With the New Year many people set grand resolutions. However, these types of goals are often difficult for people to maintain them. If you’ve have made some New Years resolutions don’t give up on them just yet. Being aware of the 10 behaviours listed can help you restructure your goals and help you stay on track.
Too much too soon
People often want to overhaul their life by changing up their entire eating and workout plan all at once. The problem is, with such dramatic changes it is easy to get overwhelmed and become exhausted. This often leads to people dropping their goals.
Instead: try picking one action that will add to your health and keep your actions in line with your goals. For example, shutting off electronics and going to bed at 9 p.m. might be your goal. When you make this one action your focus it may have a trickle-down effect for your health. For instance, you may get more sleep which may make it easier to get up for your earlier morning workout, or have more energy for the day, reduced your cortisol levels resulting in less cravings, and more balanced food choices etc.
Not tracking health habits
To better understand barriers that may be holding you back it is important to collect data on yourself. If you can understand the problem, it’s easier to move forward to find a solution. You can track macros, micros, weight, performance, eating habits, eating times, sleep… the options are endless. It is important to find the right method as it is easy to collect the data, but you need to be learning from it to make changes.
Instead: Using My Viva Plan –one platform that allows you track all these daily actions that impact your health. By compiling your data, in weekly, monthly or quality reports you can see objectively how your lifestyle affects how you move your body and fuel your body.
Pursuing someone else’s goal
People often set weight loss goals because someone else told them they should, or they are doing it for an upcoming event. The trouble is that the steps needed to lose the weight in a short amount of time are not sustainable and people often go back to old habits and regain the weight. This cycle of yo-yo dieting is dangerous for both your mental and physical health.
Instead: take time to envision your life and your health 5, 10, 20 years from now. What do you want it to look like, how do you want to feel? Are your actions in line with vision?
Focusing on the number and not how you feel
It’s not always about the number on the scale. Weight loss is an outcome and not a goal. For one person the result of going to the gym three times per week and having a balanced breakfast four times per week might result in weight loss of one pound per week. For someone the result from a similar routine could be completely different.
Instead: you deserve to feel like the best version of yourself, what actions help you to feel better. For example, drinking 2L of water a day may help you to feel more energized and rested, you may experience less cravings, your may feel digestion better, your skin may look better.
For some reason we have gotten the idea that weight loss or maintenance comes with great sacrifice – you need to eat very little and exercise all the time. This is simply not true. Weight loss comes from being consistent (not starving yourself during the week only to over-compensate on the weekend) and understanding what small daily actions you need to take to keep your actions in line with your goal.
Instead: Take time to reflect and learn form times and situations you felt unhappy with your lifestyle choices. Reflect over the day or week on when you were less consistently, what was happening in your environment, how did your routine differ? What thoughts were you saying to yourself?
Engaging in negative self-talk
People can be downright mean to themselves and speak to themselves in a way they would never speak to anyone else. I have seen clients eat as close to perfect as possible and workout five times per week only to continue to struggle with their weight. What helps them move past this plateau is when they start to be kinder to themselves. It can start with journaling one positive thing about themselves each day.
Instead: As part of your daily reflection find one action or decision you made that added to your health and give yourself praise and recognition for your efforts. If your find the negative thoughts are too much try developing a 3-4-word mantra to repeat to yourself to stop the negative thoughts, for instance “I am strong, determined and healthy”
Setting unrealistic goals for yourself
People often set huge goals that are not achievable without looking at the smaller steps to get there. When they are not able to reach their unrealistic expectations, they feel like a failure which can lead to negative self-talk which leads to giving up.
Instead: Before setting goals, take time to reflect on past goals, have you set these goals before? Were you successful? For each goal you set ask yourself on a scale of 1-10 How important is the goal to me? How confident am I that I can achieve this goal? How ready am I to focus on this goal? If you score a 7 or lower, consider restructuring your goal to get you to an 8 or higher.
Cutting calories to low
Eating too few calories can create a ‘starvation reaction’ in the body causing it to slow its metabolic rate due to muscle breakdown. Your body’s hormone levels may change to compensate. Signs that your body is trying to compensate for low intake can include low energy, increased appetite and cravings in the afternoon and evening. Cravings are likely for higher calorie foods containing sugar/starch.
Instead: Take time to reflect at the end of the day, how was your energy? Were you hungry or starving before your meals? Were you satisfied after? How was your energy? The more you can take time to connect with your body and better understand it the easier it is to create a pattern of eating that works for you and only you.
Not eating balanced
When people cut their calories to low, they often cut the starch in favour of protein and vegetables. I love vegetables and they should always be at lunch and dinner, but they do not have many calories on their own. Their purpose is to fill you up with fiber (and provide nutrients) so you can eat a more appropriate portion of protein and starch to be satisfied and minimalize your cravings later in the day.
Instead: Reflect around your meals. What did you eat? Did it follow the healthy plate? Were you satisfied after? For how long? Generally, a well-balanced meal or snack should satisfy for you 2-4 hours without feeling tired or groggy. If you find yourself starving shortly after your meal or need to take a nap, review the healthy plate and reflect on your meal in comparison.
Trying to be perfect
Expecting perfection in what you eat and how you exercise is setting yourself up for failure. The perfect time to start caring about your health is now. Rather than attempting to live the perfect lifestyle, be happy pursuing small, achievable steps that add up to support your goals.
Instead: Set one small goal that adds to your health. For instance, going for a walk at lunch three times per week. When you consistently do that, increase it four days then five days.
These 10 behaviours are common traits I see in my clients and within myself. It is tempting to overhaul your entire life in pursuit of health, but that’s not always the healthiest options. Remember you are not alone. We are here to help navigate your own unique health journey with you. Try our digital health program My Viva Plan to see how it can help you stay on top of your health goals.
By Kelsey Hagen – Registered Dietitian (Nutritionist)
Revive Wellness Inc.