are having trouble reaching achieving their New Year’s goals.  “This is a way to assure that evidence based guidance is provided,” she said. “Clients state that the accountability of having someone alongside them is key to maintaining motivation and to having evolving understanding of themselves.” With over 30 years of experience in providing personalized nutrition counseling and lifestyle planning to people of all age groups in a variety of settings, Ms. Hatch said she has the knowledge and expertise in the field to help people reach their goals. “We help people to evaluate and define the concern that the person wants to work on, briefly educate in a practical way regarding the biochemistry and physiology of the concern, help to plan steps toward not only the nutrition and exercise components but also around the behavioral aspects that will actually help to form new habits for the short and long term,” she said. ince most insurance plans now cover nutrition counseling, Ms. Hatch advises prospective clients to check with their insurance company regarding this benefit before making an appointment.  astly, if someone breaks their New Year’s resolution, she said they can always reassess their goal and try again.“It is important to self-evaluate the goals, the approach, and to assure readiness,” said Ms. Hatch. “The project of optimal health is an ongoing process that has no beginning and no end."

- Jason Kenney, Staff Writer

 

Featured In Middleboro Gazette - Yankee Clipper

"One of the area’s best kept secrets to better health..."

September, 2013

LAKEVILLE – Passers-by may not pay it any mind or understand exactly what happens there, but just behind the Jack Conway Real Estate building at 10 Main Street in Lakeville lies one of the area’s best kept secrets to better health, and if you’ve noticed any friends, co-workers or family members looking and feeling inexplicably better than they have in decades, there’s a good chance they’re in on it. No, it’s not a fancy health food store or members-only gym. Nutrition For Life, Inc. takes a unique counseling and education-based approach to promoting a healthy lifestyle and is the product of business owner Kristen Hatch’s years of diverse experience as a registered dietician (RD), certified diabetes educator (CDE) and licensed nutritionist (LDN) at various facilities including most recently Milton Hospital, Stonehill College and Suffolk University. “A lot of people think you go to a dietician and they simply give you a diet plan and that’s not how I operate at all,” Mrs. Hatch says. “I take a behavioral counseling approach. It’s not really about if you drink enough water or eat enough carrots. It has more to do with people’s relationship with food and being self-aware of their behaviors and tendencies.” Some things that new clients often find pleasantly surprising are the absence of “weigh-ins” and a restrictive “don’t do this, don’t do that” dieting approach. The atmosphere is also different from what many might expect to be walking into. “Instead of focusing on what people can’t eat, I teach them what they can eat and how food can be used to make the body feel its best,” Mrs. Hatch says. “Also I made sure I chose a place that doesn’t look like a medical office building. It has a comfortable living room space for a waiting room. The counseling room is a comfortable space with nice chairs and paintings on the wall and the location is very private-feeling being in the back of the building. I put a lot of thought into the choosing and setting up of this location.” Once an initial assessment has been established for a new client, the education begins both during and in between appointments. “We talk about keeping your stomach comfortable – not letting yourself get too hungry or too full. We talk about blood sugar. We talk about how people feel after eating certain things or after doing different kinds of exercise, why it makes them feel that way and how it affects their physiology,” Mrs. Hatch says. “I also give everyone a reading assignment based on the main aspects we’re targeting with that person. The assignment always reinforces what we talk about at their appointment and they also discover new things that they come in and tell me about at their next appointment.” While knowing what to do is one thing, Mrs. Hatch recognizes that following through is another issue. However, the experienced dietician is prepared for the challenge.
“If you talk to a lot of medical practitioners they say ‘well, it’s nice that dieticians understand what to tell people to do but people won’t do it consistently because human behavior says that nobody feels like doing what they don’t want to’,” Mrs. Hatch says. “That’s why I do things the way I do them here. I’ve found that if you can make someone truly understand their bodies and how things affect it, it becomes much easier for them to make better choices willingly.” And Mrs. Hatch receives the feedback needed to know that her approach is working, with patients reporting that what they are taught often comes to mind throughout their daily lives. “I’m far from a good drawer but so many times people will tell me that they picture all these diagrams I’ve made for them while they work out and they can visualize how it’s benefiting them physically as they’re doing it. Just that alone can motivate someone to keep with it,” Mrs. Hatch says.
While a specific medical problem is not in any way a prerequisite for Nutrition For Life, Inc. Mrs. Hatch says she has helped plenty of patients with a range of illnesses and conditions, often times preventing a need for common go-to medications. “There are a lot of people who come and are on four diabetes medications, a couple of blood pressure medications, cholesterol lowering medication and they end up getting rid of all of them. A lot of diabetes patients who don’t want to go on insulin find they can avoid it with proper management of the condition,” Mrs. Hatch says. “Of course this isn’t always true but people are always surprised how much better they can feel just from lifestyle changes alone.” Other common problems that can be helped significantly by changing one’s habits according to Mrs. Hatch include heart disease, kidney failure, ulcers, and crohn’s disease to name a few. For those who need hard proof to be convinced, there’s always Nutrition For Life’s standard “lab tracker” sheet that keeps track of a range of lab parameters like cholesterol and triglycerides. “Our most significant case has been one patient with a 58 percent decrease in their lab parameters,” Mrs. Hatch says. “That’s obviously exceptional but it’s not uncommon at all for the average person to see a 20-30 percent change once they’ve been put on a good path.” When asked if she had any health advice she’d be willing to share with Yankee Clipper, Mrs. Hatch had the following jewels to offer: “The first thing is throw your scale away or at least don’t make that your focus,” she said. “It’s also important to eat at least four times a day, never allowing more than four to five hours pass between meals.” For reading, Mrs. Hatch recommends the books Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch and Younger Next Year by Chris Crowley and Henry Lodge. “I can’t emphasize enough how much I love what I do. I honestly can’t wait for Mondays to come!” says Mrs. Hatch, who reports many of her clients leave enabled to run half-marathons and go on trips among other things they might not have believed they’d ever get to do again. “A lot of people come in thinking that because of a diagnosis or their age that ‘it’s all downhill from here’ and I show them that’s so far from the truth.”

- Matthew Ferreira, Staff Writer