Ahh, New Year, New You! After spending the last several weeks enjoying the holiday festivities and all of the delicious treats it has to offer, it’s no wonder that weight loss is one of the most common new years resolutions we make. Nothing helps us shove aside the guilt of overeating during the holidays like telling ourselves that things are going to be different come January 1st. The diet industry absolutely thrives on this new years resolution mindset, so they can sell their detoxes, supplements, and diet programs to guilt-ridden consumers, ready to get a jump start on their weight loss goal.
Unfortunately though, when it comes to maintaining New Years resolutions, the success rates are pretty terrible. A teeny 8% of people actually see their New Years resolutions through to the following year. I’m no mathematician, but those odds SUCK.
What gives? Why is it that so few people are able to make lasting changes, so that they can finally get off the hamster wheel of weight loss?
It’s because they’re going about this all WRONG.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard from people that they just need a “boost”, a “kickstart”, or something to “get them going” when it comes to their weight loss. This means some sort of detox, 21 day fix, or 4 week diet challenge to get them amped up and “on the right track”, like once they lose weight it’ll be SO EASY to just keep it off.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
The reality is, when you lose weight quickly it is more likely to creep back on once you slip back into your old habits, which is 100% inevitable if the focus of your weight loss was not changing your habits! DUH!
Think of it this way: You sign up for some 4 week diet and fitness “challenge” that’s totally going to change your life in 4 weeks (BS, but go on…) You don’t eat a single carb for a whole month, and workout EVERY. SINGLE. DAY until you want to puke. Are you really going to keep that up forever? No, that’s absurd. So after the challenge is over and you’ve been starving yourself for a month, guess what you’re going to do first? EAT! and as research has shown, you’re going to eat more than you did before. When we “diet” we actually increase our preoccupation with food, and tend to take in more calories when we have the chance than people who have never dieted. We find high calorie foods harder to resist, and keep eating even after we’re full. Pair that with a lower metabolic rate from all the calorie cutting and we have a perfect recipe for weight GAIN, and a further damaged relationship with food. (You can read more about the cycle of dieting here)
So, we sign up for another challenge, buy more detox products, and spend spend spend on more junk. It’s a never ending cycle, and the reason why the diet industry makes billions of dollars every year. They have us convinced that we can’t possibly be healthy without giving them all of our money.
So, here are my top tips for starting your new year off the right way, by keeping your money in your pocket and putting the focus on forming healthy habits that you’ll actually stick with well into NEXT year!
Shifting your focus from just losing weight to putting an emphasis on doing the healthy things is what it really comes down to. Start by making small changes to your daily routines that support a healthy lifestyle. Over time, these small changes become easier to maintain, and add up to an overall healthier you
1. When it comes to exercise, focus on just showing up
There is no perfect workout. There is no secret program that will get you any more fit any more quickly than just showing up. Find a way to move that you love, and that you look forward to doing.
Our brains are hardwired to avoid things that cause us pain and discomfort. This helps to keep us from doing things that are going to cause us harm. Trying to exercise at a capacity that is way beyond your fitness level is probably going to turn you off exercising. I hear from people all the time “I hate working out, it’s too hard!”
But guess what? You’re probably trying to exercise at a level that is way beyond what your body is ready to do. Exercise should feel GOOD, and invigorating, not like punishment (and exercise should NEVER be used as a way to pay for overeating!) We need to walk before we can run (and I mean that literally)
Exercise at the fitness level you’re at, not the level you want to be at!
The most important thing about activity is that you should like it so much that you want to do it again. Whether it’s a dance class, or walking, or skiing, or weight lifting, or swimming, or cycling, or skating, or running, or crossfit, or yoga, or any of the other hundreds of activities there are out there, find something that you LOVE. The results will come with time and consistency.
2. Skip the supplements and fad diets and get back to the basics of healthy eating
Let me be absolutely crystal clear about this: DETOXES AND WEIGHT LOSS SUPPLEMENTS ARE A COMPLETE WASTE OF TIME AND MONEY AND ARE USELESS JUNK. DO NOT BUY THEM
Got it? Fab!
Instead, spend that money on healthy food! Focus on cooking more meals at home, eating less packaged food, processed foods, and takeout. Invest in a slow cooker or instant pot to help save time if you feel like you’re too busy to cook every night. Discover new ways of cooking vegetables so you and your family actually enjoy eating them, and teach your kids to be confident in the kitchen.
You can skip the fad diets too. You don’t need to be on a ketogenic, gluten-free, raw, vegan, whole 30, or any other diet to be healthy. As humans we have evolved to eat all things, so eat closer to nature (less processed foods), and get as much variety as possible on your plate. It truly is as simple as that.
For meal ideas and recipes, follow me on Pinterest!
Click the links here to read more about the basics of healthy eating:
3. Don’t step on the scale
For how long?
Well, forever would be ideal. Doing the healthy things (eating well and exercising) means you’re healthy. Period. There is absolutely no value in knowing what you weigh, especially when you’re just beginning to form some healthy habits. When we get too caught up in weight loss, we lose sight of what is really important- health! We do all kinds of crazy (sometimes dangerous) things to get the scale to budge, but at the end of the day we may actually be less healthy (physically and mentally) vs having a healthy lifestyle despite maintaining a heavier weight.
Remember, quick weight loss usually isn’t sustainable, and modifying your daily routine that you may have developed over several decades doesn’t change overnight. Be kind to yourself and take things day by day. Set small goals (like cooking a homemade meal once per week to start, or exercising twice per week), rather than trying to make a huge lifestyle 180 on January 1st, full of unrealistic expectations. When we break up with the scale and the cycle of dieting, we can stop worrying about seeing results only in what the number on the scale tells us, we can feel satisfied that we are healthy individuals because we do the healthy things.
We are a product of our long-term daily habits, not a 4-week-BS-detox-challenge. Good health is not something that comes in a bottle, nor should it cost you your life savings (or force you to sell products just to be able to afford your own supply). The diet industry makes us think that being healthy has to be complicated so we need their products/books/challenges to be able to do it. In reality though we have all the tools we need right in front of us. Our own two hands to cook meals from simple ingredients, and our own two feet to get us moving.
So, instead of joining the 92% of new years resolution failures, why not do things a little differently this year?
Questions? Comments? Leave them below, or contact me!