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Try this bite-sized approach to getting healthy

We're now nearly two weeks into 2013, and if you're kicking yourself for abandoning your resolutions, time to take a break.

Come on — you didn't really think you could instantly drop all your bad old habits, did you?

Put down the guilt and consider making 2013 your year to get real.

Take an honest look at yourself, perhaps starting with a visit to your doctor. Decide what your priority should be, and focus. If you're an overweight smoker who hasn't been to the gym since the Clinton administration, you may need to tackle one issue at a time.

Try on a new habit until it feels comfortable, and then see what you're up for next. Maybe one success will lead to another.

And don't forget to have fun.


List the real reasons you want to get healthy, and post copies where you'll see them every day.

Get your medical appointments set for the year, including eye exams. Reward yourself with neat new frames.

Discover new-to-you fruits and veggies at an outdoor market. Go to for info on markets all over Tampa Bay.


14: Get the best chocolate you can on Valentine's Day and enjoy moderately. A local one to try: William Dean in Largo.

Enjoy a no-calorie valentine treat. Expressing affection releases oxytocin, a feel-good hormone.

Sign up for a 5K or half-marathon and plot out your training schedule. See for ideas.


Aim for 2 ½ hours a week of aerobic and strengthening activity for adults, an hour a day for kids and teens. And yes, springtime chores like gardening and heavy-duty housework count!

17: The Florida Beach Halfathon and 5K is a healthy way to celebrate St. Patrick's Day.

Jump on the boutique gym bandwagon, or at least shop around until you find a fitness haven where you feel welcome. You'll meet people who'll keep you coming back.

31: Emulate the Easter bunny and munch on raw carrots and other veggies.


Buy pedometers for the whole family — whoever ends the day with the most steps gets out of dish duty.

Get outside with the family before it's too hot. has lots of local ideas.

Set aside time every night to prep the following day's breakfast and lunch. You'll save money and calories.


12: Start a new Mother's Day tradition like a bike ride and picnic at Fort De Soto in Pinellas or the Withlacoochee State Forest in Hernando. Wear a helmet!

Download a movie on your tablet and take it to the gym. A two-hour flick is good for four 30-minute walks. Make it a comedy and boost your mood.


Make food prep easy and cool. Rotisserie chicken and bagged salad equals dinner.

16: Take Dad somewhere new for Father's Day, like a hike at Hillsborough River State Park, or a kayak paddle around Weedon Island.

Keep moving at work: Stand at your desk while you're on the phone. Try "walking meetings.''


4: Take a fruit tray to the cookout arranged to look like the flag, with red and blue berries and white peach slices.

Start saving for the holidays by putting $5 in a jar every time you do something that's good for you.

Going to the beach? Remember to apply a full ounce of sunscreen, and reapply when you swim or sweat.


Enjoy your staycation by playing tourist and track your steps on your pedometer. Have you seen the new Dalí Museum in St. Pete or Tampa's new waterfront museums?

Craving ice cream? Take a long walk or ride on the Pinellas Trail and reward yourself at Strachan's in Dunedin.

Swear off elevators and escalators for a full week. Repeat.


Celebrate back to school by making sure no one skips breakfast.

Use Facebook or Twitter to announce your goals and ask friends and followers to hold you accountable.

Try keeping a food journal to spot bad habits — so you can correct them, not beat yourself up!


Buy your Halloween candy at the last minute, and get any leftovers out of the house ASAP.

Make sleep a priority. Your health and your mood will improve.

The days are getting shorter. Try a lunchtime walk to maximize your outdoor time. It's a mood elevator.


Find ways to relieve stress that do not involve food or alcohol. Pray. Meditate. Dance around the house.

Take steps toward cutting out processed food. Can you pronounce the ingredients list?

27: Hanukkah 28: Thanksgiving Make your feasts potluck to spread out the work (and temptation).

Don't like lifting weights? Then don't. Yoga builds strength using your own body.


Celebrate the end of your healthy year by reviewing your progress and setting 2014 goals.

Take an after-dinner walk to admire the holiday lights in historic local neighborhoods like Tampa's Hyde Park and St. Pete's Old Northeast.

Get more information on events listed here, or find your own favorites, at Information from, and the Los Angeles Times was used in this report.

Try this bite-sized approach to getting healthy 01/10/13 [Last modified: Thursday, January 10, 2013 6:04pm]
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