A number of clients that I’ve seen this year have been discussing various New Years Resolutions or goals that they’ve set for themselves to achieve this year, with many of them being nutrition and health focused. As a dietitian, I think that it’s fantastic that people are creating resolutions/goals that are aimed at looking after their health and improving their wellbeing. What I’m also noticing though is that many of these self-proclaimed “health” resolutions are extreme, restrictive, regimented and unrealistic which if achieved, would likely result in an unbalanced and unhealthy lifestyle. Now I know that all of these people have only good intentions and want to improve their health and wellness – so this inspired me to provide a few points and tips to take into consideration when developing your own resolutions or goals for 2015.
- 1: Make it about health – not numbers!
More often than not, most people’s main incentive to “improve their health’ is to achieve only one thing…to lose weight. I’m not ciritisizing anyone who wants to lose some weight – provided it will actually improve your health and not hinder it. How could losing weight hinder your health you ask? Here’s an example; if you are already a healthy weight but are being overly restrictive with your food and are exercising excessively so you can fit into that dress – this is probably not beneficial for your health and you’re at an increased risk of developing a newly recognised condition called Orthorexia – it’s very real, very prevalent and very harmful to your health. Read this for more information.
Results do not need to be based on numbers. A particular body weight, how many kilograms you bench press or how many centremetres you lose off your thighs DOES NOT necessarily equate to improved health or wellness. Rather than using numbers to measure your progress, regularly ask yourself the following questions: How are you sleeping? How are your energy levels? How are your clothes fitting? How do you feel about yourself? If you’re achieving positive answers to these questions, then it is likely that you are losing weight as well – without having kg’s or cm in the forefront of our minds.
- 2: Make it your own
Please do not worry about other people’s New Nears resolutions or goals – don’t feel compelled to run a half marathon just because your best mate has made this their resolution. You need to take the time to decide what it is that you want to achieve for YOURSELF!
If you have a similar resolution to a close friend, work colleague, relative (whoever) do not compare your progress to theirs – the only comparison you need to make is against yourself. Make the time to reflect on your progress from when you first made your resolution, to 2, 3, 5 months on – that is the real measure of success – how much you’ve progressed.
- 3: Make it achievable
Lets be real guys, if you’re resolution is to not eat chocolate, take-away and not a drip of beer/wine for an entire year – then you’re not going to have a very fun year are you? Creating unrealistic resolutions will only end in unwarranted disappointment and guilt. A common practice to instill motivation and determination to lose weight is to cut out a picture of a model out of a magazine and pin it to the fridge…or more recently, to follow various “fitspo” instagram accounts which have countless photographs that have been filtered and altered to portray the “perfect body” – please DON’T do this – these photographs are photoshopped and simply are NOT REAL. Click on the photograph below to see it for yourself – I myself was shocked when I saw this clip for the first time.
To sum it up: Let’s make this year the year of taking control of our health and improving our wellbeing rather than solely focusing on how much you weigh (and yes, this includes banishing ALL fad diets as well!). Sit down with yourself, have a good think about what you want to achieve this year (or years) and take the time to develop your own resolutions/goals. And lastly, don’t punish yourself if you don’t achieve your resolution 100%…they’re there to guide and assist you in achieving whatever it is that you really want for your health and general wellbeing.