5 Ways to Slim Down in 2009

You’re two months into the New Year and you still haven’t started that resolution to eat healthy, exercise more and lose weight.

It’s not too late, according to Dr. Vonda Wright, an orthopedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine and author of “Fitness After 40: How to Stay Strong at Any Age.”

“To slim down, you need to engage your whole body,” she explained. “It’s not just a matter of doing more aerobic exercise."

Wright said in addition to eating right and exercising, people need to mentally prepare themselves for the challenge of losing weight.

“It’s important to recognize that taking a long time off is not the barrier you think it is to getting back in shape,” she said. “Think of it as an investment. Just like we invest in our wealth and save up money for that rainy day so that we’ll have financial stability, we need to spend 30 minutes a day investing in our own health.”

Here are five tips Wright offers:

1. Row, Row, Row Your Boat: “Rowing is a fabulous exercise and you only have to do 30 minutes,” said Wright. “It’s a multi-body workout and it’s a low-impact sport so you can do it whether you have bad knees or not.”

Spending an hour on a rowing machine burns about 400 calories. Comparatively, running or walking a mile burns about 100 calories, Wright said.

“So you’d have to run or walk four miles to get the same workout,” she said.

2. Know Where You’re Going: In terms of eating, you only have to cut down your caloric intake or start burning about 500 calories a day to lose weight, Wright said.

“But you have to know we’re you’re starting to know where you’re going,” she said. “Know how many calories you’re eating a day. Where are those calories sneaking in during the day? If you’re eating two of those 100-calorie snack packs, there’s 200 calories and two miles of walking. So, take a minute and just write it down. When I was trying to lose that last 10 pounds after having a baby, I found that all I had to do was cut out my morning latte.”

3. Tone and Tighten: “People can be thin, but not necessarily be toned,” Wright said. “Thin doesn’t equal fit. You see this in a lot of models, they’re thin but they’re not fit. If you want to be healthy and fit, you need to do resistance work 3-5 times a week.”

Wright said, no matter how busy you are, it’s easy to incorporate toning exercises into your daily routine.

“It doesn’t have to be going to the gym and lifting iron,” she said. “You do squats leaning up against a wall in your own home. Or, you can hang an exercise band on the back of your office door, which will allow you to get an upper body workout while you’re on the phone.”

4. Be Flexible: “We should stretch our muscles every day,” Wright said. “Being flexible is a big part of being slim and fit. You don’t want to get injured and sidelined just when you’ve gotten back into exercising.”

Wright recommends stretching each muscle for 30 seconds every day.

5. Set Small Goals: “Instead of saying I’m going to lose 40 pounds, start off by thinking, ‘I’m going to exercise three days a week for 30 minutes,'” Wright said. “The next week set another small goal.”

Wright said people are less likely to follow through on large goals, which can seem unattainable.