It's prime time for weight loss. January is the time when many people decide to do really something about their weight. This is the time when gym's get over-run with new members and every second person you speak to is starting a new diet.
And most people, when they consider a new approach to their weight, decide that it's best to do something "big".
The more harsh the diet, the more depriving the detox, the more it feels like you're doing the right thing. But if you've tried this sort of approach before, think about how it's usually turned out.
As much as it might feel the right thing to do, making drastic changes is not the best approach to losing weight. The more drastic the changes you make, the more likely you will fail.
And for many people, after many failures using these approaches, they start to believe (incorrectly) that there is something wrong with them.
There is nothing wrong with you if you can't stick to a fad diet for a few weeks! What you should be blaming is the approach, not yourself. Because, I truly believe, that no matter what your situation, you can make positive steps towards improving your health.
But there does come a moment, when you have to take a step back and really question whether you are doing things in the right way. If you keep trying a new diet each year and you keep failing, maybe it's time to try a different approach?
Here are three things to think about before you launch headlong into the next fad diet or unsustainable weight loss programme:
1. Whatever the approach, do you really believe you'll be sticking with it in two years' time?
If you're not willing to stick to the diet for the long-term, then what are you expecting? You might be able to lose weight while you're on the diet, but then what? If you switch back to your old eating patterns you'll start gaining back weight.
2. How different is the eating and exercise programme you have to follow, compared to what you were doing before?
The more the new diet varies from what you used to be doing, the more likely you will struggle to stick to it. If you have to overhaul your entire fridge to stick to a diet, you're on shaky ground from the beginning. What usually happens is that you can manage it for a few weeks, but as soon as you get too busy, or there's a mini-crisis, and you don't get time to stick to the plan, it all goes out the window.
Also, if the diet means you have to prepare different foods for yourself, and different foods for the rest of the family, ask yourself, are you really going to stick with this for long?
3. Does this diet allow you to eat out, travel and enjoy life?
Long-term deprivation and suffering is obviously not sustainable, and yet so many people start a deprivation diet, find it so hard to stick with it, and then curse themselves for lacking the willpower. You have to cut yourself some slack. You can't be perfect all the time. That's unrealistic and doomed to failure.
Don't Do What Doesn't Work
Things like detoxes and fad diets feel like they're the right thing to do. After all 'no pain, no gain', right?
But if you've tried many of these methods before and are still overweight, it's time to accept that they don't work.
Instead, take a long-term approach. This new year, resolve to only make changes that you know you will stick with for life.
For more about a behavioural approach to weight loss click here.