I debated writing about this topic because I feel it can be a little bit like beating a dead horse, especially if you’ve been reading my blog for any amount of time. But I decided to do it anyway because it’s an important message and it’s January.
What does January have to do with eating? Well, turn on your TV and watch any channel. The majority of the commercials are going to be about some diet or weight loss system. January is the month of resolutions and the beginning of many diets. Gyms have major discounts and are usually packed the first few weeks of the new year. Supplements, vitamins, pills, and all other weight loss tools/systems/plans are everywhere you turn. People and companies in the health and fitness realm know that you’re going to spend your money and they want to make sure that you spend it on their plan or product.
There are so many diets to choose from and it can be overwhelming to decide which one you are going to follow. All claim to have amazing results and some even tell you it can be done with minimal effort. It’s hard not to be drawn in with the before and after pictures, hoping that soon you can have your own beautiful after photo. So you dive in and pick a diet that you feel is going to give you the results you want.
I don’t want to rail against all the diets out there. That’s been done and I don’t feel the need to add to that noise. But I do want to tell you one thing that might sound a little contradictive to that sentiment.
To be more specific, don’t approach the new year with a diet frame of mind. A diet typically has a starting and an ending point. Once you reach your goal weight, you stop your diet and return to your regularly scheduled program. But if you return to the way you were eating before you lost the weight guess what’s going to happen? You’re going to regain that weight.
Which is why I want you to approach weight loss and this new year not with diet at the top of your list but a lifestyle change instead. If you’re truly serious about losing weight and getting your health on track, this is going to be a life long thing. This isn’t a 30-day program or a two-week transformation. This is going to be your day in and day out. When you look back on what you used to be and do, it should look completely different from the here and now.
Don’t let this frustrate you or dissuade you. I don’t want this to make you feel defeated before you start. I want you to feel empowered and ready to face what’s ahead. There are going to be tough days and there are going to be easy ones. There are going to be meals where the only thing you want to see on your plate is a Twinkie and there will be meals where you can’t wait to eat a whole heap of vegetables. And you know what? That’s life and that’s how being healthy goes. It’s a balancing act, a yin and yang, give and take.
So if you are starting this year with the goal of being healthier and losing weight, please don’t think of it as a finite time. Don’t approach your goal in the “diet” frame of mind. Focus on these three little things to help big change:
Small changes. Gradually change your habits so that you aren’t overwhelmed. Once you feel you’ve got one change down add another one. Keep doing this until you have completely turned things around.
Add not subtract. Instead of thinking of all the foods you don’t eat anymore, focus on all the new things you get to eat. New fruits or vegetables you’ve never tried or different recipes than the one you’re used to can make your new lifestyle feel fresh, fun, and exciting.
Know your why. Have a definite reason that you’re doing this and remind yourself of that often. And don’t worry about your reason. If it’s so you look good at your high school reunion this year or in order to fight heart disease, as long as it keeps you motivated, that’s all that matters.
Those three things can help you when the going gets tough and trust me it will. But that doesn’t mean you have to give up, it just means you need to put in a little more effort until you get to the easy parts again. And those easy parts will come, I promise.