New Year’s Resolutions – How to achieve a healthier you in 2013!

New Years Resolutions

The New Year is a great time to reassess where you are in your life, where you anticipated you would be and it’s a great time to re-evaluate your goals.  You know you can start again with a fresh sheet and do what’s important to you.

Goal Setting

Resolutions are a great way of getting into the habit of setting goals. Any successful entrepreneur or dieter always sets goals.  Goals are dreams or desires with a time frame or deadline placed on them, for instance, a dream is to say you want to lose a stone, a goal is that you want to lose a stone by June and you work out a plan on how to do it with a consistent effort applied. Goals are imperative to any endeavour becoming a success.  They are the map or route to success. Before you set out on a journey, you know which route will get you there the easiest. It’s the same with your own personal journeys.

You can break your goals up into time frames, long term, mid term and short term goals.  For instance, your long term goal may be to lose 2 stone by next Christmas.  Then you work back, Your mid term goal is by June you need to be half way there, so break 14 pounds into 6 months and that will give you an average of 2-3 lbs per month for your short-term goal. Then it doesn’t seem so monumentous and it becomes more realistic and achievable.

Set goals for yourself and not anyone else.

This is the best advice that you can heed.  If you are going to be successful at completing your goal, you need to have the correct motivation to do it in the first place, for your own greater good. However if you are doing it to please someone else you may find it easier to justify stopping or giving up.

Set realistic goals.

After you have realised what are the most important things for you to achieve

You need to set out your plan. Set realistic goals that you know will be achievable and will fit into your life. For instance, if you want to start exercising, think about a suitable time that you can fit it into your present lifestyle without disrupting it.  Goals should enhance not interrupt your life! In terms of “Fat Loss” you should be aiming for 1-2 lbs per week, it is impossible to lose any more fat than this a week, if you are, you are losing water and muscle. In terms of fitness, if you aim to do at least 30 minutes of vigorous exercise each day (or at least 4 times per week) you will achieve a good level of fitness in months! This will work better if you have a daily consistent effort.

Positive mind set

I can’t stress enough how important this is.  If you think you can….you can! It is absolutely imperative to success to believe that you will be successful. Thomas Edison, the great inventor, had an absolute unshakable belief that he could harness electricity into a light bulb.  He had to try over a thousand times but he kept going because he knew he could do it and it’s a good job he did!  This is why it’s important to set realistic goals so you know you’ll be able to achieve them and to break them down into short, mid and long-term.  There is a lot of strong belief in Daily Affirmations, which basically program your subconscious mind, which in turn programs your conscious mind thus making it reality.  Repeat over and over to yourself that you have already achieved your goal.  It is important, though, to word your affirmation in the positive, as your subconscious will pick that up, if you use negative words your subconscious only hears in the negative.  For instance, say, “I love being slim and healthy”, as opposed to “ I hate being over-weight”. All your brain hears is “slim” and “healthy” or “over-weight” therefore it produces the word that it hears over and over again whether it is positive or negative to you. If you repeat this everyday, your goal will be easier to achieve.

Stick with the plan even if you fall off the wagon.

None of us are perfect and we will all have bad days or days when we just couldn’t be bothered.  This is fine as long as they’re in the minority.  If you do have a splurge or a cigarette or miss a training session in the gym, don’t be too hard on yourself and give up…there’s always tomorrow and you can start afresh.  Always use experiences as a lesson.  Find out what triggered you to lose momentum and refresh the reasons why you set your goal in the first place, that way you will be able to recognise the warning signs in time and maybe defer a relapse from happening in the future.  Don’t quit 5 minutes before the miracle occurs.

The Facts

I mentioned earlier about “fat loss”.  This is what we need to concentrate on instead of weight loss, as your scale weight is a poor indicator of the composition of your body in terms of fat and muscle content.

We all have a certain percentage of body fat, for a woman the average healthy amount is between 20-25%, for a man it is around 12-15%. You should get a physical examination with your doctor to determine your present state of health.  You need to find out your body composition to know whether you are under, normal or over weight. This is called you Body Mass Index (BMI). You can work this out by this simple equation.

Weight (kg)

Height (m) ²  = BMI

If the result you get is:

18 or under you are under weight

19-24 normal

24-29 overweight

30+ obese

Once you know this and your % body fat you can formulate a plan to reach your target.

Aim to lose 1-2lbs of fat per week, the slower it comes off the more chance you have of keeping it off.  Don’t be tempted by fad diets or quick fixes, these are unrealistic methods of eating and you will find it difficult to keep up. Also, remember if you are losing more than 2lbs per week you are losing water, which will go back on as soon as you stop the diet and muscle, which controls your metabolic rate.  The more muscle mass you have the quicker you can burn off calories, therefore if you deplete your muscle store you won’t burn off calories as efficiently and when you come off the diet you will revert back to your old habits without the same ability to burn the extra calories off therefore you will gain more weight/fat.

The best way to increase muscle mass is by exercising so if you combine a sensible eating plan with exercise you will achieve your target quicker and healthier.  Remember, the best exercise plan in the world is the one you will do!  In other words, find something you enjoy doing either on your own or with friend, that way you will want to do it.  If you hate the gym, chances are you will stop going by mid February (most gyms note a huge drop in the number of clients attending by February/March), so find an activity that you will keep up.

In terms of food, keep it clean, keep it lean, keep it colourful and varied. Eat your 5+ servings of fruits and veg a day, eat lean protein such as fish, chicken and beef and keep the grains whole.  Keep an eye on portion size and practice ‘mindful’ eating.  For information of a personalised food and weight loss plan, email me emma@nutrition.ie

Try and cut out alcohol as it hampers your ability to stay on track and it also contains nearly as many calories as fat so it is not friendly to your waistline!

By drinking 2-3 litres of water everyday you will be giving yourself a real boost in detoxing and general well-being.  Most common aliments occur as a result of dehydration so get drinking.  Plus the more hydrated you are the easier it is for your body to metabolise fat.  Here’s to a healthy 2013!


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