Approximately 45% of Americans are getting ready to make their New Year’s Resolution in a few days. Many of them will be about getting physically fit or shedding pounds in some way either through buying a gym membership or through a diet. According to a study at moneycrashers.com, a $58 a month gym membership will lead to a $700 investment over the next year. The study says that about 2/3rds of people will actually use that membership.
Former Passavant Area Hospital Health Educator turned small yoga studio owner Wendy Smith says that people shouldn’t force themselves into some physical activity that they will hate. “I think the best physical activity for anyone is one that they love enough to do on a regular basis. If they hate yoga, yoga is not going to do it. They are going to come to 3 classes and then they’ll never want to come back. Then, they’ll be frustrated. People need to try several different things to find something that they love. Sometimes people go back to doing things that they loved when they were a kid. Maybe it was playing basketball, so they start playing basketball with their buddies down at the YMCA a few times a week. That’s going to be more beneficial to people than say ice skating lessons because maybe they hate ice skating. Finding something that you love to do is the first goal.”
Smith says that using an old fashioned calendar and accountability will help you down the path of keeping your resolution. “Put it on the calendar. Whatever it is that you decide to do, whether it’s a home workout or running outside or something on your own; it’s really important to put it on the calendar and treat it like any other important appointment. Don’t bail on yourself. Learn to trust your commitment to yourself. It takes 21 days to create a habit. If you can get something on the calendar for 21 days straight, you’re likely to stick with it and make yourself go even on days when you are tired or sore and you’re going to likely be more successful with it.”
Smith says that her studio Jax Yoga has a special class for those interested in starting out on the ground floor of trying yoga as a means of a physical activity. “We get new people in all the time and new people are welcome at any of our classes. We do offer a 101 class occasionally. We are starting a new one on January 8th. It’ll be every Tuesday from 5:30-630PM for 4 weeks. We’re small. We can only fit about 20 people per class so everyone kind of gets to know one another and builds a community. We try to stay in touch with people to ensure we are meeting their needs and that they are finding class that work for them and their schedule.”
Smith says that the tiny classes and family atmosphere helps her to get people into the classes at the studio if people decide to stick with yoga. Jax Yoga will also be offering a deal of unlimited yoga for $60 for the month of January. Anyone who purchases the membership will be able to go to any of the classes offered throughout the entire month.
Smith also has a passion for helping people find their overall personal wellness. Smith says that she had to begin altering her diet after she discovered that her and her daughter have an auto-immune disorder that can be triggered by different chemicals on and in certain foods. “I’m a farm kid – not an organic farm. I grew up eating non-organic, but less of healthy food but still lots of fruits and vegetables. Eating cleaner started for me when I discovered that my daughter and I had an auto-immune disorder. Some of the things that can make that disorder worse are sugar, conventional dairy, gluten, and chemicals like pesticides on food and in water. We really cleaned up our consumption habits, which has helped our symptoms dramatically.”
Smith said that as a young girl she suffered from pre-disordered eating due to body image. She said that people should think about the things they do to themselves with diet rather than thinking of it as punishment. She said the change in approach has helped her stay on track. “I came to a place where what I eat and the way that I move my body is more about what I’m giving to myself than what I’m taking away from myself. I really practice a lot of things that encourage as well as encourage others including my husband and my children such as eating healthy, getting enough sleep, drinking water, managing stress, and moving our bodies everyday not as a punishment or not to push ourselves to be a certain size or look a certain way; but to feel a certain way and to take care of the bodies that we’ve been given.”
Smith said that setting some goals for yourself as far as diet will make a change easier as well as also holding yourself accountable and having others around to help you stay on track. “There is two different ways of cleaning up the things that you eat. You can look at it as far as eating less sugar, less refined foods, and trying to lose weight; or manage labs like cholesterol and blood pressure. You can look at cleaning things up by eating organically, which won’t necessarily make you lose weight but you’re going to be putting less toxins in your body. There’s a few different ways to approach the idea of clean eating.”
Smith says a great place to start if you are looking for information is through the Environmental Working Group. The website produces a group of foods each year called ‘The Dirty Dozen’ and the ‘Clean Fifteen’. She says that her family uses the lists to help at the grocery store to continue to live a clean eating lifestyle. The ‘Dirty Dozen’ are a list of produce that are the most likely to be contaminated by pesticides and toxins during farming and processing. The ‘Clean Fifteen’ are the opposite. Smith says her family usually buys non-organic produce from the ‘Clean Fifteen’ and uses an inexpensive, non-toxic produce wash at home. She says that when her family purchases anything off of the ‘Dirty Dozen’ list, they always purchase organic to make sure they get the least amount of toxins as possible.
Smith says that buying groceries for a family of 5 can get difficult at times, but she feels that by keeping things simple and sticking to a plan helps create meals that are healthy and enjoyable for everyone.