It’s that time of year again! Christmas, New Year, that voidy bit in the middle that’s full of leftover turkey and mince pies. It’s great, but it does tend to leave you with a bit of a paunch, doesn’t it? And come 1st January, when you sober up, most people have the resolution that they will LOSE WEIGHT™! And they start with vigour and earnest…for a few weeks. Then most people drop off the wagon, quit the gym and vow to try again next week. Next month. Next year….
That’s how the majority of Resolutioners spend the first few weeks, or if they’re really good, the first few months of the new year. But why? People try to change too much at once. They change their diet drastically in one go, they develop a new exercise routine and hit the gym six days a week as well as a hundred other New Year’s Resolutions. It’s all too much! If you want to make long term, lasting changes you have to start small and build up from there. If you do too much at once, you are only setting yourself up to fail. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
Weight loss is not that hard, no matter what diet companies try to sell you. It’s a matter of keeping going, even when you don’t want to.
Making weight loss easy
This article is not a step-by-step to weight loss, there are plenty of those out there written by far more qualified people than me. A hundred diets will work for you, it’s just about finding a reasonable one that you can follow. Instead this is a guide to help you start off small, develop some habits and take all the necessary steps to get you on the right path. Oh, and keep you there.
Nobody is ever surprised to hear that cake makes you fat, or that drinks of pop rot your teeth. This is not revolutionary! But what do most people do in January? Dump all the bad stuff and try to eat as many steamed veggies as they can. This is a mistake as it is just not what you’re used to and the call of the cake ends up far too strong. Instead of a major diet overhall, start off by changing just one thing.
Water. Drink water. Drop the pop and get a glass of water.
Now, tap water can be boring. I know that. Suck it up, this is about developing the discipline to stick with something, even if it isn’t fun. Just swapping Coke out can drastically reduce your calorie intake and leading to a decent amount of weight loss.
A lot of people will now be staring at their screen going “But I don’t drink fizzy drinks! I drink healthy things like orange juice and squash!”. Well, sorry to burst your bubble – orange juice is not a healthy alternative. OJ contains a lot of sugar, same as fizzy pop. But why is eating an orange healthy and drinking OJ is not? Ever squeezed an orange? How much juice do you get from one orange? Not a lot. So imagine how many oranges you need to make even a small glass of orange juice. I’ve never met someone who would willingly sit there and eat 56 oranges in one go. Plus, you miss out on all the fibre and filling stuff contained in a real orange. Stick with water.
Changing just this one thing is pretty simple, but it also has a major impact. More bang for your buck, and sustainability, than trying to overhaul everything at once. If you’ve been an avid meat-eater for your whole life, suddenly trying to go vegan is not going to work. If you really, really, really can’t stomach plain water then I talk here about how to make water more effective and delicious. Add a splash of lemon juice and a pinch of salt, not enough to make it taste gross, but enough to replace any lost salts and keep your wee nice and clear.
One of the most dreaded words in the English language is “exercise”, but it doesn’t need to be. You don’t have to go from couch potato to marathon runner in the first few weeks of January, or from puny weakling to training like the world’s strongest man either. This is about making weight loss easy, remember? This exercise tip I’m going to give you has been shown to reduce heart disease, increase happiness and prevent depression, reverse diabetes and have a positive impact on other chronic diseases.
Go for a walk, every day. Rain, snow, sun, sleet – whatever the weather is doing, go for at least half an hour walk. This is about developing good habits, so wear appropriate clothing and get out in the elements! Sorry, no. Walking on a treadmill doesn’t count.
Keep it simple
If you can stick to the plan every day of January then you are well on your way to a new, healthier you. Don’t get bogged down in complicated diets or fancy exercise routines. Don’t sign up to the gym for a year just yet or buy a new juicer. Just drink water and walk. After that, start to dial in the diet a bit more. Don’t buy any of the bad food next time you’re at the shops, then start to speed up the walking a little. Google exercise routines – there’s thousands of free ones out there.
Remember, weight loss is like using paper towels. You pull off a piece of paper towel every day and the roll seems to stay the same size – right up until the roll is empty. You won’t notice any changes at first, or even for a while until suddenly your pants don’t fit and there’s a new person looking at you in the mirror. The change is both slow and very sudden, so stick with it even if you don’t think it’s working. Good luck, Resolutioners!