Okay, I’m going to get straight to it. Hands up, who has made it a New Years Resolution to lose weight and get fit? And hands up, who has had it on their list for so many years that it has become a written ‘piece of the furniture’?
If I could see your raised hands I’d be betting on many, many hands being waved around right now! Nearly all of us at some stage will have done this, me included.
However, according to statistics, the good intentions rarely last. By the end of week one, or three, if you’re lucky, you’ve probably lost a little weight but you’re fed up, miserable and hungry. You tell yourself you’ve been so good that you can indulge a little. You feel guilty, indulge a little more and before you know it the diet has been ditched until summer looms, on goes the cycle and BAM, it’s back on the list for the next year! Sound familiar?
I get it, it’s hard, dieting is really hard. This is because it focuses on what you are depriving yourself of, it’s about restrictions and giving up many of the things you love and quite often your staple foods. And the fact is fad diets are not sustainable!
You may have had some success in the past with typical diets such as The 5:2 Diet or The Cabbage Soup Diet. Lots of people do and there is in fact scientific evidence to support many of them. However, for most people they can’t support you long term, they are not sustainable. If you need a quick fix to lose a few pounds to fit into your wedding dress, then yes, a 2 week intensive diet may work. But what about after? You need to maintain that weight in a healthy, manageable and enjoyable way.
I could send you a magic rainbow pill to take every day with rainbow juice that will take away all the self-doubt, shift the weight and turbo boost your energy, BUT… Firstly, that rainbow pill just doesn’t exist! Secondly, what happens if they did but they ran out?? Poohf, at midnight you’d turn back into that ashamed, self-doubting former self!
SAY NO TO THE RAINBOW PILL AND TAKE CONTROL!
It probably took years to pile on the extra pounds so don’t be hard on yourself, don’t expect it all to go overnight. I promise it is much more effective to gradually introduce healthy changes that will become your new ‘norm’ and will stay with you a lifetime.
Here are a few tips to help get you motivated so that you can begin to make healthy changes that ARE sustainable, ARE healthy, ARE enjoyable and DON’T deprive you.
Seriously ask yourself if you are motivated to undertake this on your own. I hear it all the time, “I feel like a failure”. You are not a failure, it’s not about willpower! Some people can set their own goals and stay accountable to themselves and some can’t. (See my previous post ‘You are not a failure!’.) Some people are so busy looking after everyone else that they’d rather let themselves down than anyone else. Identify what will keep YOU on track. A friend who embarks on this with you? A financial commitment such as a gym membership, personal trainer or a coach like myself? Or maybe signing up for an event, such as a 5k run?
Schedule your health
How important is your health goal to you on a scale of 1 to 10? If it’s nearing the top end, register that. Start seeing this goal as a necessity, not something you’ll do when you have time, because there’ll never be enough time! Do what you’d do with any other important appt or task… schedule it. Start with making a commitment to just a 5 min exercise routine per day and make a 2 minute smoothie in place of biscuits. Put it in your diary EVERY day so that it becomes a part of your routine and build on it.
Don’t be afraid to experiment
I know ‘being afraid’ may sound a bit drastic but it’s actually quite common. Sometimes we can’t imagine our bodies or our lives any differently to how they are now so we allow the fear of the unknown to hold us back. We don’t try new recipes because we might not like it, we don’t join a fitness class because we might not enjoy it. But what if we do like it, what if we do enjoy it? And what’s the worst that can happen? You don’t enjoy that one meal much (my family will vouch for more than one failed experiment!)? You don’t go back to that class? Acknowledge your concern in your mind but don’t allow it to stand in the way of achieving your goals.
Don’t try to do it all at once
Trying to do it all too quickly is so overwhelming and will likely set you up to fail, especially if you are busy with work or children etc.
Identify two things that you’d like to change in your diet or routine and focus on them only for the first week. Add another one or two for the second week and so on. For example, one client was eating 2 burgers and chips for lunch several times a week. To tell her to take that out of her diet completely would have been quite a big ask as she enjoyed it and would have left a big hole to be replaced. Instead, to start with, I suggested she reduce it to one burger, keep the chips but a smaller portion and add a salad. A week or two later we would then look at improving it further. The concept is called ‘crowding out’ – instead of cutting something out, you gradually crowd it out by introducing gradual healthier elements.
SMALL STEPS LEAD TO BIG CHANGE
I hear what you’re saying “2 small changes doesn’t sound much”, but just think…over 12 weeks that’s 24 permanent changes you’ll have made! Now that’s a pretty radical overhaul of your diet and you WILL see changes in your weight, your shape and your energy and your health! Good luck. I wish you a happy and healthy new year!