We’ve become a nation obsessed with the notion of “New Year, New You!”. It’s a potent sell, to be sure, and one that all manner of brands are keen to capitalize upon. Gym memberships, fitness wear, nutrition supplements, detox teas… They’re all in on it. It’s almost like they’ve been watching us over Christmas. They’ve seen us keep dipping into that extra large tub of Celebrations. They saw us pile up the food on our Christmas dinner plates. They saw how much we were putting it away at the office Christmas party. They know that for many of us the new year will start with a literal and / or metaphorical hangover and that the inevitable sense of self-loathing will kick in like clockwork.
However, if you plan on joining the thronging masses aiming to get in shape, feel great and have a trim physique that’s the envy of the office in 2019, perhaps you should focus less on losing weight and more on losing bad habits.
If you aim to just lose weight… You’ll put it all right back on again!
Here’s the problem with weight loss. Losing weight is relatively easy. It’s keeping it off that’s the problem. When you significantly drop your caloric intake, eschew processed foods and exercise more, you’ll inevitably lose weight. And you know what else you’ll do? You’ll make yourself utterly miserable. Many of us try to take on too much too soon and spend a few miserable weeks accumulating temporary results before faltering.
If you want to get in shape sustainably, you should aim not to lose weight but to lose habits.
Get into the habit of asking for help
Whether it’s at work or in our personal lives, we can all be guilty of assuming that we are an infallible one-person army, able to take on any challenge that we are given. While this self-determination is admirable, it can also set us up for a fall.
We should all aim to seek help, advice and guidance when we need it as attempting to do too much on our own can do way more harm than good. Whether it’s considering alcohol rehab because we’ve found that a bottle of wine every night is the only way to wind down, or its asking your boss for a task that’s fast proving insurmountable. Taking the weight of the world upon your shoulders is not a great way to start the year.
Get better at managing your time
Many of us are red hot when it comes to time management at work, but less adept at managing our free time at home. When this happens we are much more inclined to get fast food or take out instead of cooking a nutritious meal. We’re far more likely to wind down with a gin and tonic than a trip to the gym.
Get up earlier in the morning. Set aside some time to do meal prep. When you get better at managing your free time it’s much easier to ditch bad habits.
Take steps to reduce stress
Finally, stress is not only a potentially serious illness that can have a series of serious repercussions for our health, it also has a habit of pushing us into bad habits. It can make us comfort eat, make it harder to quit smoking and find refuge in a bottle at the end of the day. Get into some healthy stress busting good habits.
Practice mindfulness meditation, start your day with a workout and remember your breathing exercises when it all feels a little too much.
Focus on losing habits rather than weight and you’ll find that a healthier, happier body and mind take care of themselves!