It’s that time of year when people decide to make those life changing New Year Resolutions, but in reality, only about 8% of people actually stick to them! I thought I’d help you to achieve yours using my coaching knowledge so that you are in the 8% who succeed, not the 92% who don’t.
The biggest resolution is usually weight-loss, the first thing here is that fad diets such as the Cabbage Soup Diet, Cambridge Diet etc, are not sustainable, there needs to be a lifestyle change, one that will stick, easy to say not so easy to do! Here’s some tips:
- Decide what your goal is going to be.
- Don’t take on half a dozen goals, get going with one and add in another if you really have to, once the first goal is going to plan, if you take on too much you’ll just overwhelm yourself.
- Be realistic with your goal, i.e. 3 stone in a week or just eating dinner are not realistic or sustainable, think instead of less or no booze if that is your weak point, lower alcohol content wines or spirits with low calorie mixers etc will make the calories less but you still get a drink so no sacrifice is there psychologically. In our house, unless it is a special occasion, we don’t drink during the week.
- What triggers you to eat/drink? Boredom, emotional need, anger? Because it is there? So find ways to keep busy, mentally and physically! If it is emotional, deal with the emotion, journal, talk to a friend, talk to your phone’s voice memo then delete it! (I recommend doing it somewhere private like the car or bathroom!). If it is because it is there in the cupboard, just don’t buy it! If it is already in the cupboard from Xmas, give it away or bin it which seems wasteful or use a food bank as long as the food is within date.
- Try using a reward system to incentivise you to do the things you don’t like doing such as a walk or yoga or eating the healthier foods such as greens or fruit. Don’t get carried away!
- Simply find some movement you do like, such as dancing round the kitchen to the radio.
- If you plan to drink or eat less then set a target such as ‘I cannot drink/eat XYZ before 8pm’
- Don’t become obsessed with the scales, instead find a photo of you in that fab outfit that no longer fits or a picture of something you really want to fit such as a wedding dress or suit that is a size or two smaller than you are now. Try on the clothes that have become too small for you and see them fit as the weight loss happens.
- Make yourself accountable; have a diet or booze buddy like they do in AA. The reason schemes like Slimming World & WeightWatchers work is because you have to check in with an audience every week! Create a Facebook or WhatsApp group if you have friends doing the same as you so you have support.
- Set yourself small challenges such as walking a set distance each day or 10,000 steps etc. Take the stairs where possible, park the far side of the supermarket car park or gym car park or better still if you can walk there, do so! You can always ask the other half to pick you up if you plan to do a big shop.
- Use an app such as MyFitnessPal which is free or I love www.nutracheck.co.uk my partner and I lost 3 stone each on this! It is calories in and calories burned, sounds boring but it does work. Did you know many people don’t eat ENOUGH? Really! My partner was playing golf 3 times per week but only eating 1400 Kcal per day, at almost 6ft, that is nowhere near enough with that level of exercise! Our bodies need a minimum level of calories to exist, even if we laid in bed all day doing nothing! Not enough calories can be as bad as too many!
- Look at your journal and see where the calories are going; Did you know that latte is 150 kcal or that hazelnut syrup coffee is 500 kcal? Did you realise that your sandwich from the local shop is a minimum of 500 kcal, was it worth it? That wine is 200 kcal! Did you know a standard KFC meal is 1400 kcal, that is my WHOLE allowance for one day in ONE meal!!! I’d rather have a couple of glasses of wine instead which is less than 300 kcals!
- As a smoker, do you smoke absentmindedly? Make it conscious, write down each time you have one and why, is it because your partner or colleague just decided to have one?
- Don’t ‘supersize’ your McDonalds, KFC etc. Don’t do the Meal Deal at lunch time, take lunch with you as much as possible.
- Think about your ‘why’, what is your motivation? Are you wanting change for you or because your partner/parent/kids nagged you into it?
- What is your inner dialogue saying? Is one part saying ‘I need to lose weight/stop smoking/quit drinking’ but another part is saying ‘I don’t want to be hungry’ or ‘I don’t want to stop drinking when my partner/friends are having a drink’ or ‘If I give up smoking, I can’t hang out with the smoking group at work/pub’? If so, that conflict can sabotage you. Your personal history will also come into play and so you may need professional help to change your belief system to stop it sabotaging you.
- PLAN! Clear the cupboards, get rid of the cigarettes, clear the drinks cabinet! Whatever your habit change is, plan to make it happen rather than having tools and triggers around you that will sabotage your plans.
- Don’t spend vast sums of money on gym membership, running clothes, diet foods etc, you can achieve what you need for free! Look at Joe Wicks and other reputable personal trainers, use household items such as bags of sugar as weights, put on jeans and a jumper to go for a walk or jogging trousers and a t-shirt and go for a run, a £100 top is not going to make you better at running or help you lose weight! A good pair of running shoes are quite important and as a runner I’d recommend a ‘gait test’ to make sure you buy the right shoes for YOU!
- Use free exercise apps such as C25K which gets you from being a couch potato to being a 5K, 10K or Marathon runner. As a not very athletic person, I can tell you that I could not run for a minute before having to walk but after doing C25K I could do a 5K, I’m never going to win any races but a) I can do a 5K or 10K now b) I’ve lost weight c) I’m fitter and d) It’s quicker than having to go for a long walk when I don’t have time e) It’s free! f) I can go when it suits me, I’m not dictated by class times or availability g) There is a huge online community to get support or solve issues you may have h) Drag the kids/partner/dog with you for company or go alone and get peace & quiet!
- Keep a journal of what you eat, drink and weigh, just so you can see how far you’ve come plus it will help you to identify any issues you may be having such as certain food that bloats you. If you are quitting smoking, you can see when/where you feel the biggest desire to have a cigarette.
- If you plan to lose weight, batch cook and freeze things so rather than snacking when you get in from work you can cook a nutritious, tasty meal quickly.
- Plan your lunches for the week. If you work in an office this will help you to not go buy a sandwich that is rammed with naughty fillings, to impulse buy that chocolate bar for the afternoon or that creamy latte you love! If you are working from home like many people, it is easy to get to lunch time, to be ravenous and eat too much, not to mention, all the wrong things.
- Snacking; If you feel yourself heading to the fridge mid morning or afternoon, ask yourself if you are really hungry, if yes, look at the apples, do you REALLY want the food because you are hungry? I’ll bet you look at the apple and turn your nose up! So you have to ask yourself if it is true hunger or just psychological! Also when we are dehydrated we can feel ‘hungry’ so drink some water, give it 10 mins and then ask yourself again about whether to eat.
- Portion control; Use a smaller plate, cook less and ensure your meat or proteins is ? of the plate with the rest being vegetables etc. If you are a smoker, leave X amount of cigarettes in the pack, don’t carry a pack of 20, when they are gone, that’s it for you. Same with drinking, limit yourself to 25ml of spirits or 175ml wine, don’t pour generous ‘house measure’ at home or take up the offers in bars. Another great idea is smaller glasses, leaving the bottle in the other room, instead of by your seat, if you have to go up and get it, you will be more aware of your consumption!
- Be careful not to replace one vice with another i.e. you stop smoking but eat chocolate instead or turn to vaping!
As I write this, I have lost over a stone, using most of the tips above, I love my food, have a partner who is an amazing cook and I love a glass of vino or a G&T or two (not necessarily all in one night) so I like you have to make a conscious effort to eat & drink better, I am not a stick insect and I refuse to go out for dinner (when we can) and just eat a salad or even not go out because I know it will be high in calories and fat. The key thing to keep in mind is moderation, it is virtually impossible for most people to eat and drink whatever they fancy without putting on weight, becoming diabetic or having some effects from the excess.
I would always say ask your doctor if you are not sure, use professional advice such as a Nutritionist, Hypnotherapist, Life Coach, Personal Trainer etc, don’t take the advice of your mate down the pub (their life and history as well as their needs may be very different to you) and there is a great deal of mis-information on the internet, most of it conflicts with each other too.