New Year New Me by Elaine Curry

The new year is a time for making plans and setting goals.

For many of us after the excesses of the holiday season it is a time when we resolve to, get fit, loose weight, eat healthily.

Social media bombards us with healthy and not so healthy ways to lose weight and tone the body.

While in theory many of these practices are good, trying to do to much too soon is not sustainable long term. Not only do we give up after a few weeks but we berate ourselves for doing so and tell ourselves we are useless, don t stick at anything etc., and all this will affect our mental as well as physical wellbeing. Most people who start an overly strict diet plan on the start of January will have given up by the second week. Add to this the difficulties we are all facing as we enter and re-enter into lockdown and it is easy to see how this will be difficult for many.

My advice is if you can stick to a strict fitness and diet routine brilliant, well done. There are many personal trainers and health coaches out there to help you on your journey. If like many of us mere mortals you believe that after a few weeks life will get in the way and your enthusiasm will wane then take some advice.

It is possible to improve your fitness and wellbeing in a positive and controlled way. Decide your goals and ensure they are SMART goals (more on that later). As the saying goes “you can eat an elephant, Just one bite at a time”. Think about the long term, bring about changes in small steps that you can stick to. Do you want to improve your diet? How about trying to eat 5-8 portions of fruit & vegetables per day. (it could reduce refined sugar and unhealthy fat intake automatically). Try swapping your fizzy drinks for water flavoured with fruit or herbs. Sometimes we mistake thirst for hunger.

If you don’t feel you can do a full exercise routine/run/virtual gym class everyday then move as much as possible. Try to get out for a walk daily, remember the guideline for cardiovascular exercise but don’t forget the strength and weight bearing guidelines also. 10 mins of exercise is better than nothing.

Remember it doesn’t have to be the new year we can make these changes at any time. Bring the changes in slowly so that they become part of your everyday life and not a chore.

The journey to improved health and fitness is not about 2 weeks of intensity its about finding a routine and eating habits that you can stick to. Consistency is the key to improvement and finding what is right for you. There is no one size fits all when it comes to fitness, health & nutrition so stop comparing yourself to others and aim to become the best version of you.