New years resolution -start eating better and working out? | Making sustainable lifestyle changes

This new years eve, when i was celebrating with my friends we began talking about new years resolutions.

I don’t actually have any new years resolutations – i have goals and dreams for the whole year, but no resolutions. However all my friends had the goal, to start eating better and working out.

I was actually a little surprised, i thought that that was just a stereotypical thing and that no one actually had that as a resolution anymore, but i guess i was wrong. And of course, there is nothing wrong with that resolution, it is great that people want to focus on eating better and working out more often.

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However, most people go about it the wrong way. In January they all decide to get gym cards – along with everyone else – and because they are so motivated they force themselves to the gym 5-6 times a week, which only really lasts a few weeks until they get tired, bored, unmotivated. They try to eat healthy and that means cutting out all junk food and anything they consider “Bad”. Instead they just eat a bunch of salad, bland and boring food and they are left feeling unsatisfied, tired and craving sweets and junk food even more than before. And eventually end up back to their usual eating habits.

Getting healthier doesn’t mean you have to run 6 days a week and eat salad. In reality, that isn’t sustainable anyway.

It is better to make small changes overtime and make it a lifestyle change, not a 6 week diet.

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I know that i am lucky and have grown up in a family where eating “Healthy” and exercising is just part of my lifestyle. It isn’t something i stop with or give up. Because even if i do have dips in motivation with working out, i know that eventually i will get back into and find my motivation and enjoyment again. I know however this isn’t the case for everyone and that many just can’t seem to stick with a “healthy” diet and workout routine, but i thought i would share some tips for those of you who have the new years resolution, “eat better and workout more”.

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My tips for making a healthier lifestyle change and sticking to your new years resolution:

  1. Try different forms of exercise. Try swimming, try gym classes, try running, try dancing, try yoga…. Also, try them atleast 2-3 times to see. The first time might not always ben fun because you may just feel awkward and lost, but you get better the more you do it!
  2. Try working out with someone else…. whether it is a friend, partner, family member or in a group. It can be a way to make exercising more fun and at the same you are social. Not to mention, you will *hopefully* be more likely to exercise if you make a pact with someone else. You can help motivate each other.
  3. Set realistic goals. Setting the goal to run 10km in 2 weeks if you can’t even run 1km yet isn’t a realistic goal… instead, focus on goals that can challenge and motivate you, but at the same time are realistic.
  4. Also remember that practise makes perfect! You may not start off as the best, but you can only get better. And the better you get, the more fun it is!
  5. Set long term and short term goals & have rewards for when you reach them. This can be motivating for some, and it is always nice to have something to look forward to!
  6. Don’t try to workout 2 times a day or 6 days a week when you first start. Instead, increase slowly. Begin with maybe 1-2 times a week, and over time you can increase if you can fit in the workouts.
  7. Priortize working out… why not watch an episode while on the bicycle or treadmill on the gym?

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What about changing your diet and eating healthier?

  1. Eating healthy doesn’t mean never eating sweets or chocolate or ice cream again, it just means eating them in a more balanced way. I.e not on a daily basis.
  2. Also choosing when you eat them… i.e just because you are offered doesn’t mean you have to eat it.
  3. The best way to start is to look at your diet as it is right now… then identify what you think needs to be changed, and why. You don’t need to make all changes at once, and you don’t need to go from 100 to 0. Instead say to yourself… Maybe instead of eating chocolate 5 days a week i can eat it 3 days a week? Maybe instead of regular soda i can drink diet soda? Maybe instead of drinking alcohol every weekend i can cut down to 2 weekends each month, or have one weekend alcohol free?
  4. Also focus on what you CAN eat and what you should increase, instead of what you should cut down and take away. I.e eat MORE fruit and vegetables. Eat MORE homecooked. Eat MORE plantbased. Eat MORE vegan/vegetarian option. This is a much better mindset and you focus on what you can eat, not what you “shouldn’t” eat.
  5. Set small and realistic goals. I.e is it realistic for you to go from 5 cups of coffee to 0? no, maybe not so focus on just cutting down. Also setting 1-2 goals each week maybe be better than trying to do everything at once. Such as the first week you try to eat 3-5 fruits a day and drink more water. The next week, along with those other two goals you also try to increase your vegetable intake the whole week. The week after that you try to eat less chocolate and use less salt etc etc This will create more lasting and sustainable changes and it won’t feel too overwhelming.
  6. Don’t jump onto any restrictive or fad diets. Really this should have been the first point. One sure way to set yourself up for failure is to do a FAD or very restrictive diet. It is not sustainable or enjoyable, you will just feel tired and deprived. Not to mention, don’t fall into the marketing trick of fatburners, appetitesurpressants etc… they don’t work and are just a waste of money.
  7. Focus on primarily plantbased/whole foods. And try to think of the 80/20 rule. I.e 80% of your diet is wholefoods/plant based and 20% of your diet can be other food.
  8. Make “healthy” food delicious. I.e forget boring lettuce and tomato salads, and instead fill your salads with lots of tasty and nourishing foods such as tofu, beans, sweet potato, avocado, make some type of dressing. You don’t have to eat boring or bland food just because it is plant based or healthy. Use spices and seasoning, try different methods of cooking, find recipes to try.
  9. Don’t cut out whole food groups – i.e you need carbs, protein, fat and fiber. So don’t cut out fats or carbs just because it is a trend-diet.
  10. Eat foods that make you feel good. But also focusing on how you eat can be a goal. I.e don’t stress eat, don’t eat mindlessly, structure your meal times and if possible, eating without distraction can be good for some. And if you are someone who gets alot of stomach pain and digestive issues, then focus on feeling relaxed when eating and don’t stress eat or throw the food into you. Instead take your time to eat and relax when you eat – this can help with digestive issues.

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Focus on making lifestyle changes and the aim of exercising more frequently and eating better is to make you feel better overall, physically and mentally. So if you aren’t feeling better after some time, then rethink what you are doing and eating!

And if you have weightloss as a new years goal – this goes along with finding a workout routine that works for you, and a healthy diet that works for you. When you have the goal weightloss, you do of course have to eat a calorie minus (unless you plan to workout several hours a day). But you can still eat alot of delcious food, even if you have to eat at a calorie minus. Also focus on a slow weightloss instead of trying to lose 5kg in a month – it will be alot more sustainable.

Also.. .let’s not forget those that actually have the goal of gaining weight or getting stronger. Once again, having it a long term goal can often be better than trying to gain strength or lots of weight in a short period of time. And focus on eating at a surplus, adding example drinks to your meals if you find it hard to eat enough, and snacking onn nuts and dried fruit 🙂

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One Comment Add yours

  1. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head here!! The problem is that people want to get “healthy” because that sounds good… but they don’t actually know what healthy means, they think it’s starving yourself, not enjoying food, punishing your body at the gym… But healthy and happy are meant to go together! 🙂

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