We are now approaching mid-January and I have no doubt the ‘new year, new me’ will be starting to grind to a halt. The sad part is that many of us only have ourselves to blame.
We set unrealistic goals, in time frames that are impossible and then beat ourselves up when we struggle, fail, then eventually give up.
It’s like entering a marathon when you haven’t even finished the couch to 5k.
Running three miles is nothing to someone who regularly runs 20km, but remember they have built their fitness over years of consistency, effort and by persevering through injury, lack of motivation and battling the elements.
Come New Year’s Day, everyone wants to jump straight in and be the perfect marathon runner. They want to cut out all carbs, bread, sweets and anything that they consider remotely unhealthy. They exercise hell for leather daily, pushing through soreness, tiredness and getting up three hours earlier just to fit it all in.
The drastic lifestyle change is often too great for many. After a December of mince pies, mulled wine and endless chocolate. Swapping from 4,000 calories to1,000 leaves you grumpy, irritable and already crying for something tasty. You start to switch your early alarm off, miss a few gym sessions and eventually you will reach a weekend where temptation becomes overwhelming.
You crave everything you cut out, you hate the thought of the gym as you haven’t given your body a chance to recover from your very first session, all while sleep-depriving yourself with your super early alarms.
You might be reading thinking ‘this hasn’t happened to me, I’m still going strong’ but trust me, you are a ticking time bomb! It might not be this week or this month, but cutting out all the food you love to lose a few pounds is not sustainable, nor is it essential for you to lose weight and feel amazing.
Personally, I feel a lot of this stems from the ‘new me’ that we all crave from New Year. We all think that our actions must be big and dramatic to have any chance of transforming how we look and feel.
The reality is you don’t need to become someone else to drop a few pounds, you just need to try and do things a wee bit better.
Better knowledge, better habits, and better accountability - these three points will provide a platform to help you improve all aspects of nutrition, training, mindset or any area that you want to improve.
The main reason we cut out food groups we love and starve ourselves into submission is that we don’t know how to diet any other way! Food is perceived to be good or bad and you lose weight by eating salads and cutting out chocolate.
Dieting isn’t black and white! You can gain weight by eating ‘clean’ foods and lose weight by eating a doughnut every day. The issue isn’t the foods we eat but the quantity of calories we consume.
This is where you need to increase your knowledge! Mastering portion control and learning how to track calories will give you all the tools you need to lose weight and eat the foods you love. You just have to put the work in!
Tracking food accurately requires you to weigh the food you eat and report honestly into your food diary but dieting by controlling the calories you eat is the most effective way for getting results while eating foods you love.
The best part is you don’t have to do it forever, once you have tracked your food for a while you will begin to have a better understanding of how to control your portions and understand the calories in certain food groups.
You don’t have to exercise or walk twenty thousand steps every day. You don’t have to cook every meal from scratch and avoid takeaways forever. You don’t need to skip social occasions or become teetotal. You only need to increase the number of positive actions in a day that will yield better results over a long period of time.
Focus on moving more, exercising when you can, eating healthy food more often and limiting takeaways and alcohol when possible and the results will come.
This approach may not be quite as aggressive as low-calorie fad diets, but these habits will be the pillars of your long term success. Focus on doing better, not being perfect!
We can all do things when we feel like doing them, being accountable means you will continue to do them when motivation drops.
Tracking calories on My FitnessPal.com might make you second think about having those extra biscuits at night time. Jumping on the scales regularly can also have a similar effect.
Telling a friend or partner you are going to lose weight means they are invested in your progress. If they have similar goals this can be super useful for keeping each other motivated and having someone to call on when things get tough.
Being accountable will increase your actions and keep you focused on your goals.
So please, when your super-aggressive low-calorie diet doesn’t go as you planned, take a step back and think of the bigger more long term picture. Take some time to increase your knowledge, improve your daily habits and make the commitment of being more accountable for the food you consume.
If you need any help with your nutrition or want to have a chat about anything fitness related please drop us a message on www.one2onefitnessni.co.uk.