Building healthy habits


Learn to stick with diet, exercise long term

By Thaddeus Mast
Laramie Boomerang

LARAMIE—Starting a new diet or beginning a new workout regime can be easy — buy some vegetables foods and buy a gym membership and get healthy. But sometimes those carrots go bad and the gym card gets lost in the car, never to be used. A few simple changes could make those diets permanent.

Finding a healthy diet can be the most important change to lose weight. Several specific diets are always circling around the web, but Beth Kamber, clinical nutrition manager at Ivinson Memorial Hospital, said there are simpler ways.

“It’s not what you eat, but how much,” she said. “Portions have gotten super large. I’m a firm believe that any food is okay, but it’s how much you eat.” One simple habit to start is the plate method, Kamber said. Take your dinner plate and fill half of it with vegetables. Easy. Take another quarter and put some starchy foods there like rice or pasta. The rest of the plate is for meat.

“If you look at recommendations, it’s all promoting that meal plan,” she said.

“You do need to make changes, but small changes. If you’re a big meat eater and say you’re never going to eat meat again for a diet — you need to be realistic. Try setting small obtainable goals.”

Beth Kamber,
clinical nutrition manager at Ivinson Memorial Hospital

Some fruit or a small desert — only 100 calories — can top off the meal.

One bad habit to avoid is forcing major life changes for the sake of losing weight, said Mindy Meuli, director of the Cent$ible Nutrition Program run by the University of Wyoming.

“You do need to make changes, but small changes,” she said. “If you’re a big meat eater and say you’re never going to eat meat again for a diet — you need to be realistic. Try setting small obtainable goals.”

One habit Wyomingites should create is eating more local meat. “One advantage about our state is the plentiful game animals,” Kamber said. “Game animals are much more lean.”

Make a habit of setting smaller goals regularly, such as walking five times a week and increasing that as you progress.


“A lot of times, we say we want to reach that 5-pound weight loss,” Kamber said. “That’s part of it, but you’ll only lose half a pound or a pound a week.”

Don’t be afraid to get back on a regular healthy diet if you spend a couple days pigging out on unhealthy foods, Kamber said.

“Everyone is going to relapse, but be patient and get up on that horse again,” she said. “Work on making habits. Your routine doesn’t change overnight. It’s the tortoise over the hare.”

Exercising is also about building a habit, Kamber said, but it has to be a habit easy to get in to.

“Find something you enjoy and stick with it,” she said. “That can be an exercise bike at home or a Fitbit for walking or swimming. Just keep it consistent.”

Pushing yourself a little more when possible is also a positive change, Meuli said.

“If you’re walking a little farther than when you started or are exercising 10 minutes longer, that’s a gain,” she said. “It can be a more consistent part of your daily routine.”

Planning is something people looking for a healthy lifestyle should begin, Kamber said.

“If you’re going out to eat, try to plan ahead and stay in control,” she said. “Adjust your diet. Try to find some nutrition information online.”

Also, don’t use food as an emotional outlet in any way, Kamber said.

“Try not to use food as an emotional award,” she said. “A lot of times, people use it to try and calm their emotions. Try not to do that.”

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Laramie Boomerang

Headquartered in Laramie, our paper is distributed throughout southeast Wyoming, and into northern Colorado, with the majority of our circulation within Albany County. Each year we invest a great deal of time and money in keeping our facility on the front lines of technology, to produce the area’s best up to date source of news and information. The Laramie Boomerang is striving more than ever to better our community, staying involved in community events and activities and donating money and in-kind support to various community organizations.