How many times have we made "Eat Healthier Exercise More" a New Year Resolution and how many times has this resolution been broken or revised?
Staying healthy is fundamental to our happiness and that of our loved ones. Why have we, being responsible accountable adults, repeated failed in what is arguably the foundation of our existence? Our subconscious association of ripped bodies and tasteless green grass diets with what a healthy lifestyle is about certainly sets us up for failure even before we start. Learn more about some fitness/training misconceptions by clicking here.
Your intelligent mind immediately comes up with reasons why a healthy lifestyle is unattainable:
- how many hours do I need to spend in the gym to get a six pack?
- how can I survive without red meat?
- I need to go hungry all the time.... how do I function?
Here are some practical strategies to make your 2016 New Year Resolution achievable:
1. Have specific and measurable health and fitness goals
Rather than having abstract general healthy eating and exercise more as your New Year Resolution, have progressive measurable, mini goals spanning the 12 month period.
- lose 5 kgs by March 2016, maintain weight or increase lean muscle mass by at least 4% by June 2016
- lose 2 cms from the waist by March 2016, maintain and then start losing a further 2 cm by end of 2016
- start by including 2 servings of fruits and/or vegetables per meal. Examples of 1 such serving are: 1 medium sized fruit, 1 cup of raw leafy vegetables
- slowly increase the number of servings of fruits and vegetables until you get to 10 per day by the end of 2016
- attend 2 strength, cardio training sessions and 2 yoga sessions each week. Block out time in your calendar and accord them the same importance as client meetings. Remember you are no less important than your clients.
2. Announce your New Year Resolution to your family and friends
Post your New Year Resolution on social media and invite your family and friends to hold you accountable. Keep a blog update of your progress or difficulties you encounter during your journey.
3. Plan you rewards ahead of each milestone attainment
Have something to look forward to at specific milestone achievements such as a nice dinner out, weekend trips, celebration with friends and family.
4. Learn not to despair if periodic targets are missed
Focus rather on the adherence to the plan. Remember there is no one size fits all fitness and diet plan. If the plan has not contributed to achieving your health and fitness goals, reassess both your diet and exercise plan. This is usually where professionals come in. Seek advice if required and remember to stay away from crash diets (as they all work to lose weight in the short term by shocking your body and disrupting homeostasis only to make the body absorb and crave for more when you get off the diet). Make weight management a long term plan.
5. Find a training buddy who shares your commitment to change
It's best to have a family member as your training buddy so that meal planning will not turn out to be a nightmare. Join a training group to work out with other like minded and committed individuals.
6. Have a training plan in place now
Being prepared will give you a head start into your new fitness and health routine. Leap into the New Year with a realistic and workable plan.
7. Start practising mindful eating
Try some mindful eating exercises and learn them here: http://www.livingwell.org.au/mindfulness-exercises-3/3-eating-mindfulness/
8. Rewire your mind to aid habit forming
It is always hard to change existing or adopt new habits. One way of re-wiring your mind to align with you goals is to constantly remind yourself of what you want to achieve. Write out a list of your health and fitness goals (or actions of implementation) each morning on a piece of paper and keep that in your pocket throughout the day. You will be surprised how your subconscious mind with look out for ways to achieve those set goals and guide you in the right direction.
As health and fitness professionals, we are on hand to assist with any nutritional (meal planning), training and goal setting support as required. Contact us on 8528 1001 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Just as you wouldn't throw your toddler into the deep end of a pool and hope that he/she would pick up swimming skills, you shouldn't play Russian Roulette with your health by trying fad diets or DIY training. Life is too short to waste time trying all the "fool-proof" diets on the market or training without knowing what is appropriate for your body and mind now. Get it right, get it done, learn how to control and nurture your body and mind for yourself and your loved ones.
The writer is the holder of Precision Nutrition (US) Level I Certification and a Certificate in Sports Nutrition.