Resolution Free Zone

I used to make New Year’s resolutions.  Mostly, they didn’t work.  I’d set myself something vague or ambitious.  Get better.  Do more.  Weigh less.  Be fitter.

Not specific.  Hard to measure.  Impossible to know when you had been successful.

But one year, at midnight (as 2012 became 2013 to be precise)  I made a promise to myself.  That this time it would be different.

And it was.  Today I am six stone lighter than I was on that particular 31st December.  I have not found it easy. I have managed to get to some degree of fitness but it remains a struggle and I guess it always will.

For anyone thinking tonight, that tomorrow they will start something new, I offer my thoughts on what worked for me, with hope that they might be helpful to someone else.

The first thing that I know is this: it wasn’t the 1st of January that made the difference.  It wasn’t a diet or a programme.  It was no big bang quick fix.

Instead, it was simply lots of very small changes, one by one.

Many diets fail.  They do so because they are just too big.  If I’d started my journey with a plan to lose six stone and run a half marathon, I doubt I’d have got there.  Too much to tackle.  Too much change all at once. Too much to get my head around.

Instead, one habit, one change at a time.

Strange as it may sound, I started with orange juice.  The sugar monster that I pretended to myself was a healthy option. But not at a litre a day.  So, I cut it down by half.  Then I stopped buying it all together.  It only took a few weeks before I stopped missing it. Now it is something that I drink very rarely.

And then I tackled another one on the bad eating habits list.

One leads to another. Easier every time.

It is a slow but surely approach.  It won’t give you the fast results that a 500 calorie a day plan will.  But cognitively, it is doable.  And from a lifestyle perspective, sustainable.

So, if you sitting there tonight having eaten all of the cheese and all of the chocolate and all of the mince pies this festive season, and are thinking about making a change tomorrow, then ditch the diet.  Don’t fall for the false promises or the celebrity endorsements.  You don’t need no resolutions.

Ask yourself this instead.

What is the one thing that you can do differently, today?  What will make the biggest difference?

And then do it.

Erm, also, you could buy my book.  #sorrynotsorry #shamelessplug

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A year of two halves

The first half of 2016 went something like this:

Training

Triathlon

Training

Half marathon

Publishing a book on weight loss

Training

Total Warrior mud run.

Training

Qualifying as a personal trainer.

Training.

 

The second half of 2016 went something like this:

Biscuits

Prosecco

Cake

Prosecco

Sofa

Biscuits

Prosecco

More sofa.

The first half of the year represented my greatest personal achievements.  I was the fittest and healthiest that I had ever been.  Frankly, I looked the best as well.  I had actual muscles.  That you could see.

Then some complex life stuff happened.  And it all slipped away from me.  One morning I looked in the mirror and realised it had all gone.  That person I was for a little while.  The physical shape too.

I am back in the gym.  Kind of.  Not working as hard as I did before if truth be told.

I always said I’d be honest on this blog.  If I am honest with myself and with anyone who reads this, I am not entirely sure I want to go back to living as I was during the first half of the year.  It was all protein and 5.30am starts and food prep and two gym visits a day and writing down every single calorie consumed and frankly, a lot of washing of gym gear.  I just don’t have the time or inclination for that anymore, even though I liked the results.  Even more truthfully, the things that drove me to that lifestyle, no longer apply.

I have learned much though through this process.  I have learned that good habits can be undone quickly,  no matter how much you think you have something sorted.  How one ‘I won’t go today’ can turn into many.  How hard it is to begin all over again. But that it is possible, no matter how far you have fallen.

I am hoping that in 2017 I can find balance.  Between the person that I was in the first half of the year, and the person that I am today.  More gym, fewer biscuits.  The benefits without the gruelling regime.  The ability to run, once again.

2016 was about extremes.  Next year, it is time for something else.

Rage against the diet machine

Its nearly that time of year again.

No, not Christmas.

After that.

After all of the adverts have encouraged you to eat mince pies like they are about to be made illegal.  Buy Quality Street by the tub full.  Drink all of the Prosecco.

It’s nearly the time of the detox.  The celebrity exercise DVD.  The new year’s weight loss resolution.

The diet machine.

Consider the messaging.  Eat, drink and be merry.

Then find a quick fix for those extra pounds because of all the food you scoffed.

The stampede to the gym will commence, brand new shiny white trainers in hand.

I’m not knocking that by the way.  A few years ago, I was one of those new year new you sign ups.

But the messaging gets me.

The disconnect. The way that people are encouraged to think about food and their bodies.

Here’s the thing.  When someone loses weight, it isn’t thanks to Weight Watchers. Or Slimming World.  Or Lean in 15 (as good as I think this plan is).  It isn’t down to some celebrity who has been paid money and had plenty of help to get down to a certain size, in order to shift some diet merch.

It is because someone makes the decision to make a change in their life.

And here’s the thing. Anyone can do it.

Don’t believe me?

I was one of those people who believed that she couldn’t lose weight.  That they would always be fat.  That they would always shop in the plus size store. That they had ‘tried everything’. I was a big, big girl and I had tried most of the so-called solutions from weekly classes to juice diets to the 5:2.  Fads.  But I had never changed my mindset.

One day, on New Year’s Eve 2012 to be precise, I made the decision to make a change.  And I did.

It is still hard.  It is still a daily challenge and I know it always will be.  I don’t pretend to have this all figured out.

What I do know from my own experience is that the first step to changing your life is changing the stories that you tell yourself.

You don’t need to sign up to an expensive plan.  You don’t need to follow a guru.  Let them inspire you, yes.  But weight loss starts with you.  With a decision.  With making real change. Believing that you can and you will.

If you want to make that change don’t wait for the 1st January.  Just do it.  And I wish you all the luck in the world.