According to University of Scranton Journal of Clinical Psychology, in 2014, 38 percent of Americans made weight related new year’s resolutions, but the same study also found that only 8 percent achieve their goals. So how can students defy statistics and lose those pounds?

“Take it day by day and make small changes,” recommended Anne Provencher, who has been a wellness and exercise specialist for over 25 years, and now works at Tyler Junior College. “It’s not an all or nothing thing,. It’ll last longer if you start with one thing, then add another thing, then add another thing, because initially telling yourself to go from not exercising into exercising is a big step.”

Exercising and being more active benefit the body in several ways.

“It enhances everything,” she said. “It enhances quality of your life and, for some people, it enhances quantity of life. Exercise can help everything from diabetes to heart disease to depression to just about everything. It’s one of those things that’s kind of a cure all. It’s just that most people don’t want to get up and do it, and it’s not rocket science. It’s really simple.”

Provencher advises when exercising heavily, to protect the lower back by lifting properly using knees as opposed to back and not coming in at an all or nothing pace. Provencher also advises students to make sure they’re healthy enough for the activities they’re performing, that diabetic, heart and blood pressure issues will not jeopardize their health while trying to improve it.

It’s not impossible to throw in a workout on campus.

“Walking to class is good, and while they’re walking to throw in lunges, maybe do squats and they may look silly at first but the more they do it and the more students do it, they’ll look better. Take stairs as much as you can, maybe take them twice. Go up, go down, go back up again,” said Provencher.

The Ornelas Health and Physical Education/ Rec Center is available to exercise on campus. The gym is free to all Tyler Junior College students with a valid ID. The facility offers a pool, basketball courts, a weight room, racquetball, as well as a track for walking or running. OPHE is open Monday- Thursday 6a.m.-10p.m., Friday 6a.m.-9p.m., Saturday 10a.m.-4p.m. and Sunday 1p.m.-5p.m.

Eating healthier is another key step in weight loss. Apache Junction cafeteria has an app available for iPhone and Android to help assist in counting calories, called CampusDish. The day’s full menu is on the app, along with the complete nutritional values. Search for CampusDish in the app store or find the link on TJC’s official Apache Junction Website: www.campusdish.com/en-US/CSSW/TylerJuniorCollege

Subway and Starbucks offer healthier options, as well. Subway has a Fresh Fit menu, with full nutritional values available online at subway.com. Starbucks offers low calorie options, such as opting for skim milk, or no whipped cream. Nutritional brochures are also available from Starbucks upon request, and nutritional information is also online at starbucks.com.

“With eating and your food, you can’t all of a sudden say ‘Now I’m only gonna eat 1,200 calories,” said Provencher. “I mean take out the fried food, take out the fast food, take out the desserts, take out the alcohol, whatever your culprit is take one thing out at a time. Take it one day at a time. It has to be a behavioral change, not a one time change.”

University of Scrantons Journal of Clinical Psychology, also found that only 14 percent of people over 50 achieve their resolutions.

“If you don’t start now, you’re just prolonging the problem,” said Provencher.

It’s easier to stick with a weight loss plan when support is available, when tips on diet and exercise can be shared and have an exercise buddy, according to the American Psychological Association. A weight loss buddy can motivate and encourage you to keep up your resolution and make you feel less alone or self conscious at the gym.

“You have to decide if it’s worth it to you,” Provencher said. “You can’t get help until you decide to do it. So in order to be successful and get into wellness and exercise and be fit, you have to make the decision that you’re going to do it. You have to find that thing that flips your switch. Try not to wait until something bad happens. Go ahead and start now. It’s never too early and never too late.”

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