New Year’s Diet Resolution... Solutions!
Goodbye 2017, WELCOME 2018, time for New Year’s Diet Resolutions…
According to YouGov research¹, nearly two thirds of Britons (63%) are planning to make New Year resolutions. When asked which, if any, New Year resolutions they were planning to make, 35% of respondents to a 2015 YouGov poll said losing weight, while 33% wanted to get fitter and 31% wanted to eat more healthily.
But, according to University of Scranton², only 8% of people are successful in achieving their resolution.
So why is this, why are people so concerned about their health at this time of year, and how can you make sure you stick to your goals for a long term change?
After Christmas overindulgence we feel even more accountable to start a new diet and fitness programme. The truth is that what makes us gain weight is not what we do between Christmas and New-year, but the other 358 days between New-year and Christmas.
A new year with new hopes and new beginnings and time to flip a page. Many of us turn to the latest fad diets at this time of the year looking for the quickest results, but the statistics highlight that many of us don’t stick to them, and even those that do, a lot of these “celebrity” diets have not been medically studied over the long term. Quick weight loss from specialist diets often has more to do with malnutrition than healthier eating.
How often have you heard someone say “oh I can’t, I’m on a diet”…The truth is we are all on a diet, 100% of the time. Many people have misinterpreted the word ‘diet’ to mean a short term change, but the word diet actually comes from the Greek word 'diaita,' which means way of life. So when considering a new “diet”, think of the changes you want to make as something permanent.
When considering your options, before making any drastic changes, ask yourself if you are happy to make these changes, forever? The new you needs to become the new normal. And your new diet needs to allow for flexibility otherwise you are in danger of becoming stuck in a guilt/binge/treat cycle if you feel too restricted.
The other side of the coin is exercise, and combining diet and exercise will yield results far greater than one or the other alone, and together they will help you reach your goals (and keep you there) faster and for longer.
So, you have a goal, you have a plan, but sticking it to it…that is the hardest part…
“According to University of Scranton², only 8% of people are successful in achieving their resolution.”
Without further ado, here are our top 10 tips on sticking to your goals;
- The best thing is to tell someone, say it out loud. In fact according to psychologist Robert Cialdini’s book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion³, if other people hear you commit to something, you’re more likely to follow through. So go ahead and post it to Facebook, tell your friends, tell your family.
- Find a friend to do it with, you can help keep each other motivated, especially through tough times, or you could turn to the internet, there are lots of forums and community groups to join where people help keep each other on track.
- Don’t cheat, you are only cheating yourself, but allow for flexibility.
- Consider how much time you spent pondering that last big purchase you made. All the research you did to make sure you got exactly what you wanted… And think how much you time you spend thinking about your body and health. Realise your body is the single most important thing you own, and learning about how it moves, functions and how to fuel it and look after it is crucial to a healthy long life.
- There are tons of resources out there, diet, health and body image is a huge focus of marketing campaigns, and magazines designed to promote a body ideal. Beware of an information overload and when learning about your body, make sure that any “studies” are medically recognised and backed up by scientific fact.
- Be honest with yourself. You know your bad habits. Recognise them early and set goals and stick to them.
- Have a plan and set goals, be specific and realistic. Being ambitious is great, but if you are overambitious and start missing your goals it will sap your motivation and you may slide back into old habits.
- Ditch the scales! Health and fitness it not measured by how much you weigh. You may even find you start putting on weight as you start converting fat into muscle. Overall health is measured by many things, including energy levels, cardiovascular health, mental wellbeing and alertness. Most of which you don’t see on a scale.
- Eat “real” food. Fat-free snacks, breakfast bars, energy & protein bars… These so called “health foods” are not real foods. They're addictive, chemical and preservative-laden products that trick our brains into thinking we're full, yet leave us feeling ravenous again in no time. Bananas are a great source of energy and 100% natural. Ditch your protein shakes (full of sugar and sweeteners) and eat peanuts and lean meat instead, for example. There are lots of tasty natural alternatives out there – go nuts!
- Stay rested, a good night’s sleep will give you the energy you need to stay motivated. And lack of sleep can cause weight gain by raising appetite-stimulating hormones such as cortisol.
¹ Source: YouGov/Pier Marketing (December 2014)
² Sources: University of Scranton. Journal of Clinical Psychology || http://www.statisticbrain.com/new-years-resolution-statistics/
³ Robert B. Cialdini. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. (New York: Morrow, 1993).