Have you been a bit too festive this silly season? If so you are probably starting to think about getting healthier for 2017. When we start to think about New Years Resolutions most of us are all too familiar with the following order of events.
December: I want to lose weight and tone up, stop eating carbohydrates, get up and run before work everyday. Hell I might even climb Mount Everest. Yep – I’ll definitely do Everest.
January: I’ve joined a gym, started dieting, exercised frantically and stopped drinking alcohol, successfully gone three weeks without a slither of carbohydrate – I QUIT SUGAR!
June: So I’ve quit the gym, stopped the diet, carb loading but the running has ceased. I’ll put off the changes until the following year as it’s winter, it’s cold and I’m tired, busy, can’t be bothered and am loving the hot chocolate.
If this order of events seems even slightly familiar here are some tips to work on to help you achieve sustainable and permanent diet and lifestyle changes.
Lifestyle changes have the most effective result when they are continued over a lifetime – not just for a year. This means that your resolutions/ goals need to be:
- Realistic: Rome wasn’t built in a day neither is 10kg of weight loss.
- Specific: What exactly are we trying to change? Our diet? Weight? Fitness? Chronic disease risk? Energy levels? Self esteem?
- Measureable: Everybody needs a baseline to track progress and improvements.
- Time bound: December creeps up rather quickly! Putting a time limit on changes will make you more accountable.
- Be ready to change: There is no point trying to make changes if your heart and your head aren’t in it. Start to think about why you want to change and the benefits associated with this. When you are ready, make some changes.
- Start slow and build from there: Don’t burn out either with extreme dieting or strict exercise regimes. It’s better to start slow and permanently change your habits then to crash and burn into a cycle of yo-yo dieting or an overuse injury.
- Don’t feel guilty! Throw out the “all or nothing thinking” and concentrate on the bigger picture. Lifestyle change is all about doing the right things (eating right and moving more) for 90% of the time. If you miss a day or two of exercise or eat a little more than you should some days don’t stress! But don’t let it become regular habit.
- Get help from an expert! If you are serious about making some changes then see someone who knows what they are doing! Remember making some small but effective lifestyle changes now can add years to your life, save you loads of money later and prevent the onset of many diseases and illness. In the bigger picture it really is a small price to pay.