Exercise, dieting on list of resolutions

By Greg Gelpi

The new year is almost here, and Clayton County residents are losing it?or at least they are trying to.

With the goal of losing weight, clothing sizes and inches, many have resolved to shape up in 2004.

Exercise is an "addiction," Shepherd Isaac, 47, of Jonesboro said. For 2004, he has made a resolution to "lose a couple of inches."

"Exercise itself is an addiction," Isaac said between sets of lifting weights at Firehouse. "I'm well into the addiction."

Since retiring from Nabisco Foods as a baker in February, Martha Terrell, 67, said she has put on about 20 pounds. In the new year, though, she has vowed to shed the weight, she said as she worked out on a treadmill.

She hits the treadmill for about 30 minutes each time she works out, Terrell said. Pointing to the line of weight machines, she said she works out on the machines for about three or four minutes each as well.

"My secret to keep going? My husband has to push me," Terrell said.

But many don't keep going, Anthony Daniels, assistant general manager of Firehouse Sport & Fitness, said.

Like clockwork, with each new year comes an influx of new clients, he said.

About 65 percent of his new customers last January kept working out, he said. Daniels recalled about five people so "gung ho" about getting fit last year that they paid for a year's membership. He never saw any of them again.

His advice was not to pay attention to the more experienced health enthusiasts, Daniels said.

"Don't get intimidated by them," he said. "If (you) join up, make sure (you) join a program (you) can stick to."

Sticking to it is important for eating as well, Alison Evans, a registered dietician at Southern Regional Medical Center, said.

"You may lose weight quickly, but most people can't follow a diet for their life," Evans said. "Dieting is taboo. Dieting doesn't work. I don't even like to use the word ?diet.'"

Instead of the four-letter word, she advises that her clients adopt a "lifestyle of healthy living".

"Some of it's common sense," Evans said. "If you're eating a bag of chips everyday, that isn't healthy."

The average American gains about 10 to 15 pounds during the holiday season, and about 60 percent of the country is overweight, she said.

"You don't need a book. You don't need a special diet. You don't need a guru doctor," Evans said. "The bottom line is eating healthy."

She recommended drinking plenty of water and eating healthy, avoiding fried foods and concentrated sugars.