This year's resolution...
Here we are again, another New Year, and as usual - we’re getting the messages; "New Year, New You", "time to lose weight", "stop smoking", "stop drinking alcohol", "get active"... The same messages you’ve no doubt had all of your life.
My heart actually sinks every January. It sinks because I know that weight loss is going to be on the top of the list for New Year’s resolutions. There will be promises of wonder diets that will make you lose weight and be the answer to all of your dreams, meal replacements, pills, don’t eat for two days a week, don’t eat carbs… ever, cut out everything that you enjoy and eat nothing but rice cakes. People are going to be desperate to shed the stones, kilos, whatever metric form you choose to work in and they will be going on unrealistic, strict diets to get the results that they want. They will also try to change everything all at the same time, become overwhelmed and then set themselves up to failure which then makes them feel even worse about their inability to lose weight or whatever it is they are striving to achieve.
We have been sold this idea that we all need to look a certain way, the Instagram ‘perfect body’ - can we agree that people are all different, they come in all different shapes and sizes? The ‘perfect body’, what is that? If the last two years have taught us anything it must be that our health is the most important thing and not striving to look like whatever we are told we should look like! Who made the decision that we have to look a certain way anyway? You can thank your parents for how you look, we inherit how tall we will be, how big our nose is or the colour of our eyes from them, have a look at where they carry any access weight, it’s likely that you will too, it’s all down to genetics.
I have worked in the fitness industry for many, many years and it really does make me sad that people are so tough on themselves when it comes to their weight. What we need to understand is that we all can’t ever look like these images we are told we should do unless, as I have said, you are born with those genes, or a great skill in photoshopping and applying filters on social media!
What we do need to focus on though, is our health...
Assuming that we are able bodied, are we able to do our daily living activities well? Can we walk to the shops and carry the bags back? Can we do the housework and gardening? Can we play with our children and grandchildren in the park? Are we able to go for walks, ride a bike, go for a swim if we choose to? Are we able to be active without discomfort and breathlessness? Think of it as insurance for as we get older; if we are able to stay active, have strong muscles so that we can get out of a chair, keep flexible so that we can dress ourselves, keep our heart and lungs healthy so that we are able to walk up a flight of stairs without gasping for breath - then hopefully we can enjoy the last years of our lives independently in our own homes and not reliant on medication to keep us going.
Of course, there will be people who really want to be able to run a half marathon, chest press their own body weight, swim the channel, but, we don’t all have to be super athletes. The majority of us should just aim to be as active as we can to maintain our health without going to the extreme. All animals are designed to move, even machines need to be used regularly to make sure that they function properly and don’t seize up, we all know that our cars benefit from a longer drive every now and then so being active is really important.
Ditch the diets!!!
If you really do want to lose weight, don’t diet, they don’t work! I have said this for years and I have had a lot of criticism from people vehemently defending their chosen way of losing weight.
Of course, diets will work in the short term, you absolutely will lose weight, 100% you will. You’re looking at everything you’re eating, you’re restricting the amount of food you have during the day, you’re counting calories, everything is great, and the weight is falling off. This will be fat but, it’s also muscle and water so at the start, weight loss is quick.
What happens when you can’t survive on only eating 500 calories a day, or counting calories is so time consuming and boring or, the supplements and meal replacements are tasteless and expensive, or, you want to do exercise but you’re doing intermittent fasting and you can’t eat that day and you’ve got no energy, or, you’re on the keto diet and if you see another piece of meat you’ll scream!!!
I’ll tell you…
It is not sustainable, you’re not going to be able to do this for life.
You go back to your old eating habits...
And guess what happens?
You put all the weight, and some, back on.
You see, our fat cells are laying there, ready. When we lose weight, they deflate like little balloons. When we put weight on again, they inflate and multiply so we end up with more of them. Classic yo-yo dieting. Your body will fight against you, it doesn’t like it when you try to change it by extreme methods.
Let me ask you a question, and be honest. How many of these restrictive diets have you been on throughout your life? Did they work? Did the weight stay off? If they did work, why are you on another one?
What we should do is to cut down by about 10% on the high sugar and saturated/ trans fats foods such as cakes, biscuits, chocolate, pastry, but not cut them out completely. If you do you will crave them and think of nothing else. Drink 10% less alcohol, eat 10% more fruit and veg and be 10% more active. Once you get used to the transition, you can increase this percentage but, trying to do too much too soon is hard. Try to eat a rainbow colour of food, so that you are having a variety of fruit and veg, look at your portion sizes, even healthier foods have calories don’t forget!
You don’t need to join a gym to improve your health (controversial statement coming from someone who works in leisure, I know!) you can go for walks, dance around the room to your favourite music or put a lot of energy into gardening and house work but, if you are the sort of person who needs motivation, enjoys being with other people or needs a bit of guidance we can help you. We offer so many activities we can help you choose the right one for you.
Whatever your reason for wanting to improve your health and wellbeing, we’d love to see you. New Year New You? There’s nothing wrong with You now, we can just help to make You even better!
- JuanitaBack to Blog