Six tiny steps toward smarter eating

Fitness Q & A

Health & Fitness

February 15, 2004|By Gailor Large | Gailor Large,Special to the Sun

Aside from the standard "eat carrot sticks, not candy bars" advice (which I can never seem to follow), how can I avoid cheating on my diet?

The secret is to make small goals and adjustments, not lofty ones. Here are six easy changes you can make right now. Each seems tiny on its own, but I guarantee that together they will add up over time:

* Don't keep any food in the house that you can't stop yourself from eating.

* Recruit co-workers and family members to join you in working out and eating right.

* Avoid parties and events where you will be tempted to overeat.

* Hang a prompt (like a flattering photo) in plain view to remind yourself what you're working toward.

* Incorporate treats into your diet. You will be less likely to splurge later.

* If you fall off the wagon, forget the guilt trip. Put it behind you and move on.

What's the correct way to use the "captain's chair" at the gym?

The captain's chair, a device for working your abs while hanging, is a great exercise for isolating the abdominal muscles. Begin with your legs dangling and slowly lift your knees toward your chest. To avoid slipping, grasp the handles firmly and tighten your core. Make sure your lower back is resting against the back pad.

Many trainers recommend stopping the movement when your quads are parallel to the ground. Decide what's most comfortable for you. Hold that position for a few seconds, then lower your legs using a controlled motion. As your abdominals develop you will be able to mix in variations, such as pulling your legs up to either side, or keeping your legs straight.

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