by Monika Divisova

    With the beginning of the new year many of us are making plans and even looking back and deciding what we are going to do better in this ?newborn? year. Besides plans about spending more time with your family, there is always a wish on the list concerning your body. You maybe want to stop dining at McDonald?s with your kids (but they love it so much). Or you wish to get rid of these extra 15 kilos (which you have gained since you got married) or just do something that makes you feel more fit and energetic (that is called sport, but you don?t really want to speak this word out loud).
    Let?s have a look on a few possibilities, which can help you to fulfill your wishes.

    Healthier food choices don?t have to taste bad. It?s more about making the right choices and learning a few tricks how to include healthy food into your cooking / snacking.
    You can start with excluding the white (refined) sugar from you diet and replacing it with fruit sugar (grape) or brown sugar. These alternatives are not taking away important nutrients from your body, compared to normal white sugar. Another option is to sweeten up your life with organic marmalades, where you find that apple juice is used instead of sugar. You can use wheat- or rice malt for cooking or baking. Raisins and dry apricots are great options for your kid?s desert. You need to soak them in hot water for 30 min and than blend it. You will get a very sweet fruit purée, which can be mixed with white yogurt ? instead of using artificially colored and sweetened yogurts for kids.
    By applying this small changes, your bodies will get a big relieve and your family will not even notice it (unless you share your excitement with them).
    There are a few very good quality organic food stores in Prague, where you can get all these sweet options. They have a whole range of organic and health food produced in the Czech Republic as well as imported goodies. In Czech language the word organic is expressed as BIO. The controlled organic products have a green ?zebra? logo on the label. You will find some addresses of high quality healthy food stores at the end of this article.

    Find an expert, who can help you to start in the proper way. Do you have an accountant to take care of the bills in your company? Do you call your lawyer when you want to check your new agreement? Yes you do! (What a silly question).
    If you are planning to finally start with some sport for any of those reasons – you want to feel better, have more energy, lose weight, keep yourself in shape, slow the aging, stay fit, prevent diseases ? and if you have not done much of it in the last years, consider to meet a professional before you injure yourself in the gym. A consultation with the physiotherapist is the first step. He will tell you what is the condition of your back and joints. In case there is not everything in the right places you need to start to exercise under supervision. This takes few months until your muscle structure will strengthen and then you can start with other forms of exercises.
    Don?t be afraid to go to the gym. The days, when the only one you could meet there were ?big-sweaty-muscle? guys, are gone. Many of the new gyms you can find in town are created for fitness and wellness. If it?s done the right way it can be the easiest, direct and most efficient way to develop the specific muscles groups and tackle the problematic areas (belly, hips, back). Find a personal trainer and take lessons for 3-5 months at least. In this time you will be able to learn the basics and later on continue by yourself, according to the personal plan. Fitness in combination with other aerobic and strengthening sport activity (jogging, Pilates, yoga or Thai chi) creates the balanced sport plan, which can make a huge difference in way you feel and look.
    Before you sign up a one-year membership card you should check: 1/ if the gym has a good cardio zone (bikes, treadmills, ellipticals, steppers); 2/ if you like the environment (not too big or dark); 3/ if it is comfortably reachable from your home.

    Lose weight for the last time. In case you belong to the group of people who are starting to diet every Monday (or every morning), make this year the ?final one?! To get support from your best friend is very important, but in most of the cases it doesn?t work. Get yourself professional help from nutritionist or weight management coach. He/she will help you to create a personal meal plan according to your lifestyle and possibilities. There are many healthy and efficient weight management plans, but every person needs to adjust it according to his lifestyle, health condition and possibilities. With the help of an experienced dietitian (who will cooperate with your doctor) you can get back to your ideal weight and maintain it.

    Give your kids a better start. You may have noticed that lately some louder public voices are questioning the way we feed our kids. Favorite UK cook Jamie Oliver is pointing out the low quality food in school canteens and US doctors are commenting the cookies and chocolate advertisements in television during kids programs. That?s great! But the place where to start to teach children to make choices is your kitchen.
    When your boy was little he couldn?t recognize the weather and he was running around in the pullover although it was very hot. He grew up and you tought him what to wear when it is hot outside. The same way it works with food choices. The child does not know what is healthy and what is not! You are the one who is teaching him that.
    There are many interesting books and websites out there. Don?t believe that the food you find in your hypermarket is the best you can give to your family, although the TV adds are telling you this every night. Become responsible for getting at least a basic overview and be aware about your options! You don?t need to become the macrobiotic freak, but you can prepare your kid a whole-wheat sandwich with delicious tofu spread and lettuce instead of white roll with butter, salami and Snickers.

    Interesting contacts and addresses

    Albio ? organic stores and restaurant with the great kid?s corner (Truhlarska 18, Praha 1; Dejvicka 26, Praha 6; Namesti 14 rijna 17, Praha 5).

    Countrylife ? organic stores and health fast food canteens (Melantrichova 15, Praha 1; Jungmanova 1, Praha 1).

    Rozmaryna ? on-line organic shop, only in Czech language ?

    Interesting www:,,,,

    Who is Monika Divišova?

    Monika Divisova (1977) has been working as a nutritionist and weight management counselor in the past 9 years. Her work is based on lifestyle changes instead of short term diet plans. This is the reason why her clients are able to loose excess weight and maintain it as well. She is creating personal meal- and weight management plans for people with demanding lifestyles (stress, traveling, work) and helping life-long-dieters finally reach their optimum weight. You can contact her on