Wednesday, June 7, 2023

New Year, New You: Tips on Eating Healthy & Staying Active, the Realistic Way

When it comes to diets, Samantha Barone of Boynton Beach has a thing or two to say.

“I always joke that I came out of the womb on a diet and pretty much struggled my entire life. It was after high school and into college that I really significantly started gaining weight and was basically miserable,” says Barone. 

After a family member had gastric bypass surgery, Barone attended a seminar to learn more about the procedure and decided to do the same. Following the surgery, she lost 150 pounds. 

She then became a registered dietician.

Samantha Barone

“I wanted to be a voice for people who felt helpless the way I felt. I wanted to show people that it’s never too late to change your life for the better,” says Barone. 

That was 15 years ago. Today, she is a valuable part of the Surgical Weight Loss Program team at Delray Medical Center.

No matter our shape or size or our health challenges and goals, there is nothing like a reboot in the New Year to get our health and fitness back in check. 

Sometimes we just need a word or two from the wise to get there. 

Barone and Joe Ramos, a Florida Atlantic University assistant athletic trainer, took a moment for Today’s Paige to help us all adopt and stick to better lifestyle behaviors. 

“Small, consistent modifications over time are what lead to those big results that last forever. The yo-yoing back and forth–the 10 pounds down, 20 pounds up–those fad diets and things, losing weight really quickly and then not maintaining, are actually more of a detriment to your body than very slowly taking it off the right way and making the right changes in your lifestyle,” says Barone.

Ramos agrees and says it is important to create small, healthy habits throughout your day and stick to them. 

Joe Ramos

“People fall short because they try to have unrealistic goals when it comes to fitness. If you’re a person that just wants to get outside and walk around, start that habit. Once you get those concrete habits and some structure, you’ll have part of your day that you’ve set aside to exercise. I think you’ll see a lot of results in small achievable habits,” says Ramos. 

Ramos encourages each of us to achieve 10,000 steps a day at a minimum–a number often highlighted on the Fitbits of the world and even clocked in the “Health” app of an iPhone. He also advises writing fitness goals down on a whiteboard at home so that those goals are seen daily. Workouts that include activities we enjoy are often the best routine to pair with gym or outdoor cardio, weight lifting and a good diet. 

“I love to do something that intrigues me, whether it’s going for a hike or playing basketball, getting on the beach and going for a walk–just getting outside,” says Ramos. 

Adding physical activities to your daily routine is just half the battle. 

Eating a variety of foods–and mostly nutritious ones–is just as important. Barone encourages a healthy, balanced diet of whole foods consisting of protein, grains, vegetables, fruits, dairy and oils. 

When it comes to water, Barone says drinking 64 ounces of water a day is the bare bones minimum for most people and that we should all be drinking more than that each day. Barone also recommends sticking to your grocery list at the store and avoiding the items thrown into the cart on impulse.

“The very number one rule is always, always, always eat before you go grocery shopping.” says Barone. “You never want to be hungry when you go to the store because you’re going to come home with everything. Also, stick to the perimeter of the grocery store where the healthiest items tend to be.”

For those needing more direction in the weight-loss journey, Barone suggests finding a local dietician through your insurance company or local hospital. When diet, exercise and medications have failed, Barone says bariatric surgery can also be considered. 

“Obesity is now recognized by the medical community as a disease and the number one treatment of obesity is bariatric surgery. There is a process that the patient has to go through in order to be approved for surgery and when a person is ready for that and committed, it’s really an incredible journey,” says Barone. 

As many set New Year’s resolutions or simply look for lifestyle improvements throughout the year, experts say to be patient and kind to yourself in the journey. 

“Some days are harder than others, but I think the biggest thing that I always tell my athletes and I tell myself all the time is to stay true to your goals and small habits,” says Ramos. “In the long run they will pay off. Taking care of your health is a great thing for your mental state. It is going to be the biggest thing when it comes to reaching your goals and staying true to yourself.” 

Paige Kornblue
Paige Kornblue
Paige Kornblue is an award-winning journalist who founded Paige Kornblue Media and Today’s Paige – the blog and podcast highlighting everything from interesting people, fascinating places and the gems making our communities special. In addition to Boca Magazine, Paige is a TODAY Show Parenting Team Contributor. She has anchored and reported for top-rated television stations across the country including WPTV NBC NewsChannel 5 and WMUR ABC News 9. Paige has also worked at NBC Sports and Dateline NBC and provided live reports for CNN and The Weather Channel. PK is a proud Boca Raton native who grew up loving Boca Magazine and all that comes with the fabulous city of Boca Raton! You can often find her on stage assisting charities as event emcee, on the courts working to improve her tennis game and on momma time enjoying each moment with her three young kiddos!

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