Developing healthy habits: Perseverance, please

Time flies when you're getting healthy!

That, says "Early Show" co-anchor Erica Hill, is her new saying, five weeks into the six-week "Erica Hill Experiment," in which she's trying to learn how to fit a healthier lifestyle into her busy life.

Viewers can learn right along with Erica, who's been getting pointers from CBS News Medical Correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton, Dr. Amanda Baten, a licensed clinical and nutritional psychologist, and Sidney Wilson, a Wilhelmina Fitness model, celebrity personal trainer and up-and-coming actor.

Erica's efforts have clearly affected her energy level and relationships with family and friends.

With the "experiment" entering the homestretch - its final week - Erica concedes doing the right things, health-wise, as often as she can hasn't been "as easy as I thought it would be."

"We're often told making habits of new routines takes about a month," Hill reported to viewers Friday. "Well, I've spent the past five weeks squeezing much of the advice believed to lead to a healthier life into my average day -- and I've found it's not so easy to get it all in."

Hill told Baten in Baten's office, "I am still having a hard time trying to fit everything in. I'd be lying if I told you otherwise."

"So there's room for improvement!" Baten responded.

Erica's been striving to incorporate the daily recommended doses of a diet set to the government food pyramid, 30 minutes of exercise, and a restful 8 hours of sleep each night into her life.

"I think I'm sleeping a bit better," she told Baten. "I have been conscious of trying to get to bed earlier ... and getting better quality sleep."

"I don't think Erica probably will get 8 hours of sleep," Baten conceded, "but I do think she can improve to six hours. ... It's difficult to get more hours based on the reality of her life."

One of those realities, Erica pointed out, is her youngest son, Sawyer, who still doesn't sleep through the night, though he probably will soon - he just turned a year old.

"When I began this experiment, my energy would plummet by noon," Hill says. "Then, I started to monitor and modify my diet. I found that starting my day with green tea - I actually prefer it (over coffee). It's lighter, more refreshing, but it also makes me feel more awake.

"I think eating certain foods, like making sure I have oatmeal in the morning, a banana right before I go to the workout, maybe even eating the yolk of the egg -- who knows ... have helped me sustain that energy throughout the day."

Erica's first workouts in the experiment, under Wilson's direction, left her "breathless," she says. "I even wondered how I could squeeze a new fitness routine into an already busy life."

Then, Wilson showed her she could work out just about anywhere, at any time." He also taught her exercises to help her breathe a little more easily while exercising.

"If I could get to yoga twice a week," Erica says, "I think that would be a huge improvement, not just from an exercise standpoint, but from a mental health standpoint.

"Getting my fitness and diet requirements into the average day often leaves time for little else -- including much need time with friends," Hill noted.

Then, she and her very good friend, Jamie, decided to go running together, giving them time to catch up and exercise at the same time.

It was, says Erica, "the kind of healthy lifestyle multi-tasking that proved to be exactly what I needed."

How's Erica doing, five weeks in with one to go? "I'm pretty much where I've been for the last three weeks," she says. "Sleep might be a lost cause for the moment, but my diet and exercise are right on-target."

On the show on Friday, Baten and Hill discussed how far Erica's come and how far she has to go. To see the interview, click here.

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