It’s a New Year and a new decade so it’s time to set some seriously big goals, along with some wildly ambitious resolutions because New Year New Me, right? Wrong! How about trying something new this year and think beyond resolutions because let’s face it, does anyone actually stick to theirs past the third week in January?
Check out the below top tips to help you kick start your 2020 and ditch the resolution mindset.
1) Think small – this may sound a little against the grain but instead of focusing on what you want to change in an entire year, why not look at what you can change in a day. I challenge you to think of 3 small things you can do today that brings you that step closer (no matter how minute that step is) to your end goal. This could be preparing a healthy lunch for tomorrow, joining a new gym or going for a walk round the park.
2) Ditch the guilt – if you indulged over the festive period and skipped the gym then remember this is ok, in fact it is very normal. Christmas is a time to enjoy eating and drinking as you please and spending time with the ones you love. So, don’t beat yourself up about ‘falling off the wagon’ or ‘letting your goals slip’; put the festive period in the past and cherish the memories you have made with your loved ones. Don’t let your anxiety about what you have eaten dominate your life.
3) Ease yourself into it – just because it’s January does not mean all chocolate, alcohol and puddings should be demonised and thrown away because they are not considered ‘healthy’ or ‘good’. Instead, if you want to eat them, try reducing the amount you have. Rather than eating 2 mince pies a day, try two a week. Instead of five quality street each evening, try one or two. Remember, no foods are bad.
Also, you could try making smart swaps that help support satiety. One example is swapping your confectionary bar for a protein bar. PhD’s Smart Bar is roughly the same amount of calories as a standard chocolate bar, however with 20g of protein this will help fill you pu for longer, whilst containing less than 2g of sugar.
4) Eat mindfully – eating past fullness is normal for many people at Christmas. Often, we mindlessly consume foods we don’t even like the taste of or do so with so little attention given to the food that we can’t even recall what it tastes like after we’ve just eaten it. Try eating your food slowly, away from distractions, so you can try reconnect with your hunger cues and taste buds (and actually enjoy food again).
5) Add more volume to your meals – for those who ate more than usual over Christmas, it is only natural to feel hungry when you reduce your food intake back to your usual routine. You can minimise your hunger by boosting the volume of your food, which is also useful if fat loss is your goal and you are in a calorie deficit. High-volume foods such as spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumber, kale, courgette, oats, lentils, strawberries and blackberries as well as lean sources of protein like egg whites, turkey and non-fat Greek yogurt are all great additions to bulk out your meals whilst contributing to your fibre and micronutrient intake.
A warming bowl of oats with added egg whites or grated courgette, known as Zoats (Zucchini, American term for courgette + Oats) is the perfect winter breakfast. Try adding a tablespoon of Smart Protein or if you prefer a vegan option Smart Protein Plant to help satisfy your sweet tooth whilst your meal higher in protein to support satiety and muscle retention. Soups and stews packed full of veggies are also a winner this time of the year.
6) Increase your activity – this doesn’t necessarily mean exercise. If you’re not ready to hit the gym or uncomfortable with overcrowded spaces, then start by going for a walk or a swim. The trick is to do something you enjoy, whether that’s Zumba or joining a netball or rugby team. Remember tip 1: think small. You don’t need to smash out a 2-hour session every night. Start with 15 minutes a day or when you can fit into your schedule and work up.
7) Don’t become obsessed with number on the scales – if fat loss is your 2020 goal, don’t freak out if the scales have tipped dramatically in the wrong direction over the festive period. There are so many variables that impact scale weight; the amount of salt consumed, the amount of carbohydrates consumed, exercise, bowel movements, food timing and the time of the day. Because of this your bodyweight can fluctuate by 2kg overnight, therefore shouldn’t be used on a daily basis. Often the best monitoring tool to measure progress is how your clothes fit and how you feel in yourself. Remember, changes don’t happen overnight so be kind to yourself, the results will come but these things take time.
8) Don’t lose sight of what is important – whatever your motivation is to lose weight, make sure you do it for yourself and not because you are comparing yourself to a fitness influencer you just scrolled past on Instagram. Also, remember what is truly important: your family, friends, your experiences, your ability to make others laugh, to laugh at yourself, to be emphatic, compassionate and an all-round good person. Your weight does not define you.