Having worked in the health and fitness industry for over 12 years, I’ve witnessed the same New Year’s routine year after year; people jump on the fitness and health bandwagon January 1, then quickly fall off the bandwagon at the 3-week, 6-week, and 9-week points (the typical drop-off points for health and fitness resolutions).
Most people even recognize that their fitness and health “New Year’s Resolutions” becomes a routine year after year, and in fact the cliché these people have become is an essential marketing tool for the fitness club/program and nutrition management system industry.
In order to achieve success with health and fitness resolutions, it is best to make lifestyle choices that ensure fit and healthy living for the long-term. As such, this post provides my personal tips for actually achieving and maintaining your fitness and health New Year’s resolutions.
1) Set Specific, Clear, and Measurable GOALS: You wouldn’t use a GPS in your car without entering a destination so why would you be ambivalent about your most important asset: your health? What is your destination and when do you want to get there? Be specific and measurable when goal setting and identify the steps you are taking to get where you want to be and in what time period. In addition, sharing your goals with a spouse, partner, friend, or other family member can help reinforce accountability while creating a support system.
2) Establish a Balanced Approach to Eating: Yes you can lose a considerable amount of weight very quickly by eliminating all carbohydrates from your diet. Unfortunately, this approach to eating is not maintainable for the vast majority of people, and can also lead to numerous other health problems. Be sensible with your nutrition. Focus on eating fresh vegetables, fresh fruit, lean protein, and whole grains. Play with recipes to maximize taste and variety since you are unlikely to stick with an eating plan that is bland or that you do not enjoy.
3) Write it Down: Whether or not you are trying to lose weight, keeping a food, exercise, sleep, stress, goal, and progress journal is a valuable tool to monitor your overall health and wellness. In particular, weight loss is all about creating calorie deficits, which is a numbers game. Writing down your calories in versus calories out is the best way to be clear on where you are tracking. To lose weight, I recommend a 500 calorie per day calorie deficit, which will give you roughly 1 pound of fat loss per week; which is both a maintainable and healthy pace.
4) Choose an Exercise Program that is Maintainable: For most people, exercising 6 days per week, 2 hours a day is not maintainable; or necessary really. Starting off on this path in January will leave you tired, frustrated, and resenting your workouts, and as such you fall off the wagon. When it comes to exercise, it is important to be realistic, what can you actually commit to given your lifestyle? In addition, it is much more difficult on your body and specifically your heart, for you to go in spurts of 2 months of exercising 6 days per week and then nothing for 2 months, versus 6 months of exercising 2-3 days per week.
Next, think of removing barriers. A gym membership is great, but don’t think that is the only way to get fit. Exercising at home is an awesome way to keep your exercise routine going, because you don’t have to deal with the inconvenience of getting to the gym. Finally, pick activities that you enjoy and do what you need to make it fun; bringing a friend is a great way to make it fun!
Leave a comment below as I’d love to hear your thoughts and progress. Remember I’m always here to help.