Keys to Successful Health Resolutions!
This is the time of year when many people resolve to become more healthy. But what exactly does that mean? And more importantly what are the keys to successful health resolutions? This blog will detail some suggestions to guide you towards reaching your goals if you are new to health and fitness.
First off, if you are serious about success, it’s critical to set a goal. Goal setting is important because it gives you a target to monitor progress against. We have advised previously that setting a target of losing X pounds is a poor goal, because if you approach this goal incorrectly you will actually do more harm than good. Good examples of goals are being able to walk/run/bicycle X miles in Y amount of time; being able to perform X reps of a given exercise at a prescribed resistance; or being able to comfortably fit into a certain size clothing. Weight is less important than body composition and performance ability in your desired activity.
Once you have a goal in mind of what you want to accomplish, next you will need a solid plan on how to achieve this goal. Nutrition and exercise will be key components of your plan and part and parcel to your success. Let’s start with nutrition!
When you hear about someone making a health resolution you usually hear the word “diet” used. “Diet” in this context usually connotes the idea of restriction of food to the point of semi-starvation. I am here to tell you that “Diets” are not one of the keys to successful health resolutions. Diets cause people to oscillate between extremes and are not sustainable, that’s why most people yo-yo diet without success.
A nutrition plan is one of the keys to successful health resolutions. Nutrition plans fuel your body to perform, to change it’s composition and feed your body to repair and recover from exercise. A nutrition plan is comprehensive, non-restrictive, appropriately timed and well balanced to take advantage of your own natural healthy metabolism. I don’t say this because it’s something we sell, I say this because I’ve seen it work when other approaches do not. There are many sources for nutrition plans, I’m just advising that you select this approach over a “diet”.
Sadly most people who resolve to become healthy fall short of success. This can be from a myriad of factors but I believe that it stems around setting unrealistic goals, approaching the process without a good nutrition plan and selecting an exercise regime that isn’t fun.
For example, many people who are new to exercise immediately think that running is what is required for exercise to lose weight. But what if you hate running? Obviously the chances of long term success are very low if what you select as part of your plan is something you truly hate. You may not know that there are a variety of exercises and sports that can accomplish your goal without requiring you to run for hours. A key to success is to select activities that are fun to you and fit with your lifestyle and where your physical fitness is at today – it could be dancing, kickboxing, weight lifting, biking, running, group classes or sports as just a few examples. The key is to gradually increase your activity level.
Lastly, you must track your progress against your goals at regular intervals. I recommend logging everything. Log your food, log your exercise, monitor how you feel (energy level, sleep, mood) and log your body’s composition (not your weight!). Watch your progress and celebrate your successes. Share with your friends and family via social media, seek out a coach/trainer who can guide you along the way to keep you motivated, take regular pictures to watch your body transition…these are all keys to successful health resolutions!