Eating better and working out tend to rank high on the New Year’s resolutions list. The greatest challenge however is sticking to those resolutions past 31 January.
Many people regrettably end up losing steam by February because they have either tried to change too much too soon, or they have embarked on a very restrictive eating plan.
New Year’s resolutions are also viewed by some as an ‘all-or-nothing’ endeavour; they pat themselves on the back when they are eating well and going to the gym regularly, but then guilt themselves into old behaviours when the slightest slip up occurs.
This all-or-nothing approach is not going to help you maintain your diet resolution. In fact, it is a surefire way to ensure that your resolution is short-lived!
So how can you be successful with your New Year’s resolution this year?
Make gradual changes
Start with a different approach to your goal setting. Instead of making a bold statement that sets too many limitations and restrictions, start with a smaller goal that will enable you to make gradual changes. This approach allows the brain to focus on one change at a time and research shows it is the best way to maintain changes over the long term.
Get enough rest
Too little sleep can easily derail promises to eat healthily. A lack of sleep often results in lower energy levels, and for some, this also means reaching for something starchy or sugary to boost energy.
Also when we are sleep deprived, planning for healthy meals and snacks often goes out the window along with our motivation to exercise.
Adults on average need seven to eight hours of sleep. Children and teenagers need about nine to 10 hours each night.
Curb night-time snacking
Many people who snack after dinner do so out of habit and not hunger.
This is a big culprit for excess calories and can lead to mindless nibbling that goes beyond one serving, especially if you are snacking right out of the bag!
Swap the night-time nibbling for a cup of herbal tea or even light hot chocolate in the evening.
Most cravings have passed once you’ve finished drinking a hot beverage. It can take 30 minutes to finish a cup of tea versus three minutes (if that) to eat a few cookies!
If at all possible, plan your meals in advance. On the weekend, spend a few minutes thinking about the week ahead. Map out your meals, healthy snacks, grocery list, even your workouts.
If planning an entire week ahead is too daunting, then plan for only one or two days at a time.
Being organised also refers to being prepared. If you know the office vending machine is going to tempt you at three o’clock every afternoon, then organise healthy snacks to bring in so that you are prepared to stick with your eating plan.
Whatever your New Year’s resolution, it is important to remember that we are all human and, as such, this road to health is not always going to be perfect. Push past those occasional obstacles and move forward. Good luck!