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by Gael Myers, Accredited Practising Dietitian


A middle-aged man and woman prepare a meal in a kitchen. The man is using a wooden spoon to stir vegetables in a frypan while looking at the woman. The woman is pulling leaves from a large bunch of herbs. In the foreground are a range of cut vegetables, some of which are on a baking tray. There are fairy lights hung behind them in the living room.

It’s that time of the year when we frown at the string of festive feasts and resolve to lose 20 kilos. We sign up for the gym, throw money at the fad program with the fastest weight loss claims and vow that this year will be different. Come the end of January, reality sets in and the only number going down is our bank account. Here are three tips to refresh your New Year’s resolution thinking and feel great this new year.

1. It’s not you, it’s them

Most of us can stick to a crazy-restrictive diet for a while and lose a little weight. When we go back to our lifelong habits the kilos spring back on and we beat ourselves up about our lack of self-control. The truth is that being overly restrictive about what we eat does little to help our mental or physical health. If it’s unrealistic in the long term it won’t work – and that’s the diet’s fault, not yours. Instead, choose an achievable goal to improve your eating habits, like drinking less soft drink, having less alcohol or avoiding the office biscuit tin.

2. Find your groove

Find ways to move your body that you enjoy rather than forcing yourself to exercise for weight loss. Hit the gym if that’s your thing, but there’s loads of other options to choose from; social sports, walking the dog, circus class, gardening or playing at the park with your kids. The key is to find what works for you! Make your New Year’s goal to explore a new activity each week until you find one that sticks. Find something you enjoy and you’ll make it a habit for life.

3. Focus on how food makes you feel

Aiming to lose weight by eating more vegetables or decreasing your portion size? Switch up your thinking to focus on how these changes make you feel rather than how much weight they make you lose. Weight loss is complicated, and improving our eating habits doesn’t always lead to a change on the scales. The danger is that having only weight loss goals can mean abandoning the positive changes if we don’t see any change on the scale. Remember that eating well makes us feel good and will improve our health regardless of whether it leads to weight loss.

The take home message?

Be kind to yourself, focus on long-term changes, move for joy and focus on your habits, rather than the scales. Here’s to a happy and healthy new year!

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