- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Why wait to lose weight? Get a head start before the calorie-laden holiday season with these free fitness and diet ideas from John Rowley, a director at the American Institute of Healthcare and Fitness.

First, never consume more calories than you burn. If you don’t want to count calories, Mr. Rowley suggests favoring green vegetables and lean meats and other low-fat proteins, such as no-fat dairy products. Skip starchy carbohydrates.

Second, while a glass of wine per day has been shown to be beneficial for the heart, it contains at least 100 calories. Keep that in mind when you set your fitness goals, including meal plans.

Water, on the other hand, should be consumed in large quantities: He recommends drinking half your body weight in ounces each day. (For a 160-pound woman that would mean 80 ounces of water a day.)

Third, your daily fitness routine should include strength, aerobic and flexibility training. Mr. Rowley also suggests incorporating as much exercise into daily life as possible: Take a brief walk during your lunch break, ride your bike to work and take the stairs instead of the elevator.

Finally, don’t let up. Consistency is key to reaching any long-term fitness goal.

- Gabriella Boston

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