How to make this year, the one for real, sustained change!
Now starts the ‘new year, new you’ hype and the all-in exercising and post Christmas binge cleanse! This momentum is a great asset, as is the new ‘2018’ label that can act as a clean slate for starting again. But, how can we channel the motivation into a sustained more comprehensive change in habits and lifestyle?!
Did you know?
Only 8% of people actually keep their new years resolutions
80% of New Years resolutions fail by February
To avoid being a statistic, you need to realise that momentum and motivation isn’t enough (especially by February!). Organisation, planing and structure is required and you need to establish habits that work with your lifestyle and that you enjoy! Longevity and consistency comes from appropriate choices and application!!
From working with clients, there are two distinct areas that people shift their focus to in the new year: 1. ‘diet’ and 2. exercise. In this blog I am going to focus on number 1 = DIET!
When I was a ‘newer’ personal trainer (15years ago!) I use to be extremely empathetic and supportive to people regarding their ‘diet’. With increased experience, understanding and research however, I stopped sugar-coating the reality of nutrition. Your weight, immune system and quality of physical function comes from the fuel you put in your mouth (liquid or solid) full stop! Quality and quantity are both extremely important. You CANNOT out exercise poor quality nutrition or too much of it!
I have tweaked my nutritional habits over the years to support the energy demands of my physical work and training and it has taken time and a lot of organisation and food prep to get it right. The biggest changes I have made personally have been the result of well-planned appropriate habit adjustments that were sustainable and implemented over time. They have included:
- becoming more plant-based (no meat or dairy) - I started by
cutting out processed meats
then all red meat (other than the odd fillet steak)
going from semi-skimmed to skimmed milk and then to almond milk
Stopped eating cheese and reducing weekly egg intake
Swapped my protein powders from whey-based to vegan (pea, rice and cranberry) #arbonne
- Drinking less Diet Coke - I use to drink litres of it at university as I went T-total in my final year of study so substituted alcohol for Diet Coke.
I set myself daily targets of 2 cans max
Bought only the mini cans and kept the same daily target of 2
Adjusted target to aim for 1 per day
I’m not perfect and sometimes the tweaks get tweaked, but I don’t view it as ‘falling off the wagon’, it’s a no guilt-attached temporary adjustment and I carry on as before. Currently here in Fiji I will say the diet cokes have on occasion gone up to 2 a day but consistency 95% of the time is what matters.
People who have a nutritional habit you look at with envy, are not super human, with extreme levels of discipline and self-control. They have just currently done a better job at setting out their processes and habits. Small, manageable, SUSTAINABLE steps.
So here are my suggestions for a sustainable change starting now....
- Change your focus to ‘health’ instead of ‘weight’ if it isn’t already - it makes decision-making over certain foods a lot more logical - ‘does this nourish my body? Is it quality fuel?’
- Try a focused, structured and supportive system to keep you on track into February and beyond. For example, the one we recommend to clients is the Arbonne ‘30 days to healthy living’ plan. It focuses on cutting our inflammatory substances and alkalising the body, using ultra premium products for support aswell as online resources and groups containing shopping lists and recipes ideas. The focus is health and physical function but as a byproduct people always lose weight, look and feel better.
- Choose 1-2 nutritional habits you would like to change and write down and make visible your step change habit. Make sure it’s SMART - it needs to be realistic and achievable! For example if you wanted to reduce dairy in your diet to see the affect of reducing inflammation, bloating and blood acidity try substituting = change to a nut or rice milk or try a vegan protein powder to cut out the whey (and other preservatives and s**t) assuming you use protein powder
- Develop the habit of preparing your meals in advance - even if it’s one meal a day or even just one day a week to start with as you develop a habit. Need inspiration?! Then just use google search or Pinterest! The internet is an abundance of ideas for home made healthy meals - cold or hot! Especially if you search ‘bliss bowls’, ‘buddha bowls’ or ‘poke bowls’
In my next blog I’m going to look at number 2 = exercise! I will give my thoughts and suggestions around making changes to starting or optimising how you already train and the results you get from it.