IF YOU have just made a New Year's resolution to lose weight and get fit, do not pat yourself on the back yet.
The challenge, the fitness experts and psychologists say, is making it happen.
Research shows that about 75% of New Year's resolutions fail.
One study found that almost half of Australian women made a New Year's resolution to lose weight last year but 7% gave up in the first week.
The Galaxy study, released by myspecialk.com.au, found that 43% of women saw no benefit from the money spent in trying to get into shape, and 33% saw a short-term benefit which did not last.
But there are ways to turn resolutions into results, according to those in the know.
The key seems to be remembering the reason behind the resolution.
Jett's founder and former personal trainer Brendon Levenson said weight loss needed to be based on motivation, not a date on the calendar.
"Whether it's losing weight and getting fit, or taking a break from alcohol, if someone feels like they are forced into making such a big commitment just because it's New Year's Eve, they are likely to fail," Mr Levenson said.
Adelaide-based psychologist Darryl Cross said too many resolutions were made simply because it was a New Year.
"People tend to think, 'It's the 1st of January, I need to make a resolution," Dr Cross said.
However, people were more likely to stick to resolutions if they planned ahead and hada trigger to change their behaviour, "if there is a reason for the change", he said.
For those who are serious about their New Year's resolution to knock off the kilograms, weight management program My Whey offered the following tips:
Sleep on it: A lack of sleep can encourage the body to store fat and can affect the secretion of the hormone that regulates appetite, making you feel hungry.
Be realistic: Work on a healthy eating plan and incorporate and slowly increase physical activity so that it is not too big an ask to start with. Aim to lose 5kg and then reassess after that.
Peer pressure: Finding like-minded friends or walking buddies can help with motivation, commitment and encouragement to exercise and eat healthily.
Snack attack: Instead of choosing snacks high in fat, salt or sugar, opt for carrots, nuts, fruit and seeds. Have healthy snacks ready to go. Drink plenty of water. And don't fret about the odd chocolate - just get back on track.
Walk this way: Walking is a low-impact cardio workout that can be incorporated into daily life, whether it's taking the stairs instead of the lift or kick-starting the day - and your metabolism - with an early morning walk.
Diet coach Judy Weitzman, author of How to Eat When Life Gets in the Way, told the Chicago Tribune that those who wanted to lose weight should look at changing behaviours.
She offered the following tips:
- Salads can be dangerous - dressing is a hand grenade. Instead of pouring the dressing, spear the salad with your fork and "dip" it in the dressing. Add nuts, cheese, bacon, croutons and creamy anything with caution.
- Avoid giant restaurant portions. Ask immediately for a takeaway container and save lots for later.
- Buffets are another danger zone. Choose only four things, two being vegetables, and visit only once.
- Beware the three o'clock slump. Try a devilled egg - with hummus rather than the yolk - instead of chips and lollies.
- Limit rather than deny yourself the "must haves". Take a small portion of potato chips, peanut butter, or whatever it is, then put the rest away for later.
- Limit your dessert to two bites only. Or maybe three.
- And any time you think you are hungry, try drinking water, brushing your teeth, or turning off the kitchen light and declaring it closed for the night.
Dr Cross said New Year's resolutions required a lot of commitment.
- Writing down your goal.
- Breaking it into small steps.
- Finding a way to motivate yourself, and then sticking to it.
- Using rewards for success and small punishments for failure.
- Enlisting someone to help keep you accountable.
Top 5 New Year's resolutions:
- To lose weight/get fit
- To quit smoking/drinking
- To get out of debt/save more money/make more money
- To spend more time with family and friends
- To get more organised
Source: The University of Sydney
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