How To Actually Achieve Your New Year Health And Fitness Resolutions

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With the New Year upon us, and the start line for New Year resolutions getting nearer each day, our hearts are filled with hope and determination for the new year, many of us decidedly aiming to get fit and healthy at the turn of 2017. However, attempts to fulfil these resolutions are too often met with failure, as too often people set themselves unattainable health goals. Below we will discuss the mistakes people often make when launching a new health and fitness regime, and how to create a plan which will not be met with disappointment.

Exercise 

#1 Be Realistic And Don’t Overdo It

While an exhausted body at the end of an exercise session is a sign you’ve had a great workout, feeling exhausted all the time is the last thing you want to be feeling in the new year. Tiredness depletes determination, tiring you out too much to continue your fitness schedule. The quality of your exercise sessions will inevitably decline, preventing you from exercising with optimum efficiency. This is such a common mistake when beginning a new exercise regime, as you are pumped full of unrealistic expectations. But creating a flat-out exercise plan only suitable for superheroes is doomed for failure, so take it down a notch and start thinking realistically.

To begin with, try and aim to exercise 3 times a week, in shorter more powerful sessions which will optimise fat-burning. Opt for a combination of HIIT cardio and strength training. Trying exercise classes such as spin is a great way to keep you motivated if you are new to exercise. 

#2 Rest 

Don’t forget to rest! Not only do rest days allow you to exercise more intensely in your next session, they also allow for muscle repair and growth, making sure you don’t crumble under a constant feeling of fatigue. Your body will not have to opportunity to gain strength and tone if you don’t allow it the time to rebuild muscle tissue. 

#3 Stick At It 

This may seem like an obvious tip, but so often people forget that losing weight or getting fit doesn’t happen overnight. Don’t feel defeated if you don’t see changes straight away: your body will be changing, but noticeable physical changes can take much longer to surface. 

Diet

#1 Don’t Crash Diet 

True, the fastest way to lose weight may be to radically reduce your calorie intake. However, this is neither a healthy nor realistic way to lose weight. Plummeting your calorie intake is doomed for disaster: your cravings will overcome you, and you will end up having a binge eat which can cancel out whole weeks worth of hard work. Instead, decrease your calorie intake by a more realistic amount in order to avoid severe hunger and rock-bottom energy levels. When your body adapts to eating less, you can reduce your calorie intake again. 

#2 Don’t Cut Out Whole Food Groups 

“Carbs”: a word heavily laden with fear, believed to be the food group which makes you put on weight. This socially fabricated taboo around this food group is distorted, and fundamentally incorrect. Carbohydrates are essential for fuelling your body with energy, giving you the ability to exercise and go about your life. The truth behind the myth on carbs is that a lot of people do eat too many carbs compared to other food groups. If you keep your carb intake relatively low, and in proportion to the rest of your food, no more than 40% of your overall calorie intake, carbs are not your enemy. Especially if you are exercising regularly, you must embrace how essential carbs are to power your workouts in the new year. And, ideally, eat your carbs in the earlier hours of the day, allowing them to be burned off while fuelling your body. 

Balance your diet - don’t let your meal be both high in fat and high in carbohydrates: keep one low if the other one is higher. 

Balancing your food groups is the key to a great diet - you need them all to maintain a healthy body and a healthy mind.

#3 Eat The Right Foods

To maintain a healthy low calorie diet, you must eat the right foods which will keep your energy levels up and hunger levels down. Opt for wholemeal carbs and make sure vegetables take up the largest percentage of your plate at every meal. Make sure you eat a good portion of protein at every meal, and drink water throughout the day, as this will keep you feeling full. 

Don’t fall into the common trap of believing that eating huge amounts of protein will be most beneficial for your fitness goals. Although it is true that you need protein to optimise fat-burning and to allow for great muscle recovery, eating too much protein can actually be damaging to the liver. Remember there is more to health than your physical appearance - don’t neglect your inner body!

And again, eating plenty of vegetables must be stressed. You will feel much fuller for longer if you eat a big portion of vegetables instead of a small portion of something less healthy, as not only are vegetables full of fibre, but their high water content leaves you feeling full and satisfied. You will be surprised how many vegetables you can eat while still keeping your calorie intake really low. 

Healthy Body and Healthy Mind

2016 was the year for mental health awareness, so don’t let your 2017 health goals sacrifice your mental health. When exercising, don’t solely focus on losing weight: enjoy the sensation of feeling fitter every time you exercise, and enjoy the greater feeling of self confidence and control you have over your body. 

Enjoy eating new things, trying new recipes, and feeling the all round benefits of getting a richer variety of vitamins and minerals in your diet. These things are more valuable than the number on the weighing scales. 

Health is not just physical, it is psychological as well. Let 2017 be the year where you focus on mental health alongside physical health. When you work on your body and mind in unison together, you are not only much healthier all round, but are also much more likely to achieve your fitness goals, as keeping a positive attitude to fitness is the key to maintaining your resolution. 

Losing weight and getting fit and healthy takes time, motivation, and passion. Stick at it, and enjoy the ride. 

Good luck!

 

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English Literature student at The University of Sheffield. Have a passion for writing, along with a great interest in health and exercise, current affairs, and nature/environment-related topics.