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Health and fitness dominate resolutions in Albany

Personal improvements on minds of Southwest Georgians as 2014 begins

Linda Rix of Americus plans to increase her Bible study time each day, she says. She also is determined to lose 30 pounds by 2015. (Staff photo: Jim West)

Linda Rix of Americus plans to increase her Bible study time each day, she says. She also is determined to lose 30 pounds by 2015. (Staff photo: Jim West)

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Tamira Hawkins says she's aiming for a "better me" by eating right, including the elimination of fast food and fried foods. (Staff photo: Jim West)

ALBANY — On the first day of 2014, folks in Albany and around the nation were ringing in the new. For many that meant after-Christmas sales at Albany Mall. For others, the greatest of the “new” won’t happen without a nudge — gentle or otherwise. The fact is, New Year’s resolutions are easy to make. It’s keeping them that’s hard.

“I want to work of a better me,” Tamira Hawkins said. “I’m starting to eat right and exercise. No fried foods, no more McDonalds or Burger King. Grease is gone.”

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Carolyn Stroup of Americus intends to eat smaller, healthier portions for each meal. (Staff photo: Jim West)

Hawkins said she already had a membership in a local gym, but prefers walking outdoors when the weather’s right — once each morning and afternoon for at least an hour, total. She also plans to be “bold,” and to speak up for herself more forcefully, she said.

Hawkins isn’t alone in concentrating her resolution will-power toward health and fitness. Carolyn Stroup of Americus intends to eat smaller, healthier portions for each meal so she’s more likely to be around long-term for her teenage children. For Stroup, healthy eating includes less sugar and carbohydrates and even substituting venison, or deer meat, for beef and pork.

“It makes awesome hamburger helper” Stroup said, “which probably isn’t too good for you, as well as chili and spaghetti and tacos.”

Stroup said a favorite aunt of hers died recently, as well as a young friend. One of her resolutions is to study meaningful parts of her Bible in hopes of coming to a greater acceptance of the ways of God, she said.

“I don’t understand, exactly,” Stroup said, “but my resolution is to trust more in the Lord. He sees the big picture and I see the little picture.”

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Jaxon Riley examines the remains of one of his final giant pretzels at the Albany Mall food court. (Staff Photo: Jim West)

Jaxson Riley was at the Mall food court Wednesday, finishing off a giant pretzel — one of his last, he said. His major goal for 2014 is to fall below 200 pounds.

“I never make resolutions, but this year I’m going to lose weight,” Riley said. My first goal is to lose 20 pounds. I want to get in the ‘100 zone.’ I plan to do that by working out at the YMCA. I’ve already been going there pretty regularly, and now I’ve signed up for some sort of class where I’ll be doing extreme exercises. They’ll monitor my diet and all that. A lot of people are polite and say I’m fat, but the medical term is obese.”

Goalguy.com offers a list of tips for those who are serious about accomplishing their resolutions. Those tips include the following advice.

— Focus on one resolution at a time.

— Persist until you’ve completed your resolution. If you’re sidetracked or fall behind schedule, refocus, come back to it. Just don’t give up.

_ Have a clear and specific purpose. For a dream to become a goal it must be specific, the website states. Be clear on what you want to achieve.

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Lee Portis said he’ll be eating at home more often, to save money and to be healthier overall. He also plans to exercise more. (Staff photo: Jim West)

— Put it in writing. Describe precisely what you want, how you will earn it, when you will have it, and the benefits you’ll receive from achieving your resolution.

Linda Rix of Americus plans to increase her Bible study time each day, she says. She also is determined to lose 30 pounds by 2015.

“The hard part of resolutions is sticking with them through the year. If you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail,” Rix said. “My plan is to lose the weight by exercising to a particular dance routine we have on our Wii. I’ll get my daughter, Rebecca, to do it with me.”

Rix said she has an application on her phone where she writes down what she eats each day, with information on how well it has sustained her.

“That helps me make better choices,” Rix said.

Lee Portis said he’ll be eating at home more often, to save money and to be healthier overall. He also plans to dust off his old exercise equipment and get more dedicated.

“They say that only 7 or 8 percent of the people who make resolutions stick to them throughout the year,”Portis said. “I’m going to be a part of that 8 percent.”