According to a study by New Plate/Ipsos, nearly 40% of people committed themselves to losing weight in 2023. However, only 14% of people who make New Year's resolutions are still going strong three months later.
Much of the time, this has to do with the extreme goals that people set for themselves, which is especially the case when it comes to weight loss. The antidote to this is to take a more holistic approach, which our very own nutritionist, Selma Redzepajic, will be discussing in today's post.
Common Goal #1: Go on a diet
Many of us are inclined to follow unsuitable and unfit diets available on the internet, social media, or from friends. However, many diets are generic, restrictive, and/or narrow in nature. Not only can this result in severe nutritional deficiencies, but research repeatedly tells us that diets only provide short-term results. Sure, you might shed some pounds temporarily, but calorie restriction comes with a reduction in your basal metabolic rate that persists once you inevitably start eating more, among other unfortunate long-term issues.
Keep in mind that we are not all the same. Our bodies are unique, as are our nutritional requirements. There is no guarantee that what works for one person will work for you. It is essential for us to choose a diet that is beneficial to our health rather than harmful. Rather than starving, our bodies require nutrition-dense foods to be strong and capable of eliminating waste and excess weight. The alternative to dieting is adopting a long-term healthy lifestyle that works for your body's specific needs.
Common Goal # 2: Manage stress
The daily stress we experience contributes to an increase in our cortisol levels and overall inflammation in our bodies. Many of us deal with our busy days by consuming stimulants like coffee, sugar, alcohol, and junk food to experience short-term effects.
Try to limit your intake of stimulants such as coffee, alcohol, sugar, and junk food. Allow yourself to adjust by doing so gradually. Start by cutting your coffee consumption in half and don't drink it after 4 pm. Try replacing it with a warm tea such as camomile or sage tea. Choose a healthy snack such as a piece of fruit with some nuts, a fruit smoothie, or a glass of green juice.
It is also important to identify where the urge to ingest certain foods and/or stimulants is coming from. Are you eating because you are legitimately hungry, or is it because you are trying to suppress certain emotions? (Working with a therapist can help you learn more about your relationship with food.)
Understand what your body is telling you by listening to it. The body can communicate in a unique language known as symptoms. Do your best to pay attention to how your body (and mind) feels after certain foods and speak with a health care practitioner if necessary.
Common Goal #3: Get more sleep
We tend to go to bed late and when we do, we keep our brains working by having the phone or TV on in front of us. There is only one organ in our bodies that never sleeps: the brain. In keeping our brain on hard-working mode, our bodies are unable to rest and sleep properly, leading to high levels of cortisol production and possible inflammation.
Make it a habit to go to bed at a regular time, no later than 10 to 11 pm. Take a break and sign out of all social media for at least an hour before you go to sleep. Ensure that you are not watching television. Have a cup of lavender/camomile tea just before getting to bed. Keep the lights off in your bedroom. If you are not sensitive to noise, you may play some relaxing music.
Common Goal #4: Exercise more
We often forget how important physical activity is for our mental and physical health due to the long and busy days we lead. Those who are less active or physically inactive are at a greater risk for developing high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, anxiety, and depression, as well as weight gain.
Make physical activity a part of your daily routine. Make time for short walks, hikes, gym classes, Zumba classes, swimming, and find your passion in doing it.
Setting realistic goals is of the utmost importance, as is focusing on maintaining a consistent routine by creating daily and weekly schedules. Don't be discouraged if you miss or skip some of your activities. There is always a way to continue toward your goal.
The Bottom Line
New Year's resolutions around weight loss often come with severe calorie restriction, extreme goals, and feelings of discouragement when they aren't attained. Rather than restricting yourself, focus on adding nutrient-foods to your diet that give your body what it needs to function optimally. Don't fixate on going to the gym six days a week; instead, try to incorporate movement into your day whenever you can in a way that works with your schedule rather than against it.
If you're looking for nutritional counselling, don't hesitate to reach out to email@example.com for support.