Here we are starting November 2020. Many of us have spent more time at home than any other year in the recent past due to required or self-imposed quarantines resultant from the Coronavirus epidemic. That means for the average person they may have possibly added on anywhere from 10-20 pounds or more of body weight. The reason for this is a simple one. Changes in our daily routines frequently meant less exercise. This was caused by the closure of gyms and many social events, which included physical exercise, that were shut down for public health safety. Also, because of more time spent at home, people, in general, spent more time eating. This was due to many people working at home and spending more time on sedentary activities such as TV viewing, social media, and computer games. So, here we are with Thanksgiving and Christmas around the corner, with eating larger meals inevitable.

How can we begin to start getting back in shape and develop new healthier habits for 2021?

1) The first suggestion I would make is to begin a simple exercise routine. The reason I say ‘simple’ is that if you start slowly with something simple you will be more likely to continue. Also, your body can adjust to the activity with less physical discomfort. For example, consider walking, which is great for your body and your brain, and increase your walking slowly. After my brain surgery, as chronicled in my book, "Supernatural Rescue: From Broken to Beautiful," my doctor was adamant about me beginning to walk following surgery, even though I had other major issues. Many people underestimate the value of walking and its many benefits for the brain, body health, and weight loss.

2) See your doctor for a health checkup and blood work. Unfortunately, as we add on additional weight, our health can suffer. A close friend of mine who was previously in good health has now experienced high blood pressure and some heart problems after being more sedentary for the past year. Your doctor may recommend changes in supplements, medication, or even specific exercise regimens to benefit your total physical wellbeing.

3) Consider a new plan for healthy eating. This can be different for each person. Some people like a more structured diet plan, while others prefer just to decrease their portion sizes. Again, if in doubt what is best for you individually, don’t be afraid to consult your doctor. After my brain surgery, my weight shot up to about 190 pounds due to large amounts of certain medications and slow physical rehab. For me personally to lose 40 pounds I focused on a diet to reduce inflammation. Not only did I lose weight, but it greatly helped my physical pain. If one eating plan doesn’t work, don’t be afraid to have a plan B and try something new.

4) Enlist the help of others. Remember that you are not alone. If it’s hard to go it alone, find a walking partner or even an online support group to encourage you in your new efforts. Also, if you are a believer, remember that you have God on your side, and He is always only a prayer away! Scripture tells us with faith, "We can do immeasurably more than we think or imagine."

5) Keep a journal to track your results over a six-month period. It is important to give yourself credit for all your positive changes. Remember to list all the benefits you have gained from making changes to become a healthier you! Be patient with yourself. Change doesn't happen overnight, but everything you are doing is worth it to become a healthier, happier you! Keep up the good work!

Author's Bio: 

Linda S. Plunkett, PhD, is the author of Supernatural Rescue: From Broken to Beautiful, a book written about her having undergone brain surgery after a tumor the size of a tennis ball was discovered growing in the frontal lobe of her brain. A licensed counselor, Linda offers private, one-on-one, online (video) counseling sessions at