Welcome to 2015 one and all! I hope you are feeling rested (and most expectedly stuffed) after the festive season and ready to take on the challenges and adventures of the new year ahead!
I expect you all have aims to accomplish in the next 365 days, you are an ambitious bunch, and I am joining you. However mine seems particularly intimidating. My new years resolution is to execute 20 ‘man’ press ups by the end of December. Now don’t scoff! I have awful upper body strength which I blame on a lifetime of ballet – great muscle development for the calf-region only, with emphasis on long and lean arms which are oddly meant to resemble a swan’s neck. Not press-up-proof.
New year’s resolutions can be really stressful. We start out eager eyed with the willpower of an ox, but by the end of January feel hopeless failures who have either:
- eaten an entire tin of leftover Quality Street/Roses (dependent on family preference)
- had a mini-breakdown over lack of caffeine and subsequently guzzled 3 flat whites
- spent the savings from sober January (resolutions being ‘save more’ and ‘drink less’) on a massive night out, of which 95% is a mystery
- text the personal trainer that they tripped up the stairs that morning, breaking both their legs in action, meaning no exercise for 6 months. Sorry… Not sorry
Don’t pretend that one of these hasn’t happened to you in January in the last decade. However, don’t feel bad, only 8% of the population ever see any resolution success. I think the problem is that resolutions can be tunnel visioned, aesthetic, harsh and extreme.
Let us take the classic: ‘I want to lose weight’. This aim is usually about looking good, and doing it quickly. Its the food industry’s dream, without everyone realising it – come January they know their diet and meal replacement products will go through the roof! You will also see magazines go hell for leather promoting the latest 10-day fasting plan (woopee!) and red carpet detox diet – you will obtain marvellous results, all it takes is consuming the amount you ate as a 5 year old; glaring at every person you pass; leaving your spin class early from dizziness; cancelling every social engagement in your diary and feeling miserable when you put the weight back on a week later. Such joy! Please don’t put yourself through the torment, you shouldn’t make starving 2 days a week a lifestyle habit.
The only way to keep a resolution is to make it realistic and allow it to be incorporated into your life. This is where willpower comes in: the more you get used to doing something, the less willpower it needs. It becomes habitual.
Onto my question: are you looking to cut the white stuff? Now, this is not just about losing weight – if it is, then you will find it much harder as you see an end goal (i.e. being skinny). It’s not an occasional fad, you follow it as part of your lifestyle. Much like you aim to eat 5 fruit and veg a day and exercise 3 times a week. It is your wellbeing.
Now, there are a tonne of benefits (which I list here), and it is not easy at the start (read migraines and intense cravings), but after a month it gets so much easier. You won’t think twice about whether to buy a pack of biscuits at the supermarket or whether to grab that pain au chocolat at the breakfast buffet; you almost ignore it. I know this sounds incredibly tedious but hand on heart you won’t miss it.
I also know that people think cutting sugar is extreme – however you don’t have to completely say goodbye, you listen to what your body can tolerate. For me, that is 2 pieces of fruit a day and the occasional slice of cake/cocktail here and there. Plus it is not an extreme detox of no carbs/dairy/sugar combo, you can eat other food to replace the sweet treats so you won’t find yourself knawing on a table leg to get yourself through the day!
Anyway enough of my wittering – my main point is that new year’s resolutions aren’t meant to be extreme challenges, they may be tough initially but should become part of your lifestyle. I can assure you that if you do cut out all the fruit juice/granola/biscuits/cereal bars/flavoured yoghurts/chocolate etc you will feel better and in more control of what you eat… For tips getting started have a look at these links:
- Hints and Tips for Sugar Free Bliss
- Navigating the Food Label
- The Mindset
- Low Fat = High Sugar
- Hidden Sugar and Food Swaps
So good luck for 2015 and may everyone be successful in all their endeavours! And remember to cut yourself some slack along the way and have plenty of fun.