It’s that time of year again. Where every magazine, blog post or clickbait link is trying to sell you a whole new you. Someone promoting a particular diet or evangelising a whole new approach. Many of them are of the quick fix variety. Many others celebrity endorsed, alongside the traditional post-holiday DVD release.
Books, magazines, blogs, articles. Juice cleanses, detox plans, 5:2, WeightWatchers, Slimming World, Atkins, protein shakes. Are you beach body ready? Loose seven pounds before your holidays on our detox diet! Beat the bloat. 7 ways to burn that belly fat. How to get a thigh gap, fast!
And so on.
Photoshopped models. Impossible ideals. Unachievable images, everywhere.
Here’s the thing.
A whole heap of it is utter rubbish.
The diet and exercise industry comes with a built in probability of failure. If any of these diets truly worked, then the industry would cease to exist. You would only need to go along to a class once or twice to learn the basics and that is all you would ever need. We’d all be rocking those skinny jeans forever more.
Instead, many people find themselves trapped in a cycle of weight off, weight on, and yet another new year resolution.
This ‘new year, new you’ ideal is a magic wand version of health and fitness. An illusion.
What I have learned, more than anything is this. Weight loss is both terribly hard, and incredibly simple. The belief that you can, is hard. Sticking to it when you really want a curry followed by a family size bag of Malteasers, is hard. Exercise, especially at the start, is very hard. Fighting against years of failures, against all the people who don’t believe you or would like to secretly see you fail, is hard. Diets fail, exercise programmes fail, because people give up. Sometimes they give up because they expect too much, too soon, or the change they try to make is simply too big. And giving up is a mental process, just like weight loss is.
The most important thing that you can do if you want to lose weight, is give up the totally unrealistic notion that you will be an entirely person different tomorrow. Instead, begin with believing that you can. And then set yourself some small, achievable goals.
There are no quick fixes, only long term lifestyle changes.
Sorry about that.