New Year, New You?
It’s that time of year when everyone is looking to make changes. We are all motivated to eat well, get fitter, have a better work life balance, and improve our health and wellbeing. However, less than 10% of us achieve our New Year’s resolutions, and 85% fail by 15th January.
How do we make our New Year’s resolutions last for the whole of 2019, rather than just the first 15 days? The answer is to make small, manageable changes, that over time will become your new habits.
One extreme to another
When most of us go into ‘healthy lifestyle’ mode we tend to jump from one extreme to the other.
On December 31st we are eating take-aways three or four times a week, drinking full fat drinks, lots of alcohol, and not moving very much, then on the 1st January we go right to the opposite end of the scale and eat nothing but, low carb foods, chicken and leaves, or steamed fish and broccoli, and then sign up for the gym where we are going to do an hour every day before work.
What are the chances of keeping that up for more than a week? Probably slim to none, because by 7th January, you are going to be starving hungry, and exhausted from getting up at the crack of dawn to do your workout!
How many times have you done that? Yet here we are again first week of January starting over, proving the point that it is a totally unsustainable way of life.
Would it be more sustainable to take small steps from where we are now to somewhere in the middle, where all the ‘normal’, ‘healthy weight’ people live, every single day? The people who don’t ever seem to put weight on? The middle is where you might exercise 2-3 times a week, doing something you love, with your friends, you still go out for meals but choose sensibly, you still go out for a few drinks and enjoy yourself, but you understand how to get your weight to where you want it to be and then keep it there.
We all know how to lose weight – but 1-2 pounds a week, just isn’t quick enough, we want it now! We know that we can lose 7 pounds in a week if we eat chicken and leaves every day, or do a ‘cleanse’ (code for starvation with some added vitamin pills), but by the second week of January our motivation is waning, and the old habits are starting to creep back. This usually culminates in a complete u turn by the third week of January, having lost maybe 10 or 12 pounds, and we go back to eating take-aways, drinking full fat cola, and we’ve stopped going to the gym, because we hate it. But we don’t cancel the membership just yet, because that means we have really given up! Then the inevitable happens – the weight goes straight back on.
Sound familiar?! If that does, then maybe it’s time to try a new strategy.
If you set about losing 1-2lbs a week, by eating food that you enjoy, and slightly increasing your activity levels, by the third week of January you will have lost nearly half a stone. And then by the second week of February, you will be well on your way to losing your first stone. You won’t want to give up, because it isn’t as hard as doing the whole chicken and leaves thing, and gymming every morning at 5am! By Easter, you may well have lost over 2 stone, and will have developed some new habits that you can stick to. By Christmas you could have lost 7 stones? If you need to of course!
Tempted? Then read on!
How we really lose weight
We lose weight by getting our energy balance tipped in the right direction.
Energy balance is the balance of energy put into our body, versus the energy our body uses each day. For example, if your body burns 2000 calories a day breathing, moving, functioning normally and carrying out activity and exercise, you would need to eat 2000 calories a day to maintain your weight.
If you are currently gaining weight, or have been doing until very recently, it’s because you are putting more energy into your body, than your body is using. This energy is initially stored in our muscles as glycogen, then if it isn’t used up, after a couple of days it is converted to, and laid down as fat. This is how we gain weight.
If you want to lose weight (fat), you need to create an energy deficit, i.e. put less energy into your body than your body needs to function. By doing this, your body converts the stored energy, first from the energy stored in our muscles and then from our fat stores, to fuel our bodily functions and activities. This causes the fat to breakdown and eventually weight loss on the scales.
Our muscles actually store about 7lbs of glycogen (which is essentially pure carbohydrate) all the time. This gets depleted when we starve ourselves, or when we exercise to the point of exhaustion. So what actually happens when you go to the far end of the scale with no carbs, starving yourself, or maybe trying the ‘cleanse’, is you lose 7lbs of glycogen out of your muscles, then you might lose a couple of pounds of fat. We don’t want to lose glycogen, because as soon as you start eating properly again, our bodies absorb all that glycogen out of our food and you gain that 7lbs back.
So that’s why the weight always goes back on so quickly!
What we should be doing is losing fat – fat is what makes us unhealthy. Fat sticks to our organs and our arteries and causes all manner of life-threatening diseases. We need to burn fat and replace it with muscle. We can’t convert fat to muscle, its chemically impossible, as they are have a different chemical composition, so we must get rid of it, then build the muscle up in its place.
If we choose to lose 1-2lbs a week eating balanced meals, including carbs, then you will lose 1-2lbs of fat each week, and you won’t regain it, because you won’t need to revert to your old way of eating, because this way of eating is actually sustainable.
Your calorie allowance
We use a scientific formula, used by doctors and dieticians the world over, called the Harris Benedict Formula, to work out what your calorie needs are, then we deduct 600 calories from it, to give you your calorie allowance to lose weight.
1lb of fat = 3500 calories
3500 / 7 days of the week = 500
Hence, to lose weight we must create a deficit of at least 500 calories a day.
Exercising your way out a bad diet!
Do you fancy a 7 mile run every day? Or 5 hours strength training? Or perhaps 2 and half hours of HIIT sessions? Every single day!
That is what we would need to do, to reverse the weight gain, and start to lose 1-2lbs a week, whilst still eating like we are when we are gaining weight. Anyone fancy it? This is because, if we are currently gaining weight at a rate of 1-2lbs a week, we are over eating by at least 500 calories a day, so to get to the point where we are losing 1-2lbs a week, we would need to burn those 500 calories that we are overeating, and then another 500 calories to get us into calorie deficit. Therefore, we would need to burn 1000 calories a day!
One of our HIIT Sessions burns about 200 calories. So, we would need to do 5 sessions a day to get you into calorie deficit. Still want to exercise your way to losing 1-2lbs a week?
New year, New You!
Lifestyle change doesn’t mean doing a complete 180 on how you live your life now, it means taking small steps, slowly and gradually, until you eventually get to where you want to be, your happy medium.
By taking small steps and experiencing success you will grow in confidence and start to feel like you can actually do this. And you can! It’s just a case of putting your mind to it.
We have got 5 surefire ways to experience success and see the scales start to tip in the right direction, for good!
- Download our Starter Programme and follow it to the letter for 21 days. This is at number one for a reason!
- Identify your worst enemy when it comes to eating! What are you eating a lot of, that is high calorie? Can you cut it out or reduce it? If you can, and just do this one thing, you will travel in the right direction!
- Start to read food labels! Make better choices based upon the total number of calories in the food that you are buying.
- Start to move more! This doesn’t mean signing up for a marathon. It could be something as simple as never taking a lift again – always use the stairs. It could be organising with a friend to go for a walk 3 times a week at set times for a set distance. Make it your new rule and stick to it.
- Learn your calorie allowance! Think of it as money and spend it wisely!
We don’t want you to make drastic changes that will be unsustainable, make small changes that become big wins!
Make your 2019 New Year’s resolution, to try a different way to lose weight. Don’t do what you have always done, because let’s face it, it hasn’t worked in the long term before, so what’s different this time? Make 2019 the year that you change – slowly but surely – but forever, not just for the first two weeks of January, and then again in the few weeks before your summer holiday, and then again in the two weeks before the works Christmas do. Lose the weight, once and for all and keep it off, then you’ll never need a new year’s resolution again!