New Year, New You?

First published 9th Dec, 2022

It all starts around December 27th. After a long month of office parties, Christmas meals and one too many lunch time drinks around the pool, you are feeling bloated, heavy and ready to start afresh. Come January, you are chanting “New Year, New Me” to yourself, you have set goals and made plans. But let’s be honest now, are you still sticking to those by the end of February? Probably not. A lot of the time, these goals are a bit too far-fetched and unsustainable in the long term. When the shiny new-ness of the plan wears off and reality starts to kick in, we are often back into our old unhealthy habits and feeling a sense of failure.

Baby Steps Go a Long Way When Changing Habits

There is good news. It doesn’t have to be like this. Yes, the new year is a wonderful time to switch things up and get yourself onto the path to good or better health. But why not start today? Small but significant changes add up over time and putting them into practice immediately will only mean that come the new year, you are already well on your way to improving your health and reaching those goals. 

Here are some tips to get you started:

Make a List  - Implement New Things Slowly

Identify and write down all the things you would like to change about how you eat and drink on a day-to-day basis. For example, cutting out sugary cold drinks, choosing better in-between meal snacks, or eating supper at the table and not in front of the TV. Choose one for week one, add the next in week two and the third in week three and keep a record of your successes. Just changing a few things can make a huge difference if you take them a step at a time and then stick to your guns.

Eat Real Food

Never starve yourself or follow a fad diet. Eat a wide variety of real foods like meat, fish, chicken, eggs, fruit, veg and full cream dairy products. And if you need a snack in-between meals, choose a small piece of fruit or cheese, a few nuts or a handful of biltong. 

Be Kind To Yourself

Never let one bad day or one mistake derail you. Don’t beat yourself up. Hop straight back onto that wagon and let bygones be bygones. No one can be perfect all of the time.

Choose an Exercise That You Enjoy

Don’t let the thought of flashy gyms, fast runners or big weights put you off exercise. Choose something that you enjoy doing and that you can see yourself doing in a years time. Playing tennis, riding a bicycle, ball room dancing or doing a Pilates class - the choice is vast. If you choose a type of exercise that you enjoy, it will not be a chore to keep it up.

If you don’t want to spend money or you can’t think of something you would like to do, then walk. Walk half an hour every day. Get a group of friends to walk together - chatting while you walk makes exercise such good fun. Prefer to be a lone wolf? Listening to an interesting podcast while you walk will make the minutes fly by.

Confused? Get help!

The bottom line is to make changes using small steps. Do things that you know you can keep up. Be kind to yourself. Consulting a dietician is a very good way to get started, as is joining a group of friends with the same fitness goals. You could also, if your budget extends to it, consult a peronal trainer. And you can be sure that if you take baby steps and stick to your changes, December 2023 will definitely bring a new you!


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