Losing weight, and getting fit and healthy may be one of your New Years Resolutions. The idea of becoming a whole new you is incredibly appealing. But this might not be the first time you’ve made this resolution.
Changing your body shape and weight can be difficult to achieve and maintain. Losing weight and then successfully keeping it off is more about planning and organisation than willpower. Here we discuss some of the important ways that you can make New Years resolutions that are actually achievable.
Choose Actions Instead of Results
Making a resolution to cook healthy meals at least three nights a week, to bring a packed lunch to work instead of heading to the local takeaway shop, or to exercise for thirty minutes every weekday are much easier to stick to long term. A goal of “lose twenty kilograms” leaves far too much wiggle room. The more specific your goals, and also realistic the more likely it is that you will continue these behaviours long term.
Exercise plays an important part in your goals to get healthy, and also in maintaining weight loss once you have achieved it. You can improve your fitness by making gradual increases in either the duration (how long you work out for), the resistance (how heavy your weights are), intensity (running faster, doing more reps in the same amount of time) or frequency (how often you workout).
All great in theory, but not likely if you are hating every minute of it. Try to choose form of exercise that are enjoyable, or at the very least neutral. Hiking in nature or walking with a friend you can chat to. Dancing. Martial arts. Yoga. Aqua aerobics. Bike riding.
It’s up to you to decide what will work best in your routine. Consistency is key, so find times during the week that you know you can really commit to. Morning sessions do tend to be easier to stick to, as a bad, tiring, or stressful day can make it harder to drum up the motivation to start exercising.
Forget Healthy, Go Whole
Just because something is deemed as a health food doesn’t mean it’s appropriate for a weight management plan. Many so called “health foods” are highly processed, and high in sugar (oh but it’s natural) and calories. Changing your mindset to choosing whole foods mostly derived from plants is a great strategy.
Fruit, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, should make up the majority of your plate. Then include moderate amounts of lean protein including fish, iron rich meat, poultry and eggs. Throw in some low fat dairy or non-dairy alternatives as well. Avoid processed foods as much as possible.
If you can, try to prepare meals from scratch. This means that you will know exactly what is going into your meals and will be avoiding hidden sugar, salt, and unhealthy fats. You may notice that while the first few days might seem difficult as your body adjusts (almost like a sugar withdrawal), you start to feel less tired, bloated, and irritable in general soon after this.
Success is in the Process
Take notice of the positive changes that you are making along the way. Have you cooked more healthy meals at home this week than last week? Acknowledge this achievement. Are you feeling less short of breath on your morning walk? This is progress! Celebrate it!
Actively look for positive changes, and allow yourself a moment to feel proud of yourself for them. Keeping a diary of your habits can be a great way to reflect on how far you have come. You might not realise how much your diet has improved until you see what your diet was like on paper 6 months ago.
Try not to measure your success by the results on the scales. A feeling of hopeful anticipation can lead to disappointment and frustration if it doesn’t reflect our efforts. Not exactly great motivation to continue making healthy changes.
Try to limit weigh-ins to once a month, and look for the total trend rather than one weight. If over a few months your weight is going down on average you are on the right track. If not, keeping working on those healthy changes and the rest will follow.
Of course if you are looking for more of a kickstart than a gradual process we would love to welcome you to one our our weight loss retreats. Find out more about the program here.