Resolving to lose weight in 2019? Get tips from CHRISTUS Fitness Experts

CHRISTUS Recognizes  Healthy Weight Week

The New Year means new beginnings, a new you and a healthy weight. Healthy Weight Week (January 19-24) focuses on making wellness a lifestyle. Proper planning can make the difference between finding oneself eating quinoa or cookies. Consuming nutritious foods, living actively and feeling positive about yourself and others often is the key to living a long and healthy life.

So, do you want to make 2019 your healthiest year yet?

Here’s some expert advice from some of CHRISTUS Health’s most respected fitness, wellness and health experts.

Jared Graham, CHRISTUS Good Shepherd Institute for Health Living Fitness Manager (Longview)

“Every January we see a flood of people determined to kick off their year on the right foot and prioritize health. Those who turn the January excitement into a sustained lifestyle of wellness almost always set S.M.A.R.T. goals for themselves.

A common New Year’s resolution of “I want to lose weight,” is a commendable goal, but making it S.M.A.R.T. will help it stick throughout the year. Such a goal could be, “I want to lose 20 pounds within the next four months by exercising at least three days each week, eating vegetables instead of sugary foods, and being more active with my children.

Anyone can refine their goals for 2019 by making sure each goal meets five simple S.M.A.R.T. criteria:


When deciding goals, you should be straightforward and emphasize what you want to happen.

This will help you to focus efforts and clearly define what you want to achieve. Answer the questions what, why and how in order to ensure the goals selected are specific, clear and easy.

Example: 20 pounds; more energy; better fitting clothes.


If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. Choose a goal with measurable progress so you can

see the change occur. Show a specific target to be measured. When you measure your progress,

you stay on track, reach target dates and enjoy the experience of achieving set goals.

Example: Weekly weigh-in; Fit of clothes


Know your attitude, abilities, skills and financial capacity in order to set goals that are in personal reach; otherwise you may not commit to doing them. Instead of saying, “I’ll lose 20 pounds in one week,” aim for losing one pound in a week and when you achieve that, aim for losing one more the next week.

Example: Four months to lose 20 pounds means losing just 1.25 pounds each week.


“Realistic” goals mean “do-able” goals. “Do-able” goals mean the learning curve is not a vertical

slope and the skills needed to do the work are available and the project fits with the overall strategy and goals. A realistic project may push the skills and knowledge of the goal better, but it shouldn’t break them. Devise a plan that makes meeting the goal realistic. But always be sure to set the bar high enough for a satisfying achievement.

Example: Increasing fruit and vegetable and decreasing sugars in diet and three days of exercise


Set a time frame for your goal. Putting an end point on your goals gives you a clear target to work

toward. Without a time limit, there’s no urgency to start taking action now. Time must be measurable, attainable and realistic.

Example: Four months”

jared graham
Jared Graham at the CHRISTUS Good Shepherd Institute for Healthy Living

Penny Merriman, CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital Kleberg  The Colston Family Physical Rehabilitation and Wellness Center (Kingsville)

“Wellness is inside and out. Wellness is when your body looks good, but feels good too.

The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggest the average American adult exercise for two hours and 30 minutes per week. We know that studies show those who work out in groups or with friends are more likely to get in shape and stay in shape.

At the Colston Wellness Gym, we are a group setting. We have something for everyone at any fitness level. There are low impact classes, high intensity cardio and machines that will work out the entire body. We have programs for everyone from students to pregnant women to seniors. The daily sessions of Zumba and walking groups and cardio hour are just a few of the classes the gym holds every week.

It’s the most common resolution we tell ourselves each New Year: “This year I’m going to get in shape.” This time of year we gear up to help our neighbors keep those sorts of New Year’s resolutions, and shed those holiday pounds. It takes more than gym for people to get into shape, it takes a dedicated support system. At the Colston Wellness Gym, the weights and equipment are just the beginning. It’s the people, and the programs that can help you reach your goals.

The Colston Wellness Gym is home to a Kinesis Wall with grips, cables and weight stacks, exercise equipment and circuit training.  There’s state-of-the-art exercise equipment to a quarter-size Olympic indoor pool, indoor walking track, fitness and nutrition consultants.

We also offer a fun 5k every year. It is a race for everyone’s skill level and doesn’t require running. We do this so people can celebrate their health and others’ well-being, too.”

penny merriman
Penny Merriman and her team offer wellness and rehabilitation services to thousands in South Texas.

Mike Riley, Manager of CHRISTUS St. Michael Health Fitness Center (Texarkana)

“I’ve been part of the CHRISTUS St. Michael Health and Fitness Center since the opening of this facility in 1993. You can imagine what sorts of diet and fitness fads I’ve seen people try over the years.

Losing weight isn’t easy, but there’s no doubt it’s worth it. To lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you eat. When your weight is in a healthy range the benefits are enormous.

  • You are less likely to develop diabetes, heart disease, certain cancers, gallstones, osteoarthritis, breathing problems and sleep apnea.
  • Your body more efficiently circulates blood.
  • Your fluid levels are more easily managed.
  • You may feel better about yourself and have more energy to make other positive health changes.

Here are some tips we recommend to our members and others to maintain a good healthy weight.

Increase daily activity: Combine a cardiovascular workout with some muscle strengthening. PACE YOURSELF! Aim to exercise at least 30 minutes every day

Dial down the screen time: TV and screen time can be a leading predictor of obesity. For every 2 hours viewed daily, the risk of obsesity increases by 25% in some cases.

Keep yourself accountable: A lot of times a workout or food log is helpful for people. Keep track of everything you eat and drink and how and when you exercise. A lot of people use social media to help themselves stay on track. Friends often help in the weight loss journey

Skip the soda: Replace sugary drinks with water. Sports drinks also offer zero nutritional value.

Everything in moderation: Control your food potions. Be aware of eating habits and triggers. We all have our roadblocks and favorite excuses just be aware of what those might be.

Sleep right: A new study from the American College of Cardiology found sleeping less than six hours every night could increase your risk of cardiovascular disease. Lack of sleep also increases cravings for unhealthy foods.

Most fad diets and quick weight loss schemes don’t work because they don’t help you learn how to maintain a healthy weight over the long haul. We encourage not the fad diets at CHRISTUS St. Michael but taking those first steps to better health. We’re here with indoor and outdoor spaces and staff members who are committed to helping others live healthier and happier lives.”

mike riley (2) (2)
Mike Riley at CHRISTUS St. Michael Health & Fitness Center