Ditch the Diet for a Healthier You
Each New Year begins the same for so many people: a new hope that this will be the year to finally get in shape. A quick google search tells us that 70% of people make a resolution to eat healthier, while roughly 50% resolve to exercise more and lose weight. However, according to the New York Post, most people give up on these goals by January 12th. In fact, only 8 percent of people actually achieve their New Years goals while 80 percent fail.
Start Small, Keep it Simple
One of the reasons cited for the failure of these new habits is that people try to change too much, too fast. We’re a “microwave” society. We want results and we want them quickly. To truly achieve a healthy weight, it takes time and consistent effort.
Don’t try to change everything about your life from New Year’s Eve to New Year’s Day. You’ll burn out quickly and become easily discouraged at your inability to sustain these dramatic new habits. Change one small thing and then another. Focus on habits you can control rather than the results you hope for. Nothing you do can physically move the number on a scale. But you can commit to eating more fruits and less sugar. You can commit to eating green veggies at every meal and drinking less soda.
Start with something small that you know you can do. Make it so easy it almost seems silly. Then, once you’ve stayed consistent for a week or two, add something else. You’ll build self-confidence and a habit of consistency. As you stay committed to the small things, your capacity for the bigger things will come.
One of the biggest detriments to our long term success is touted as being the number one way to achieve a healthy weight. Dieting just doesn’t work. By dieting, we mean any form of diet or eating habits that you use to achieve weight loss, with no intention of continuing to eat that way forever. Any diet that deprives you or drastically restricts your calories is a diet that will not work long term. You may reach your goal weight, but as soon as you return to normal eating habits, the weight will also return.
Those who achieve a healthy weight and are able to maintain it, eat normally. Everything in moderation with your main source of nutrition coming from lean meats, fruits, veggies and even whole grains and dairy is the best way to fuel your body.
Your body is smart and it will tell you when you’re hungry and when you’re full. You should listen to it! Some of us have forgotten how, but we can pay attention and relearn our bodies cues. You will find yourself happiest and most fulfilled when no food is a “bad food” or “cheat food”. It’s all just food. Some options are healthier, yes, but you can eat some of everything.
Move Your Body
Exercise doesn’t have to be complicated. It doesn’t even have to be two hours at the gym every day! Find some activities you enjoy doing. Maybe you want to start taking a class at the gym or sign up for dance lessons. Even a simple 10-minute walk twice a day may be more movement than you were doing before. It will make a difference when done consistently over time.
Mindset is Everything
Make up your mind that there is no “goal weight” or size clothing or look that you must achieve. Decide to be healthy no matter what. Even if the scale never moves, even if you look the same, even if it seems like nothing is changing, you’re going to stick with it. As soon as your healthy eating habits and exercise become just that – habits – the change will come. Maybe it won’t be exactly the way you thought, but maybe it will be even better! Most of us give up without ever having been consistent enough to see the fruit of all our effort. We stop just shy of seeing the results. This time, decide you’ll keep going.
If you miss a few days or even a few weeks, don’t throw in the towel! Press the reset button and get right back to it. You’ll find your body rebounds faster the more it’s used to a healthy lifestyle. You’ll begin to see results sooner than you did before.
Disease prevention begins, first and foremost, with your diet and exercise. Achieve your healthy weight to look and feel great, of course. But ultimately, it’s so much more than that. When you take care of your body, you lengthen your life span and your quality of life. You are well worth it.
Visit our Wellness Observance Calendar for additional resources on Healthy Weight Week, observed January 19-25, 2020.