Every year we make a list of new resolutions, which are usually only the recycling of all the resolutions from previous years that, for one reason or another, ended up not being fulfilled, hence shelved for the following year.
Well, this time it does not have to be this way: the first step to finally make it happen is to put the cards on the table and understand the reasons why they are NEVER achieved, even when deep inside, you really want them to happen.
Let’s start with discussing the most common resolutions we all hear about:
This year, I will follow a new diet. Let’s start next Monday!
A total cliché: every year, this is the top resolution. First of all, keep in mind that the word DIET is nothing more and nothing less than all we eat on a daily basis. Why do you still keep trying to remove groups of foods like starches or dairy, and follow this super short and really strict “drawer diet” that your friend passed to you to make you as skinny as a model?
It is well known that those “diets” do not really work because they don’t make you change your behaviour: they are usually a generic list of steps to follow in a short period of time. In addition, it is really hard to find quick strategies that would make us change what we have been cultivating over the years. Also, to achieve unrealistic goals (i.e. losing 20 kilos in a week or a month). So if it took us years to put on all that weight, there is most likely an unresolved behaviour in which we must work.
My advice here is: Get help! When we want those weight-loss resolutions to be sustainable over time, it is necessary to seek the advice of a Nutritionist-Dietitian who will unconditionally accompany you in the process. A good professional who can understand your needs, habits and preferences; based on all this, he/she can design a suitable plan for you. This will also help you maintain motivated on the long run. It sounds like a dream, right? But certainly, this is the best way to achieve it.
The right professional will help you maintain your motivation and will be your guide and unconditional support.
This year I’m going to exercise; what’s more, I’m going to run my first marathon!
It is awesome to have ambitions, but it is important to go step by step and establish these goals in a REALISTIC way. Let’s take babies as an example: children first learn to hold their heads, then how to sit down, crawl, walk and finally run. The same pattern must be followed by us, one step at a time.
In order to run a marathon, we must start by doing a check-up with a Sports and Exercise Physiologist. Maybe we can start walking afterwards and establish an exercise routine from there. We know that for something to be considered routine, it must be done for 21 days in a row as minimum. Once we have the habit of exercising, we can adapt our training plan accordingly. But again, we should seek help. If you start training with your neighbour’s exercise plan – which is not tailored to your personal needs – you will most likely not achieve your goals and will end up demotivated. Relapses are normal, especially during the first 6 months of any behavioural change, so do not let fast strategies take you away from your main objective.
It is also important to be aware of the fact that it is better to do something than do nothing: do the things you like instead of doing the things that are in trend. For example: If you like aerobic classes from the ‘90s with leg warmers and Lycras, go and do them. If you enjoy CrossFit and Zumba, sign up and do not miss a lesson. The key to perseverance is to find your passion. So, find what you’re passionate about and do not let it go.
This year I will save money to make the trip of my dreams.
What a good New Year’s resolution! I love this one. But, for you to fulfil it quickly, you should make some adjustments, starting from the previous two resolutions. How is that? When people start to do this “drawer diets”, they usually start buying the most well-known weight loss kit in the market, which may include shakes and nutritional supplements. Some others may decide to make a DETOX week with green juices, followed by an online order of fat burners, just because there was a NYE online sale. DO NOT FALL INTO THESE TRAPS! All these products, apart from the fact that they do not usually work, are way much more expensive than maintaining a balanced diet.
Another “booby trap” would be the gym Advisors: please note that they usually do not have the certifications to make nutritional plans and provide you with the dietary support you need. Think carefully how you invest your money so to get the results you want: avoid losing time, money and motivation unnecessarily. Do not hesitate to ask for references about the courses and academic degrees: your health is worth all that and more.
Do you want another advice? Imagine that you buy a coffee on the go, 5 days a week and it costs you about $4.5 each. At the end of the year, you will end up saving $1,170 just by brewing your own coffee at home. There you go: you have your plane ticket right there! Small changes will always help you find a big difference.
I also wanted to talk about gym subscriptions: if you’re just starting to work out your way to stablish an exercise routine, there is no need to lock yourself into a 2+ year fixed contract until you have come to a point in which training is part of your day. You may instead, go to the local park, enrol in some classes, work out at home and see how you go from there.
To finish off, you don’t have to buy new/expensive clothes and/or equipment either (except proper shoes): the adjustments in your lifestyle should happen as baby steps (better to go slow yet forward than backwards). Seek help in others, such as a professional evaluation with a Dietitian, Exercise Physiologist or a friend or relative who wants to exercise with you
If you think that the above mentioned strategies are not helpful enough, get help! Psychological support is always an invaluable tool when we want to make decisions about life changes. So, do not hesitate for a moment.
This year it will work! I trust you, and I hope you trust me to guide you through this process. Do not doubt it for a second!
Lilia has a Bachelor degree in Nutrition and Dietetics and a Post Graduate Diploma in Sports Nutrition; passionate about Sports Nutrition, performance enhancement, exercise science and weight management. Lilia always works toward the fulfilment of her client goals, prioritizing their health over nutrition trends.