Weight Loss & New Year’s Resolutions: Is it time for a different approach?

We are in the second week of January. 

How’s that New Year’s resolution going? Are you managing your new diet and workout routine? Perhaps you joined some sort of online social media challenge to help you stay motivated; is it helping? 

I am in it to win it! 

We are fast approaching the second Friday of the month, which Strava, the exercise tracking app, has given the informal name of ‘Quitters Day.’ That is because most people who had set New Year’s resolutions will have given up on them. In fact, only 9% of people are successful in achieving and maintaining their New Year’s resolutions. I know that’s a disappointing result, and it also explains why fewer people are setting New Year’s resolutions. 

Now there is nothing wrong with setting a New Year’s resolution. In fact, it can be quite motivating and create a greater sense of hope compared to starting something at a different time of the year. This is also why people like to start things on a ‘Monday,’ which, in theory sounds great. However, I find Mondays are already hard enough and starting something ‘new’ would be an awful idea. 

Most New Year’s resolutions focus on self-improvement and health. People want to exercise more, eat healthier, or finally lose that 50lbs for good. Since I work in the weight-loss and wellness space, New Year’s resolutions are a hot topic. People want to know how or what they need to do in order to achieve their goals. 

Rather than word-vomiting all the things that you could do in order to lose weight, I want to suggest a different approach. I propose you take a break. Take a break from dieting. Take a break from obsessing over the numbers on the scale. Take a break from feeling like you need to exercise 2 hours a day in order to lose weight. 

So what do you suggest I do? 

Instead, focus on health. Focus on providing your body with the nutrients it actually needs. Focus on developing a routine around attaining more activity. Focus on consistently packing a lunch for work or having breakfast every morning. Focus on getting enough sleep. Focus on eating enough protein and veggies. Focus on mindful eating. Focus on planning ahead and meal prepping. Focus on eating less take-out. Focus on putting yourself first. 

These are just some of the basics that you will need to master to not only lose weight but keep it off. These are the things that are actually going to improve your health and your family’s health. They should have all been things we learned as a child growing up, but our parents ultimately didn’t know better. They did the best they could with what information they had. 

Unfortunately, as an adult, it is going to be 10x harder to incorporate these sorts of things into your current lifestyle. However, they are necessary. They are the things I most often see clients struggling with, and they have been shown in the data to be the things that individuals who have lost weight and kept it off long-term engage in every single day.

But what if I want to lose weight? For health or otherwise?

To this, I say you are allowed to lose weight. It can certainly be something you look at in the future. However, take some time to first learn and eat at your maintenance level of calories. It just so happens I have a fancy calculator you can use right here – select ‘Improve Health’ and input your info to find out how many calories and how much protein you should consume to maintain your current weight. 

Develop the habit of packing a lunch every day, maybe find a way to incorporate some meal prepping into your week, and start doing some kind of regular activity on a consistent basis. When you have been successfully doing this for a month, then you can look at trying to lose weight. Heck, you might have even started losing weight with the small changes you’ve already made. 

Let’s just do it; who wants to waste time prepping? 

There is no quick fix. There is no special diet. 

Even medications like Wegovy and Saxenda are nothing magical – they are just tools in the toolbox. As much as you may want something quick and easy, there is nothing available or in existence, sorry. Managing your weight is hard. If it were easy, well, you wouldn’t be reading this article. 

So consider a break! Especially if you have been yo-yo dieting or struggling with weight up to this point. Or, you could try again to white knuckle it with whichever fad diet your friend Karen suggested… 

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Fun fact: Albert Einstein was not the one who said that, and I am willing to bet he was also smart enough to avoid cauliflower crust pizza. 😉

That is all for now, folks. I hope you enjoyed this article!

References: 

PMID: 33802749

PMID: 16002825 

Always remember – small tweaks lead to massive peaks.

Dr. Dan

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