Have you had a break from your sports over the festive season? Is it time to start thinking about your training and exercise plan for 2016? Are those few extras kilos that have crept on over Christmas, going to make you sluggish and not at your peak performance?
Every year, thousands upon thousands of people have good intentions to make this the year to lose weight or get their eating habits back on a healthier path. Like everyone else, sporting people have the same intentions and goals. But how many people really succeed? Will you be at your best come competition time?
Normally we all start off quite well, but it is hard to keep the momentum going and even harder to know the best foods to eat, with so much conflicting information in the media.
On a whole, it is reported Australians are becoming fatter and our eating habits are leaning more towards fast-and-fatty takeaway foods. In National records kept it is estimated that two-thirds of Australian adults and one-quarter of our children are now overweight and obese.
Weight gain occurs when you eat and drink too much while limiting physical activity. As we get older a few kilos creep on every year until you find you have gained so much weight that you are outside the healthy weight range.
So how can you accomplish your resolution this year to eat healthier and lose weight? The answer is tomorrow never comes, so you need to start today, right now, not tomorrow, not next week or next month, but right now!
Like all changes such as moving house, organising holidays and preparing celebrations you need to PLAN. Sit down and make a list of all the things you could do to improve your life; for example, eat more fruit, drink more water and increase your exercise.
Now list all the things you should change, such as cutting down on takeaway meals, and reducing sweets and alcohol. Number each of these changes. These are now your goals, to be successful at this year.
The best idea is to work on one goal each week.
So let’s say you have two improvements (drink more water, include daily exercise) and two changes (cut down on daily chocolate and reduce alcohol) you want to work on.
• The first week you should look at increasing the water,
• The second week, focus on reducing chocolate.
• The third, start increasing the exercise.
• By the fourth week, you can start cutting back on the alcohol.
Each week continue with your previous goals and add a new one in. Before you know it, you have been making healthy choices for a month. You will start to feel better and the changes have been gradual so you do not feel too deprived.
Avoid jumping on the bandwagon to try the latest fad diet – ‘No Carbs’, ‘Juices only’, ‘Diet Shakes and Bars’etc. These gimmicks may lead to 2–3 kg loss initially, but these diets are hard to maintain and often the weight re-appears when you come ‘off’ the diet.
Many of these diets are unhealthy, cutting out essential food group and nutrients, which can lead to nutritional deficiencies.
Going on and off these diets can lead to weight gain year after year. These diets or ‘plans’ do not teach you how to enjoy real foods and create your own healthy eating plan.
The best idea to lose weight is to make small, sustainable life changes which lead to long-term weight loss.
If you need some help trying to lose or have a healthier lifestyle, you may like to get some professional support.
Rachel Jeffery is an Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD) and Accredited Practising Nutritionist.
For info about healthy eating: www.racheljeffery.com.