2018 is officially here! With the New Year always comes big plans for many of us to lose those extra pounds and live well once and for all. Here are some tips and ideas for a better, more sustainable approach to doing just that.
Avoid All or Nothing Thinking
We've been here before. Year after year we over indulge during the holiday season that stretches from Thanksgiving to New Years Eve and then we feel like we need to reboot come January 1st. For most of us that means starting some completely unrealistic diet or plan that is set up to fail because it doesn't work with our lifestyle…or about 98% of the populations'…and is not sustainable long term. Maybe consider doing it differently this year.
When I work with clients we work together to make small, sustainable, specific goals and build on those as we go, dealing with challenges as they arise and finding solutions. This approach can be difficult for someone who has long been an all or nothing thinker, but is far more sustainable. Think about it, do you want to lose those same 20 pounds, just to regain them again, or are you willing to approach your health and weight in a different way this year?
You Do You
Recently I went away on a ladies weekend. Inevitably food, diets, and weight loss always come up when a bunch of women get together. A couple of the women had been on the Keto diet, a high fat, low carb eating plan. One friend in particular had been on the plan for 20 days and had been hating every minute of it, without any real results on the scale to speak of. She talked about how she loved fruit and oatmeal, among other perfectly healthy foods, forbidden on this strict plan, and had missed them so much.
I'll add that we were at a tennis tournament, playing two doubles matches a day for two days straight. By the end of the first match, this otherwise very capable, smart tennis playing friend was shaky and complaining of having trouble thinking and making decisions. I encouraged her to take in some good carbs to fuel her body ASAP. She did and felt better almost immediately! No one diet or way of eating is right for everyone. No matter how well something works for that relative or friend, it may not work for you. Listen to your body and your body will tell you exactly what it needs.
Be Smart About Getting More Active
For many of us exercise and activity are like four letter words. We think that if we aren't in pain and miserable as we are moving it's just not quite good enough. I think this is especially true given the high intensity (HIIT) extreme workout craze with workouts like CrossFit and Boot Camps just to name a couple. No doubt these workouts can feel great, but it may not be the wisest choice to go from channel surfing as your main activity straight to a high intensity workout. Activity is another area where we tend to take the all or nothing approach. This approach ultimately leads to us being active for only a short period and/or leads to injury. If you have been mostly sedentary you can't expect your body to respond well if you go from 0 to 60! Your better option is to focus on consistency and just moving more everyday. It wouldn't hurt to find something you actually enjoy too.
Detox Your Mind of Crazy Diets
I recently posted a fellow dietitian's great article on my Facebook page titled, The Only Detox You Really Need This Season. Google it or find a link on my Facebook at AnnaJonesRD and give it a read. It's worth a few minutes of your time. Detoxes this time of year seem like the right answer, but in the end are only quick fixes for long term problems. After a lot of misery and torture, they typically only get you right back where you started, but actually feeling worse about yourself. Instead, focusing on detoxing your mind of crazy fads and diets and taking a more sane and sustainable approach, once and for all, is a better, more productive approach to being well. Don't you think? It is possible to break out of the diet insanity and relearn a more intuitive way of eating. I promise.
It is great to feel motivated to make change and want to feel better to start the New Year, but consider approaching it in a more levelheaded, intelligent way this year instead of the typical guaranteed to fail approach. Think back on your prior New Year approaches. Did you take extreme measures? Was it successful? Successfully making change and adopting new habits is about learning from past mistakes and committing to doing it a different way.
There will be a lot of chatter about diets and detoxes over the coming weeks. Maybe you resolve this year to ignore the nonsense and do it differently in 2018.