The New Year is often the time for a fresh beginning where we make goals to grow and improve ourselves. Popular new year resolutions usually centre around health, whether it’s to lose weight or to start exercise. Everyone starts the new year as hopeful as ever, motivated to make this year the best one yet. Gyms are full and buzzing with new members. You have to fight for a treadmill machine like your kid fights for a swing at Benjasiri Park. Do you know that the first 3 months are the busiest months of the year for any gym? The effect of the New Year resolution is real. But, do you also know that more than 50% of people who start a new exercise programme drop out within the first 6 months? I’m sitting in a coffee shop as I’m writing this article. It’s me and another guy sitting across from me. According to the statistics it’s me or him, or both of us will call it quits, drop out, and stop exercise by mid year. So, what does it take for us to not become a statistic? What is the saving grace that will help us push through the resistance when it’s much easier to do nothing? Here are the 3 tips I want to share with you.
- Don’t exercise
Yesterday, I ran into an old client in the playground. As we stood there talking, she told me she hasn’t been exercising just yoga and walking a lot. That sounds like exercise to me! What she told me really was that she hasn’t been doing HIIT and weightlifting like when she trained with me. Many people hate to “exercise”. The word “exercise” seems to conjure up images of putting ourselves through a painful experience doing whatever it is we hate doing. In this respect I must say I haven’t been “exercising” either. My “exercise” is swimming, half drowning, half gasping for air as I try to do my interpretation of freestyle – not fun. You don’t need to put yourself through something you hate to count it as exercise. Don’t battle with it. Make it your friend. Don’t “exercise” but pick whatever movement you enjoy and weave it into your life regularly.
- Be your own laboratory
I used to be one of those people who counted my daily calories and tracked how much protein I eat. I tried to eat 1,500 calories and 50 grammes of protein per day. I eventually stopped. Why? Because I was eating so much protein it was getting expensive and I was becoming neurotic tracking so many things.
Today, I eat normally. I wake up, have 2 pieces of buttered honey toast and a Kinto of basil seed iced tea. For lunch, I have rice with 2 kinds of main dishes, one meat based, one veggie based. Sometimes these dishes are home cooked or sometimes they are whatever I feel like from the street vendors like moo ping or spicy pork from a Korean shop next door. I enjoyed closing off my lunch and dinner with a sweet snack, my rule is no snack until midday, it’s arbitrary but it feels reasonable to me. Dinner is whatever leftovers we have in the fridge. Last night was rice, grilled chicken with kimchi.
I know research shows you need to eat a ton of protein to make and keep your muscles. Today, I don’t eat extra protein or supplements, and I can honestly say I can’t see any difference in my body eating 50g of protein per day or eating normally like this. So, keep an open mind, experiment and be your own laboratory. At the end of the day, you know yourself best, distill it down until you find an approach that works for you. This goes for everything in life not just nutrition.
- Add heat
When you are baking a cake, you have flour, sugar, eggs, baking powder, butter. You mix them together, but this does not make a cake. It makes goop. You have to put it in the oven and add heat. The heat transforms the goop into cake. In a sense this is what a lasting lifestyle change is like. You have all these ingredients, the logical, rational reasons from your brain that tell you – “I need to make time for myself, eat better, exercise, and move more”, but to know them is not enough. You must add the heat and the energy of your heart. The heat is your feeling, your internal drive, and your emotional sense why something matters to you. What difference would it make to your life if you can lose this weight? “Sia”, one of my coaching clients, told me of her desire to lose weight. In her own words, she wanted to be able to “rock a bikini in her 40s”. As we peeled the layers back, it became clearer to Sia that her definition of rocking a bikini means a strong and lean body, an image she associated with health. As a nutritionist who is an advocate for health, she wants to live a life that’s true to herself and advice she gives to her clients. This was the heat, the fire that Sia discovered inside herself that day. She still wanted to lose weight, but she uncovered her internal drive to be in alignment and at one with herself. When you travel deeper inside yourself and when you’re able to go beyond where your logical mind thinks you should go, you will touch down onto something real. This is the heat that will allow you to burn through your excuses and keep going even when it’s easier to revert back to your old patterns.
Over the years, I’ve come to learn that it’s harder to develop healthy habits if there’s a part of you that’s resisting the change. So, I invite you to find enjoyment in the way you move and eat, and meaningful reason that speaks to your heart. May this be the beginning of your lasting change.
Fitness coach with Pre/Post Natal Specialisation, Corporate Speaker, Life Coach, Mother of two #Get confident in your own skin. Founder of My Mummy First and the creator of The Mummy Reboot, a holistic programme that helps mums lose weight, become stronger, healthier and confident in their own skin.
More available on: www.mymummyfirst.com/themummyreboot