Normally I write a positive and supportive blog for the New Year, to encourage readers as they embark on their healthy eating, exercise and/or weight loss regimes.
This year I’ve got something a little different – a list of home truths about health-related New Year Resolutions. Not because I want you to doubt your chances of success in 2016 but because there are a number of very common pitfalls, and if you can avoid them you stand a much better chance of achieving your health and fitness goals this time around.
- If you’re embarking on a plan because you hate yourself or your body you’ll struggle – healthy eating and exercise plans will only work if you do them because you like yourself, and want to nurture and nourish your body. If you do anything in a spirit of hate, anger or guilt you’re starting out with an unhappy mind set, and who wants that for the New Year? This year do it because you care about your own wellbeing.
- If you think you’re going to fix a bad diet using exercise, you’re turning your workouts into a punishment or at the very least a chore. You’ll never learn to love punishment and chores, and if you don’t at least like the exercise it will always be a struggle. Fixing your diet might be a less appealing option, but it’s much more important than exercise for weight loss.
- If you’re planning on counting calories make sure you’re not doing it just to give yourself permission to eat rubbish, because you can eat anything as long as you count the calories. If you eat rubbish you’ll always be at the mercy of blood sugar fluctuations and poor nutrition which will lead to a lack of energy which will lead to ….yes…eating more rubbish. This year, eat right, not just less.
- And less really isn’t better where food is concerned. Don’t think starving yourself will achieve anything other than an eventual binge and the associated guilt and regained weight. To function properly and to lose the fat it doesn’t need, your body needs nutrients.
- Still speaking of less, are you planning on doing a detox? Have a read of this article. What are you trying to rid yourself of? Most people I know who’ve done a detox have actually done it because it functions as a crash diet or a kick-start to a longer term weight loss plan, which is OK if it gives you a boost and a quick initial win, but it will also leave you hungry – not a good state in which to start a longer term weight loss plan. And don’t be surprised if when you go back to a more normal diet you put some of the ‘quick win’ weight straight back on, as some of what you lost will have been water.
- You can’t put your life on hold for long. So any diet which involves giving up alcohol, preparing complicated recipes, cutting out sugar or spending all day on Sunday filling Tupperware containers with food for the week ahead (which you probably won’t fancy come Tuesday) will only last as long as you put your life on hold to accommodate it. If you can’t make something permanent, don’t do it, it’s not for you. Make some small changes which you can maintain and add a few more when you’re ready.
- And finally, if you’re saying to yourself “this year will be different”, it won’t if you don’t do something different. What didn’t work in 2013, 2014 and 2015 will not work for 2016. Try a new approach.
If any of those truths resonated with you, please do have a think about whether you need to change your approach. Be honest with yourself, be kind to yourself and don’t set yourself up to fail.
Still thinking that if you can just summon up enough discipline and maintain it for long enough you can achieve your goals? Discipline, particularly around food, isn’t something you can switch on at will, or indeed control. In fact discipline is, to some extent, a fiction. I’ll be writing about that in my next blog.
For more practical, supportive advice on weight loss, healthy eating and getting fit, take a look at my books.