Nicole Stride, accredited practising dietitian at WW (formerly Weight Watchers) offers up some great tips and advice.
Christmas is looming. Many of us are still in lockdown. And New Year is just around the corner. However for some of us that’s too far away for beginning to tackle those unwanted lockdown kilos.
To start off on the right foot Stride shares six simple wellness goals which are small and manageable but also powerful when repeated over time, followed by her top tips on how to make resolutions stick.
“Resolutions often fail because we set lofty or extreme goals which can be difficult to stick to and seem insurmountable. Committing to visiting the gym every day or cutting out whole food groups, are among some of the common approaches which fail to last for those reasons,” she says.
“That’s why WW’s programme is focused on the small changes you make to your eating habits, your movement, mindset and sleep – it’s those healthy habits that you practice every day, which fit into your lifestyle and which you can stick to over the long term which make a significant difference over time.”
1. Eat more vegetables
“More vegetables, more often”. Most of us aren’t eating enough of the good stuff, yet we know that eating veggies is so important in helping you lead a healthy lifestyle. That doesn’t mean you should replace rice for salad leaves at every meal! Start small.
For example, think about what you can add to the plate initially and commit to adding one new veg to your dinners for the week ahead. Eating your veggies first will also help get you into a healthy routine of filling up on nutrient rich foods without feeling like you’re depriving yourself of other things you love.
2. Get more physically active
of Kiwi adults report insufficient or no physical activity, yet it supports so many aspects of health from weight loss and energy levels, to reducing the risk of chronic diseases and boosting your mood.
You don’t have to sweat it out at the gym every day to reap the benefits. Be realistic and make your goal happen by entering it into your schedule, e.g. “I’m going to increase my exercise routine from three days per week to four days per week by adding a 20-minute strength training session on Fridays this month.”
3. Meet new people
Having a community of like-minded allies can be particularly helpful in helping you achieve goals such as losing weight. They can be a sounding board for struggles, a source of inspiration and motivation, and they can provide a little “real-talk” when you need it.
If this goal seems daunting, think about how you might break this down into something more bite-sized, like, “Attend a local networking event once per month this year, or sign up to a community-based gym or programme like WW.”
4. Take time during the workday for yourself
Whether you’re working from home or returning to the office this year, it’s important to set boundaries and ensure you give yourself the space and time you need to pause and reset during each day. Try blocking a lunch hour on your calendar every day for the next month and use this time to stretch your legs and walk around the block.
Planning ahead is a simple step that provides accountability and keeps conflicting meetings off your schedule. While you might have to shift the time slot, you can approach each day knowing there’s a block of time reserved for you.
5. Drink more water
Drinking water has a myriad of benefits, but one of the unsung ones is that it forces you to get up and move periodically throughout the day. Hydrate (or at least find your way to the kitchen tap or office water cooler) every hour to get moving more often.
Tracking your consumption in an app like WW’s can also help build awareness of how much you’re drinking and when it’s time to top up!
6. Refine your bedtime routine.
Getting quality sleep every night will have an impact on all aspects of your life, from your energy levels, to your mood and how you function. Once this domino falls, it can play havoc with your other resolutions. Setting boundaries can help you focus more on the activities you really want to prioritise—including sleep.
If you’re cleaning in the kitchen, checking emails from your couch, or starting any project within an hour of your bedtime, it may keep you up later than intended. Try implementing a new routine that includes wind-down time in the hour before you go to bed—even if you need to break it down into baby steps with 10 minute increments.
Want to take it a step further? Keep screen time and distracting devices out of the bedroom.
Tips for keeping your resolution
Once you’ve identified your resolution, follow these steps to make sure it becomes reality!
- Write down your resolution. But don’t stop there: Also include the steps you will take to keep it so that your goal is clear and specific.
- Keep things simple. Break a big goal into a series of smaller goals. Want to lose 20 kilos? Aim to lose 5 kilos at a time and celebrate the small wins along the way!
- Start small. If weight loss or a healthier lifestyle is your goal, start by changing something small, like swapping one snack per day for a piece of fruit. The benefits will add up without majorly impacting your lifestyle.
- Mark your achievements. Each time you make a small lifestyle change aimed at reaching your goal—adding five minutes to your daily walk, for instance— put a star on your calendar so you can see your progress. Celebrating these wins will keep you motivated so you’re more likely to continue to reach your goals!