We are well into January and most people have already fallen off of their New Year’s resolutions they made 18 short days ago… I’m one of them! I made it 3 days. I was going to go 30 days without a glass of red wine. What happened as soon as I said to myself, “no red wine for you”? I wanted it even more! I was like a 15 year old kid rebelling against my parents. It proved once again to me, that restriction is not the key but rather, moderation.
Weight loss resolutions are the most difficult to make. Especially if you are setting a broad goal such as, “I’m going to lose weight”. Its been proven time and time again that in order to achieve a goal it must be specific, it must be reasonable and it must be measurable. I think its always good to set a date or timeline in there as well. For example, “I’m going to lose 13 pounds in 15 weeks”. That is specific, measurable and reasonable.
The next step is to create a plan on how to achieve your goal. This is where things get messy. With fitness magazines, the wonderful world wide web and social media people dive head first into big ideas and trends that are expensive and not sustainable. There are so many conflicting ideas and such an over-abundance of information that things become overly complicated very quickly. When it gets complicated and overwhelming we tend to give up. In a day and age where we have access to so much we are truly blessed but also cursed as well.
We are starting week two of our Body Challenge at Fitness Inc. Myself and my partner-in-crime, Jessica Law, are coaching and training 20 amazing people to get healthy. I’m very fortunate to work with Jessica. We have very similar outlooks on fitness and nutrition. Our hope is to teach our challengers that fitness is necessary to be healthy for all of the right reasons, which are very personal to each individual. However, the one common denominator is that it has to fit with ones own lifestyle. I strongly believe that you do not have to spend hours in the gym to accomplish this and you may not need to spend any time in the gym at all. In fact, there is a large percentage of people who hate the gym. But every person needs something… anything… to be active. You need to find what that thing is.
When it comes to nutrition… oh my word… so much information. Always a new trend, whether Atkins, South Beach, the Zone, Paleo, Beach Body, Isagenix on and on and on. I read EVERYTHING. The thing is, when you read these books, each and every one of them is convincing in their claims. I bet if you were to read a book about each one of the major “diet trends”, you could find that you would do beautifully on any one of them and you probably would… for about six months tops. Unless you have the type of personality where you are highly motivated and driven. For those… maybe a year to eighteen months. After that, unless it becomes something that is very simple for you to follow… essentially, effortless, we fall off the wagon.
Being healthy shouldn’t be complicated but like everything else, its something you have to work at and something you have to dedicate yourself to. You have to practice and be patient. Only when you surrender to the fact that there will be no short-term fix, when you decide to practice healthy living for life, will you succeed.
Some may find that this means spending up to two hours in the gym most days of the week. These people are there because they love it, they thrive on it. There is a social aspect and it keeps them motivated. For the more introverted type, they may choose to turn on a DVD in their living room, for those who crave the outdoors, it may be running or hiking or any sort of outdoor activity.
Nutrition definitely seems to be the most complicated and I believe it makes up 80% of the equation. I’m not a fan of calorie counting but if you’re just starting out, I truly think its a necessary evil. Once you get into the habit of what your calorie requirements look like in terms of macro-nutrient (protein, carbohydrates and fat) breakdown is… you won’t have to count for life or at least things should be simple enough that you shouldn’t have to. Tracking what you eat and more importantly – how you FEEL is key. Everyone feels extremely different eating different foods. The big trend right now is gluten free. There is a very very small portion of the population who have true gluten allergies. For the rest, its a grey area. But, if you track your food and how you feel after eating it – that is the best indicator of whether you should consume it or not. Something else that takes patience and dedication.
I recently started reading a book called, “Fat Loss Happens on Mondays” by Josh Hillis. I skimmed though and now I’m reading full-on. But what has captured my attention is his insistence on simplicity of ones approach to health. When he talks about nutrition specifically, he states the following: 1. Quantity of food determines your scale weight, 2. Quality of food determines your body fat percentage and 3. The ratios of macro-nutrients determines how satisfied (or satiated) you will be each day. The macro-nutrients is where you need to experiment. For myself, I have slowly discovered that if I eat a high protein, higher fat diet – I crave sweets less. For some, they may need a much larger proportion of carbs to stay energized and satisfied.
Keep your food simple. One ingredient or very few ingredients. As close to nature as you can find. If you can’t pronounce it, don’t consume it.
In summary, my hope is that each and every one of you who have set weight loss or getting healthy as your New Year’s resolution will be successful. However, in order to sustain your motivation you need to follow simple steps:
1. Pick a reasonable, measurable, specific goal.
2. Track your nutrition intake (online or on paper) – along with how you feel.
3. Move more – but with that – find what you love to do – or what makes you feel happy and joyful. Ski, dance, walk, hike, bootcamp, crossfit, gym, swim… if you love it – you’ll stick with it.
4. Eat simple, wholesome foods.
5. Don’t restrict anything, especially if its your favorite. Unless of course, you know its a “trigger” food. Ummmm… that would be Nutella for moi! Get it out of the house. If you know you can’t enjoy in moderation – then don’t torture yourself. Don’t challenge me – I could eat a full-sized Costco tub of that shit! I tell my clients to pick three things that they refuse to give up. Mine are red wine, chocolate, and peanut butter. For me, knowing I can have those things every day if I so choose, makes me know that I am in control and I’m not deprived.
There you have it!
I hope that all of you have an amazing 2015. So much happens in one short year. Enjoy each day, work to embrace the challenges thrown your way and give yourself permission to achieve those goals you have set for yourself!