With the forthcoming New Year, many people make Healthy New Year Resolutions. The most popular new year resolutions are to lose weight, get fit, eat right and reduce stress.
All these four goals are actually intrinsically linked to one another. To lose weight, you must start to exercise more (get fit) and start to eat healthier, more nutritious foods to provide you with the energy required to be more active, without putting on even more weight. It is worth reminding you here that to lose weight may actually require you to eat a little more in the long term, assuming you do not exercise now.
Stress can be caused by many factors, but generally people that feel that they are in greater control of their personal lives find it easier to control stress in their working lives. So being more confident as a result of being fitter and healthier can lead to a reduction in stress. So, how do you stick to the plan?
Let’s break the resolutions down, and look at each in isolation.
How To Lose Weight in the New Year
OK, as already mentioned, to lose weight we merely need to increase physical activity and eat a healthier, more balanced diet. The best way to do this is to set yourself goals. If you know that your diet is not ideal, but are not sure exactly where you are going wrong, then you must keep a food diary for a couple of weeks at the start of the New Year. This will quickly highlight where you are going wrong.
Make sure that you write down everything that you eat and drink during these two weeks. It is best to keep a note of when you eat too, so that at the end of the two weeks you will have a picture of your eating habits in the morning, afternoon and evening. Many people eat too much in the evening after a busy and stressful day. This is, most likely, going to be the area you need to concentrate on!
How To Get Fit in the New Year
Getting fit is a life long goal for many people. So how do you stick to a New Year resolution to get fit? The best way is to set goals, write an exercise schedule (and stick to it) and keep a training diary.
Set Realistic Health and Fitness Goals
Goals can be based on endurance (exercising for longer periods each session), strength (lifting heavier weights, or lifting more repetitions of the same weight), frequency (exercising more often, such as 3 times a week, twice a day). When setting goals, always set goals that are attainable.
If you have not exercised for 5 years, then setting a goal of running 5 miles a day by the end of January, or running in the London Marathon in the Spring, will be very difficult to achieve. And failing your own goals does you no good regarding self esteem and motivation. So keep the goals simple. My personal goals generally include the following:
1. Exercising more each week (by attending an extra fitness classes, or by going for a run at the weekends).
2. Lifting heavier weights – when weight training it is impossible to achieve this goal without a lot of hard work, so again I do not specify how much heavier the weights should be, but simply be happy if they are heavier after a month.
3. Performing more repetitions of an exercise. This is very useful when doing circuit training in the gym or at home. For example, you could aim to do one more repetition each day you exercise.
This seems like a very small increase, but if you exercise 3 times a week, with just press ups, sit ups, star jumps and squat thrusts, and you start by performing 10 exercises of each in one session, then by the end of January you will be performing 22 of each.
By the end of February it will have increased to about 35 of each, and by the time spring comes you will be performing maybe over 50 repetitions of each exercise 3 or 4 times a week. So, small incremental increases are the way to make steady, attainable, progress.
4. Exercising for longer. This can again apply to circuit training at home, such as exercising for an extra 5 minutes each session each week.
So start by exercising for 15 minutes, and by the spring you will be exercising for 1 hour and 20 minutes each session, which could be 3 times a week!
You will soon get fit, if you stick to the plan! If you prefer to cycle, run, walk or swim for fitness, then the same applies. Spend a little more time each week, and the improvements will keep coming.
Eat Healthier in the New Year
This is possibly the hardest thing to do well. Most people are well aware of what food is good for them, and what is not. If you are unsure check out our diet and nutrition pages. The problem is sticking to the plan. Keeping the food diary mentioned earlier will help, writing eating rules can help to. Stick a note on the fridge to remind you of what you should and should not be eating. Simple rules to get you started could include:
- Eat 5 pieces of fruit and veg a day for improved health
- Consume no carbs after 4pm to limit calories
- Eat at least 3 portions of oily fish a week for optimum nutrition
- Use olive oil rather than the usual salad dressing for healthier meals
- Eat less cakes, junk food, biscuits, sweets etc. to avoid empty calories
Keeping a food diary helps. Maybe keep your diary posted to the fridge too, or on a pin board, or even on a personal blog. This will allow others to point out your mistakes! Also go over the diary at the end of each day and highlight each item you have consumed that goes against the common sense healthy plan.
Hopefully after a few weeks there will be much fewer highlighted items. But do not deprive yourself completely of your favourite foods, always give yourself a treat, just be careful not to over indulge, and make a note in the diary! Even special treats for working hard need to be included.
Reduce Your Stress Levels
Hopefully a healthier lifestyle, increased physical activity and better diet will help to reduce stress. If you are still struggling, then consider joining a class aimed at relaxation, such as yoga or tai chi, or any other exercise class where you get to meet other people and unwind.
Aerobics, martial arts, football, golf – these all can help to reduce stress. Make sure you have time to yourself, away from work, away from family, at least once a week. Make a special time for yourself when you can relax, read a book, sit quietly in a chair and contemplate life, alone, without any interruption.
Okay, so to round up, to stick with your New Years Resolution to lose weight, get fit and be stress free, follow these rules:
- Keep a food diary, take control of you daily eating habits, shop for healthier foods.
- Exercise more than you do now, aim for 3 times a week, and increase each week. Consider how your eating habits interact with your exercise regimes.
- Take time out to relax by yourself, and contemplate the good work that you are doing.
Remember that ideally this should be a start of a new lifestyle that you continue throughout the entire year. Do not be one of those people who make a New Year Resolution to lose weight and get fit and then give up within 2 weeks.
We wish you all the best of luck in attaining your New Years Resolutions. Feel free to let us know how you are getting on.
Fitness and Weight Loss Predictions
OK, a website is not complete with some wacky predictions for the forthcoming year. So, what is likely to be hot in the next year? What new trends will be set amongst those looking to lose weight and get fit? Lets have some fun and try to predict. Some of these are really just wishful thinking….
- Wii and other consoles will start to provide an excellent fitness solution. When Wii Sports came out it was fun, but did not provide any structured workouts. Wii Fit solved this, but some felt it was still not suitable for a serious workout. Future releases are likely to provide real solid solutions to home fitness, combined with monitoring and communities attached.
- New medical research will lead to a new super diet! This is an easy prediction, as this happens every year. In reality, the same rules apply, it is just that there is a little new research to back up what has been known by nutritionists for decades. The tabloid press will not tell anyone this though, so everyone will think it is new!
- The government will come up with a new scheme that really does get people active and interested in exercise again. Also, this scheme will have the legs to keep it running for years to come, rather than being yet another failed pilot study.
- Government intervention will finally crack down on the aggressive and irresponsible marketing and advertising techniques used by the junk food industry.
- Another old diet book that was ignored when it was first published will suddenly become really popular. This book will not actually say anything new, but some celebrities will buy it and talk about it and everyone will think it is another new revolution.
- More fast food shops will open
- More people will develop type 2 diabetes
- More people will die from obesity related illness
- Hopefully some of us will reverse this trend and live a healthy fulfilling life.
There, those are our predictions for this year.