Happy new year everyone! I hope you all had a fantastic Christmas and you're excited to start 2016.
I thought I'd start the new year with a blog post about the whole new year, new you thing because it's a great time to adopt a new routine because a new year is, after all, considered a fresh start by many people.
This post is to help you prepare for the year ahead so you can start the year working towards your health and fitness goals with a plan that's sustainable - so you will be more likely to get past the end of January and still keep up the great exercise and healthy eating lifestyle.
It's easy to think of new year, new you meaning that you need to jump in at the deep end and start hitting the gym five times a week while removing all refined sugars and processed foods from your diet forever. The usual thought is that you have to completely change your lifestyle and while it would be amazing if you could do that and stick with it, for the majority of us it's just changing way too much in one go.
It's likely you'll find it easier to adjust to if you make small gradual changes instead; the reason most of us run screaming back to our old habits after a few weeks (or days) is because we tried to change too much at once.
Try making small changes one step at a time - start by going to the gym (or doing whatever exercise you plan) two or three times a week, aiming to gradually increase it over time to about 30 minutes five times a week. Oh, and I can't stress this enough...find an exercise that you enjoy doing. It doesn't have to be running or the gym, it could be anything that keeps you active. You'll be far more likely to stick with it if you enjoy the workout, so try a few different things and see what you like. Mix it up.
If you want to improve your healthy eating then aim to eat generally clean food. If you're able to clean up your diet completely straight away then that's amazing! If, however, this is the part you struggle with, take it one step at a time and aim to gradually eat less processed foods and sugary treats, choosing to eat clean instead.
It may not seem like much of an improvement (for example, when you first start) but if your diet consisted of mostly processed foods and sugary treats then it's actually a huge improvement to even get used to 65/35 to begin with...this means eating clean food 65% of the time and treats 35%.
Take your time and allow yourself to feel comfortable before eventually working your way up to 80/20, (or 90/10 if you want) so you're eventually eating mostly clean food (I eat 80% clean and 20% treats).
Oh, and regarding any 'slip ups' with your diet...I'm not a fan of the whole 'falling off the wagon' thing. In the past I have used that term in blog posts but since then my thoughts on it have changed because I don't believe there should actually be a wagon!
Adopting a generally healthier lifestyle doesn't mean that you're on a diet; it doesn't mean that you need to strictly eat only pre-approved foods and it certainly doesn't mean you've failed if you eat something that contains sugar.
The best way to approach the 'new you' isn't to find the latest fad diet and attempt to survive solely on soup or smoothies (or whatever the latest fad diet craze is), it's to aim to make generally healthier choices. The hardest part of this process is learning to rid yourself of that horrible guilt when you eat a chocolate bar, but once you change your way of thinking and accept there is no wagon; it's just a generally healthier lifestyle, you'll wish you'd made that change years ago.
Make being healthy your main goal and, trust me, you'll soon notice improvements.
If you have any questions please don't hesitate to ask for my advice.
Here's to a happy and healthy new year!
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