A New Year Of New Resolutions
It’s the new year, and once again you’ve scribbled the words “weight loss” on your list of resolutions. You’ve promised yourself this year is going to be different. There’s only one problem. Statistics show that if you are like 80% of most people who said the same thing, you won’t even make it past the second week of February with your resolution, and there is a good chance you will actually gain weight this year.
Countless Mondays have started off with a new diet and great intentions, only to have the weekend completely derail any well-meaning plans. A girls’ night on Friday, soccer with the kids on Saturday, birthday party on Sunday … ugh. You tell yourself that you will start again tomorrow (yet another Monday), because next week should be easier. Sound familiar?
This type of pattern is mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausting, not to mention frustrating and ineffective. So how do you beat the statistics? How can you put yourself in the 20% of folks who finally check this box off their list of resolutions for good? Here are five tips to get you on the path to success.
SET REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS: If someone tells you that losing weight will be “easy,” chances are they didn’t lose it using a healthy or sustainable method. In order to lose weight, you are going to have to make changes to your diet and exercise regime … and it is going to take time. Period. It doesn’t matter what program or system you incorporate; this should always be the basis of a healthy transformation.
There will always be resistance to change in the beginning as you set out to form new habits. There are going to be days you don’t want to exercise. There are going to be days that you would rather eat fries than salad. You are human. Expect these challenges. Expect that you will not get it right 100% of the time. Every activity and every meal is a choice. As long as you are doing your best and consistently making good choices, those occasional slip-ups will not be the reason you fail. Just make sure you don’t use one mistake as your reason to sabotage your next choice.
FIND A SUPPORT SYSTEM: Once you start your health journey, you may be surprised to find those closest to you who don’t share in your healthy lifestyle making jokes about what you are or are not eating or showing disapproval of your time in the gym. If you find this to be the case, remind them how important this is to you and create space until your habits are stronger than their approval. Surround yourself with people who are on a similar journey or already live a healthy lifestyle. You are going to need this support system on those rough days, so find them and utilize them.
START SMALL: Once we decide that we are going to lose weight, we often start listing off all the things we can’t have – no more soda, no more chocolate, no more this, no more that. While shifting to a healthy lifestyle will require you to remove a lot of things from your daily diet, it’s important that you tackle one bad habit at a time. You are not going to magically wake up on a Monday and not crave unhealthy foods no more than you will run a marathon your first week of training if you’ve never run before. Focus on making small, consistent changes. Swap out water for soda, turkey burger for beef; slowly increase from a walk to a run, start with a beginner class. Small wins will keep you motivated, especially in the beginning when your progress isn’t as evident.
UNDERSTAND HOW YOU GOT HERE: In order to successfully lose weight, and keep it off, you need to figure out why you gained it in the first place. My clients often tell me they know exactly how they got here – eating junk! While that seems like the logical answer, the truth we want to get to is why you were eating these things to begin with. The reasons for eating poorly and not exercising varies greatly. Sometimes, it’s the misconception that we can’t afford to eat healthy (it’s more affordable than you think). Sometimes, it can be the perception we don’t have time to workout (everyone has the same 24 hours). Perhaps meal planning is overwhelming to you or maybe you take comfort in food and drinks when things go wrong. Whatever your reason may be, it’s imperative to identify what they are and what triggers your poor eating habits in order to address them. If you don’t take steps to change your relationship with food or shift your mindset from diet to a healthy lifestyle, you aren’t addressing the root cause – and you will find yourself back at square one until you do.
CREATE A VISION BOARD: It’s easy to get caught up in all the things we can’t have and start to feel overwhelmed. One way to help keep your eye on the prize is to literally display it where you can see it everyday. A vision board is a great way to document your goals and the reasons why you are making this change. How will you feel? What will you do differently once you lose the weight? Where will you go? What will you wear? These are all things that can trigger emotions and help motivate you to keep going when you don’t always feel like it. Determine these things and document it on your board.
Just remember, no matter the size of your goal or how long it takes you to get there, progress is progress – and if you consistently make choices in alignment with your goals and implement these tips, you, too, can join the 20% who make it happen.
Owner of A Moment’s Grace, empowering women inside and out, through her photography and health and wellness services and networking and community events.