Making realistic New Year's resolutions for 2010

You hear stories all the time about the rise of obesity and sedentary lifestyles in the United States.

The Tri-State area is not immune from those statistics.

Last November, KHQA's Rajah Maples investigated just how big of a problem obesity is here in the Tri-States.

She found that our viewers in West Central Illinois, Southeast Iowa and Northeast Missouri are heavier than residents in their respective states.

While many people make New Year's resolutions to lose weight and exercise, high expectations this time of year aren't always realistic or practical.

Rajah spoke with a local expert on how to get started and succeed with a healthier plan for 2010.

You're looking at a morning aerobics class at Cheryl Loatsch Studio. It comprises a wide range of ages complete with plenty of cardio. Owner Cheryl Loatsch says it's always a good idea to focus on your health. But the biggest problem she sees is setting your goals too high, too fast. And when you're not able to meet those goals, it can take a long time to try again.

Loatsch said, "The emphasis that we put on it at this particular time of year sometimes can be a negative because of the difficulty at this time of year to actually accomplish your goals or the fact that there's so much pressure. This and swimsuit season seem to be the two times when there's a great deal of emphasis placed on the scale and not enough emphasis on health. I think if we were putting more emphasis on our health, I'd feel better about everybody having such high goals for this time of year."

And that's exactly what Loatsch is trying to do -- getting or keeping people healthier one body at a time. The first rule of thumb -- don't compare yourself to other people.

"We are all individuals," said Loatsch. " I don't care if if i have a class of 20 people, I have 20 individuals in that class to deal with. I often kind of lined a class of my younger students up and said, 'I want you to pick the person in front of you that looks just like you. Find the person in the mirror that looks just like you,' and of course they can't, because there is no person that looks just like you unless you're a twin. So consequently, that picture or that image that we see in the magazine or that we see on TV, we can't look like that either. That isn't us. And so we project that image onto ourselves and try to make ourselves in that image or appear like that versus trying to take the attributes that we have and enhance those. That sometimes is where health comes in versus just losing weight or obtaining a certain number on the scale."

And Loatsch says many times, people get their workout wardrobe in place before preparing mentally.

She said, "They're not really preparing their head for what they should do or they're not really gathering the facts about what kind of program would be best for them. but they're more concerned about preparing that picture and how they're going to look when they walk into the front door versus really the substance of what they're going to do when they exercise."

Loatsch isn't the only one who says New Year's resolutions to lose weight or exercise can be tough to follow.

Dr. Oz, which airs right here on KHQA at 3 p.m. recommends the following tips to set realistic and practical resolutions.

Commit to a family night. Researchers at the University of Minnesota found that children who eat meals with their parents eat healthier and less junk food.

Do at least 7 minutes of yoga every day. Dr. Oz says it's all about focusing on your breath while you get into those poses while having a relaxed state of mind.

Go to bed earlier.

Always keep nuts or a healthful snack in your purse or pocket.

Make space in front your television, so that you can do some type of exercise -- whether it be sit-ups or stretches -- while watching TV.

Get a pedometer. Dr. Oz says this will get you thiking more about how active you are on a daily basis. You should aim for aobut 10 thousand steps a day.

And last but not least -- whatever your resolution, commit to doing it for at least two weeks. That's the amount of time your brain needs to reprocess decisions.