New year, old you? Thought so!
Dr Nick Fuller
Leading Obesity Expert at the University of Sydney and founder of Interval Weight Loss.
After a seriously silly season, most of us have overdone it to the point that we're ready to turn it around - quickly.
New Year’s resolutions to lose weight, drink less, swear less, work harder - whatever it is, commitment to that goal has started to waver as the year starts to hurls by.
January 15 marks what's known as quitter's day - the two week mark at which people quietly stop following their diets, going to the gym and taking their supplements.
For more people, it's clear your New Year's resolution didn't work.
But fear not - instead of damning you to 11 more months of the same old you, I have come up with resolutions for you that you can actually stick to for the rest of this year.
As of today:
1. I resolve that you don’t give up carbs or go on a diet.
We know ALL diets don’t work long-term including the very popular low carb, fasting and keto fads that are currently trending.
It’s easy to lose weight but it just comes back as aggressive as before and you end up heavier than before you started. Your body is extremely smart and starts to work differently when you follow a weight loss program – your metabolism will slow down and your appetite hormones will change ensuring you eat more. It does this to protect itself. It then ensures you put on a little extra for the next weight loss program you will follow.
Carbs actually help you lose weight and prevent cancer, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. You can enjoy all foods and you don’t need to deprive yourself of food to lose weight.
2. I resolve that you do exercise that you enjoy.
Signing up to a gym membership or boot camp is not going to work if you hate it. Don't waste your money.
Instead, get yourself a wearable device to track your daily movement. 70% of the population don’t even get the bare minimum amount of activity to stay alive and healthy – 30 minutes of moderate intensity walking on 5 days per week.
Gradually increase your incidental activity towards 10,000 steps per day and if you can’t walk then ride or get in the pool. Participate in physical activity that you enjoy, exercise with others and explore different environments for change. Exercise will boost your serotonin levels, consequently improving your mood and social functioning and help you make healthier food choices and better still prevent impulsive food choices.
3. I resolve that you don’t eat any “health foods”.
Health foods - vegan treats, dairy-free smoothies, protein bars - are not what they are made out to be. Anything that is in a packet is refined, processed and will have added sugars and fat. And just because something is devoid of a particular food doesn’t make it healthy either. Enjoy your favourite treats but keep them to a minimum and to once per week.
The best way to lose weight is to stay clear of the packaged foods and to increase your food intake but from fresh fruits and vegetables, wholegrain carbohydrates and a range of protein sources.
4. I resolve that you stop listening to celebrities for health advice.
Social media, in particular, has created a very unhealthy portrayal of what is a healthy body weight. Everyone is a so-called lifestyle and weight loss expert these days and it’s packaged in filtered Instagram photos with accompanying Oprah quotes about empowerment. These skinny pretty girls make money from your follows, your clicks, your likes. You get nothing - these influencers are unqualified and uninterested in your health. Just because someone is on social media with X million amount of followers doesn’t mean they can be trusted!
Everyone’s body shape is different and it is not often realistic or healthy to set out and look like those you follow. Set realistic goals and acknowledge every positive change you make.
5. I resolve that you are focused on feeling good and not the number on the scales.
Those who succeed long-term on their weight loss journey are happy every step of the way. Restricting food intake, temptation and avoiding social occasions that centre on eating will take a toll on your mental state and well-being that will override the short-term high you get from the number on the scales.
You won’t get to the long-term goal if you don’t adopt a realistic approach!