Updated: Jan 3
NEW YEAR RESOLUTIONS!!! One hears it all the time., and health and weight are amongst the highest on the priority list of New year resolutions
Ironically all the time, wanting to improve one's health is a felt need from within (as we are experiencing the discomfort of increased weight) but we stop the journey of weight loss or the path towards better health even before we have started. Some of us make an honest attempt to lose weight for a couple of weeks or a month and do take some measures as well before it starts fading away and the old routine & methods set in.
So eventually, the new year resolution that was made with all earnestly has lost its steam, by the first week of January for most people and for the rest by end of January or early February.
BACK TO SQUARE ONE!!!!
Why does it happen, year after year?
Some scientific mind cookies!!!!!
1. We look for quick fixes that are not sustainable. We desire to shed weight in a couple of weeks, which has taken time to develop – for some it has been many years and for a few some no. of years. Often, these quick fixes are hard on us and difficult to sustain. Generally, the steps we take to lose weight are based on “willpower”, often making us experience a lot of discomforts. For example, the first thing that many of us do is to “decide” that we will no longer indulge in our favourite foods. Favourite foods are generally high calorie and range from deserts, and sweets, to fast food viz., burgers, and sandwiches to deep fried foodstuff. Rarely do we hear someone say that my favourite food is a green salad. The moment we use “WILL POWER”, we are already in the mode of deprivation, which causes a stress response. Our mind on the other hand works like an “autoresponder system”. Our favourite foods are already registered in our minds. So when we see our favourite food or even if we think of it or even pass by our favourite restaurant, the mind starts working independently. The previous so many lovely experiences flash in our memory. The way we remember these memories are through our senses – big and bright pictures pop up in our head, and we remember tastes which activate our mouth and salivary glands in and around our mouth and this is normally followed by an intense feeling of wanting to experience the taste or picking it up if it is in front of us. This activity happens in split seconds, what we do experience in the body is a strong intensity or desire to have our favourite food. Also, How often have we heard this “the more we deprive ourselves, the more we want it”.
2. Many of us also decide that from the next day “generally the 2nd of January”, we will start living a “HEALTHY LIFESTYLE”, this lifestyle that we desire to live is generally very very different from the life we are currently leading. For example, if we decide that we will wake up in the morning and jog for about 5 km or enrol ourselves in the gym for an intense workout, we will start eating healthy every meal. The definition of healthy generally is lots of salads, fruits and vegetables or for others, it is lots of meats. While the intention is noble and it does provide awesome results in the short fun, it is rarely self-sustaining because as human beings “Familiarity is our strongest human instinct”. Many of our habits start in the womb. When we do something or follow a routine, that is very different from our existing routine, the unfamiliarity causes a lot of discomfort and leads us to have a stress response. Hence we follow back on the earlier routine. The willpower lasts for a week, a couple of weeks or a couple of months at the maximum.
3. Finally, “the priority of our values”. As much as we have noble intentions and a strong desire to work on our weight or health goals. Often our values hierarchy or priority takes precedence over our goals/desires. For a working professional, our roles and demands at work become more important. For the Indian homemaker, taking care of the family’s needs, being the ideal mother and wonderful wife, the dutiful daughter-in-law takes over. Hence as much as we would like it, the health or weight goals take a back seat or by the time, we decide to give time to our health or weight goals, most of the day is over, and the body is already has gone into a starvation/famine mode, we have already induced bad programming on our mind and body and therefore resulting in increased weight.
4. CHOOSE PROGRESS OVER PERFECTION: We tend to set very stringent health goals and soon give up when we are not able to meet those standards. Our hectic schedules and multiple priorities often do not allow us to stick to our health goals. Hence look to do the best you can given your circumstances but keep AT IT., The consistency of doing “that little” every day over some time, will help you experience the benefits of good health.
5. EVERYBODY IS UNIQUE, IDENTIFY YOUR FAT STORY: We often tend to compare our body & health with people around us and tend to “ape” other so-called successful people in space. Everybody, has a unique DNA, a unique lifestyle and belief systems & mindsets that are unique. Our health and weight are a combination of many factors. What works for others, may not work for you even if it is your sibling or parent.
6. GOOD HEALTH IS A JOURNEY & NOT A DESTINATION: It takes 1500-plus steps to walk a mile, and millions of drops of water to make an ocean. Every second a cell dies and a new cell is born. The quality of a new cell depends on our nutrition, stress, sleep, physical activity, mindset etc. Hence focus on your health every day.
Hence if want to convert our New Year Resolutions into tangible goals resulting in sustainable weight loss and health benefits
Take incremental steps that lead to large health benefits. Weight loss is a journey and not a series of quick fixes
Include your favourite foods in your plan of course to a lesser degree unless these are like addictions. We can also break the “autoresponder systems” of our favourite foods using scientific mind techniques. Take expert help on it, if you are tending towards addictions. By addiction, I mean wanting to eat your favourite foods even when you are not hungry and you experience these episodes of hunger at least once a day to a couple of times a week.
Re-prioritize your value hierarchy to include health in the top 2 priorities of life. Good health when following sustainable methods positively impacts all dimensions of our life. Better health leads to increased productivity at work, higher energy at home and more running in walks of your life. Abusing health shows up most during the silver years of your life when you need your health the most and you are low on your finances. As we age, let's focus on sustainable healthy active lifestyles to prevent age-related medical complications and enjoy life to the fullest!