Sticking To A Healthy Plan Beyond January..............

Over the next month a large proportion of society will be on a health and fitness drive. We’re bombarded through Social and other Media outlets with messages about new ‘Quick Fix Diets’, fitness regimes and weight loss programmes. The unfortunate fact is 'Quick Fixes' are not permanent and inevitably lead to failure…… if not immediately, at least within the first three months. 

January is when Gyms make or break their year, this the time they make money..... but the cold reality is that gyms are expecting it’s members to fail. A gym needs a fair amount of space for equipment, changing rooms etc and space is expensive, if all members turned up gyms would not be able to cope with the numbers. The perfect gym member is the one that intends to workout but doesn’t, therefore subsidising the few that continue going throughout the year. The fact is 30%+ of new gym members give up within the first 12 weeks.

The same applies to Supplements and Fad Diets, these companies rely on repeat business, they need your custom the following January! Generally cutting out meals or replacing meals with supplements leads to individuals feeling tired and sometimes quite ill. This is a problem as that individual now associates healthy living with a negative feeling. You should be feeling great, energised and full of living with a healthy diet not ill! If what you are looking for is healthy living there are no short cuts, it’s a lifestyle not a 12 week programme.

So why do people fail to maintain a Healthy Lifestyle with these type of approaches??The following Timescale often applies:

Month 1 & 2 - You hit your target weight…..Great, mission accomplished. Stop the fasting diet, back to normal….the weight goes back on plus a couple of extra pounds.

You make it to Month 3 & 4 - Your weight plateau’s, you get bored and bad habits start to creep in, the weight starts to creep up and you’re back in the cycle of fad diets and bursts of activity.

Beyond Month 4 - This is a good place to be, this indicates that your regime is working and is becoming your new lifestyle.

There are a number of triggers that can cause the demise of a well intended ‘New You’ - Stress at work or home, Boredom, Sadness….it’s often a negative feeling that will push you back into bad habits. Bad eating, smoking, drinking are seen as a way of making things better….relieving stress…..and they may for a few minutes, but after a short while they will make any bad situation or feeling 10 times worse. Coping with difficult situations at home or at work is far easier when you’re feeling healthy, you have a clear mind, you probably make better decisions and you’re generally in a more positive mood! 

Here are number of points that could help you reach your goals and more importantly stick with a new, healthier way of living:

1. Identify your trigger, what is it that makes you reach for Cake! Ask yourself whether you are really hungry or need a drink and will you feel better for it. Substitute the old negative habit for a positive new one. Cake for Fruit or £5 in the pot for a new pair of shoes rather than a pack of 10….…reward yourself for being good

2. Get some company - Go to the gym with a partner or join a class, motivation and support is key to ensuring there is longevity with your exercise plan. Let your family know what your goals are and make sure they buy into them, it’s easier to cook and live healthier if the whole household is on board.

3. Keep it varied - This goes for food and exercise. Boredom is one of the main reasons people give in. In addition, if you consistently carry out the same exercises week after week your body will stop re-acting and changing, you need to keep surprising it.

4. Don’t beat yourself up if you fall of the wagon occasionally. Do what you can but most importantly keep it going.

5. Set yourself fitness goals - Get a Fitbit and count your steps, download and try the Couch to 5k App...... It shouldn’t all be about weight.

6. Plan your week like you would plan a working day or your Social Life. Diarise your workout - when is it, what are you going to do? What’s your meal plan for the week?

7. If you are not keen on training in groups invest in a Personal Trainer. A good PT will provide you with a tailored approach which is specific to your goals, they'll also ensure you get a good variety of training plans and most importantly will deliver much needed encouragement and advice

Exercise and eating healthily go well together, one often leads to the other. If you’re not eating well you probably won’t feel like exercising and you don’t have the right fat burning fuel in your body to help you generate the necessary energy.

Eating well and exercise are not punishments, they should be enjoyed, it’s the only way they will become part of your lifestyle……Invest in the long-term…..

What will you get from your new Lifestyle:

  • An improvement in mood

  • You’ll get less colds and bugs

  • More energy

  • Loose weight - if that’s what your looking for

  • Increase your chances of living longer

  • A better chance of avoiding longer term health diseases

  • Perform better at work and at home!

Author: Gyles - Personal Trainer at Fitbot in East Sussex
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