How to Create and Stick to New Year Weight Loss Plans
New year, new you… same old New Year’s resolution? According to a survey done by NPR and Marist Poll, around half of all American adults make a New Year’s resolution – with exercise, weight loss, and eating healthier ranking all within the top 5 resolutions made. Everybody has their own reasons for going down this challenging path. Some want to feel more confident in their physical appearance, some do it because of underlying health conditions, and still, others are just ready for a change in their daily routine.
With so many resolutions and even more reasons out there, it should come as no surprise than that January is the most popular month for gym membership signups. Gyms understand this too, and that’s why they’ll typically be offering special signup discounts and bonuses at the start of the year.
Unfortunately for many enthusiastic gym goers, that initial determination, excitement, and good intention can be challenging to hold on to. In fact, regular gym attendance can start dropping off as early as the middle of January.
The question remains: how can we bottle up that early hope and determination for a quick change and transform it into a passion for developing lifelong healthy habits? Many look to flip a switch and integrate too many life changes at once. This article looks to provide tactical information to individuals and professional trainers alike on how to approach those habit changes to help all succeed in the new year.
How to Create an Intelligent New Year Weight Loss Plan
The New Year’s ball has dropped in NYC, clocks chimed midnight, champagne bottles emptied and resolutions for a healthier year were made. So where do we go from here? The first step in the journey is already taken, being ready for a change. The next step is to create an intelligent plan of action to increase the chances of being successful in the long run. One way to approach planning your New Year weight loss is setting a SMART goal. While losing weight or working out more is a great resolution, it’s also fairly vague and won’t be beneficial in generating motivation down the road. A SMART goal stands for:
- Specific: Simply listing the goal as losing weight or exercising more is vague. Try to define the goal to be more specific. If the goal is weight loss, what is the exact amount of pounds to lose? If the goal is to exercise more, how many days a week?
- Measurable: This goes hand-in-hand with being specific. If the goal is weight loss, then it can be measured in pounds.
- Achievable: An easy way to fail before even starting is by setting unrealistic expectations. Using the SMART system for this type of resolution is to ideally develop long-term habits. Losing 40 lbs. in 4 months is an aggressive goal, especially if you are just getting back into the habit of exercising and eating healthy. Going to the gym 5 days a week would also be an aggressive goal for this type of person.
- Realistic: Is the goal realistic for you? A healthy rate of losing weight is generally around 2 lbs. a week, so keep that in mind if the goal is weight loss. When the goal is working out more, be conscious of your schedule. If you work long hours or have a family, is making it to the gym 5 days a week reasonable?
- Timely: The final component to developing a SMART goal. Create milestones and deadlines to help create motivation. These calendar markers also provide an opportunity to check in with yourself and evaluate progress. If you aren’t on track to meeting the overall goal, it may be worth taking a moment and evaluating a better approach.
With all these components in place, we’ve taken the resolution of “losing weight this year” and transformed it into “I will lose 20 pounds over the next 6 months with a check-in at the end of every month.” With a clear goal in place, a strategy on how to achieve that goal can be created.
Although New Year’s resolution makers treat January 1st as a fresh start, starting the journey isn’t as simple as flipping on a light switch. For long-term success, exercise and diet should be eased into your existing daily routine. Create an exercise program that works for you. If the
Healthy eating and regular exercising are habits that should be formed over time, avoid burnout or going too hard, too fast by giving yourself believable expectations and slowly introducing these changes one at a time.
How to Stick with a Weight Loss Program
While having a clear goal and strategy in place sets a solid foundation for success, some additional tactics can be utilized to help stick with the program. Success is something that is planned for, it doesn’t just happen overnight because the calendar rolled over.
One way to plan for success is to think about meals ahead of time and prep them. Waiting until you feel hungry can lead to poor choices, like calorie-dense snacks or fast food. If you surround yourself with healthy food choices that are readily available, you’ll be more likely to stick to your goal.
Any form of exercise is great for helping to stick to a weight loss program but try to focus on the ones that are enjoyable to you. If you don’t enjoy running, find an alternative such as hiking, swimming, or biking. Focusing on positive activities that you enjoy will make things feel less like a chore and leave you more likely to adjust to the new habits. Double down on this and bring a friend along. Not only will it make the activity more enjoyable, but it will also make you accountable to someone else. This accountability buddy provides social support and gives your efforts greater meaning.
It’s important to remember that this is all about creating new habits and that change isn’t something that comes along easily. Often a weight loss program or New Year weight loss plan can feel like an all-or-nothing effort but that is far from the truth. Mistakes are bound to happen even with the best of plans and intentions. The key thing to remember is that one bad meal, day, or week doesn’t have to derail all your efforts. Committing to a weight management plan and an active lifestyle should be a lifelong plan. In the grand scheme of it all, these early mistakes are minuscule.
In the end, a successful weight loss plan includes both an exercise and nutrition component that is sustainable. Meal planning programs like Evolution Nutrition can help remove the challenging guesswork of nutritional planning and management. While Evolution Nutrition is designed for professional trainers, coaches, and their clients, it also functions for the individual. By entering basic statistics like age, current activity level, target weight, and dietary restrictions, Evolution Nutrition can create a custom meal plan that includes all the macronutrients, vitamins, and minerals needed to fuel success inside and out of the gym.