Kids are headed back to school for a fresh start, so why not embark on your own new beginning – with a diet and exercise overhaul?

Fall is the perfect time to recommit to your healthy eating and exercise goals. After all, it’s a time of fresh beginnings…and a chance to wipe the slate clean after a few months of “letting loose” at summer barbecues and pool parties.

Do a personal inventory.

The first step is to do a personal inventory of what needs changing. If you think you might have gained a few pounds, step on a reliable scale and note the number. If it’s gone up – or if your weight is okay but you’ve been feeling sluggish and moody lately – it may be that your eating and exercise plan have veered off track. In that case, it’s time to refocus on delicious, quality food and plug more physical activity into your day.

Pinpoint the problem foods.

The second step is to make a list of problematic foods you’ve been eating that may have contributed to your extra padding or fatigue, and to create a “toss/revise” list. For example, comfort foods like pepperoni pizza, bagels with cream cheese, and burgers with fries are fine to eat once in a while, but if you can’t resist having them regularly, I’d go cold turkey and put them on the “toss” list. If you’ve been a little too liberal with cocktails, ice cream, and other summery treats, you may want to put those on hold for a bit, too.

Revamp recipes. 

On the other hand, you could also put a new slim-style spin on high-cal favorites and place them on the “revise” list. For example, enjoy pizza with thin crust and plenty of vegetable toppers and prepare lean turkey burgers with baked sweet potato fries. The idea is to find ways to eat healthy, without giving up the foods you love.

Get moving.

Finally, recommit to moving more every day. The most important bit of exercise advice I’ve gotten came from a trainer friend of mine: Do what you like to do. In other words, if the mere sight of a treadmill makes you want to scream, walk on by and find an activity that makes you smile, like biking outdoors, doing a cardio dance DVD, or taking group classes at a local fitness center.


Take advantage of autumn’s bounty and grab these delicious produce items the next time you hit the farmer’s market or grocery store.