48% of the people who made New Year’s resolutions in 2020 wanted to lose weight, according to a survey by YouGov. Other popular resolutions included exercising more (59%) and eating healthier (54%). So, if you’re looking for the ‘New Year, New You’ mindset, you’re not alone.
But keeping a resolution is much harder than making one. 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail. In fact, 20% of resolutions are broken within the first week of January alone. So if you’ve made weight loss a New Year’s resolution before and failed, you’re in good company. But you can keep your resolution this year!
Why Do Resolutions to Lose Weight Fail
Lack of Planning
Losing weight means changing up your routine. Whether you’re cooking healthier foods at home or heading to the gym, it’s important to have a plan. Schedule time for meal planning, cooking, working out at home, or attending a training session at The Fitness Doctor!
Lack of Motivation
If you’re going to succeed, you need to have motivation. If you make weight loss your resolution, just because you feel like it ‘should be’, you won’t have the commitment to follow through. Think about why you want to lose weight. Maybe you want to have more energy to play with your kids, or be in better shape for hiking on your next vacation. Find something that motivates you.
Lack of Support
Sharing your resolution can help you stay on track. Having a partner to hold you accountable for your “no more soda” resolution makes it harder to have “just one Coke”. One of The Fitness Doctor's trainers can help increase your attendance/adherence. Even if you want to sleep in, you won’t want to leave your trainer hanging! .
Setting unrealistic goals can set you up for disappointment and failure, and it isn’t healthy, either. Talk to a medical professional about setting a realistic weekly weight loss goal, like two pounds a week. They can also give you tips on how to achieve your realistic goals.
Poor Recovering After a Setback
Sometimes one slip up, like skipping the gym for a day or eating a brownie at work, can derail an entire resolution. But that doesn’t have to be the case. Everyone makes mistakes and changing your lifestyle is hard. Focus on getting back on track the next day instead of being too hard on yourself or giving up.
Having a Vague Resolution
Deciding on a resolution to “lose weight” should just be the start of your planning. Creating a more specific resolution, such as ‘lose X amount of pounds in X amount of weeks’, will allow you to track your progress and know when you’ve achieved your goals.
How to Turn Your Weight Loss Resolution into a SMART Goal
Turn your weight loss resolution into a SMART goal. A SMART goal is specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely. It’s best to just pick one or two resolutions at a time so you don’t become overwhelmed.
SMART Weight Loss Goal Ideas
I will lose one pound a week until I reach XXX pounds in eight months.
I will lose six pounds a month until I reach XXX pounds in one year.
Set the amount of weight loss that works for you: a specific, measurable number of pounds. Make sure the number is achievable and that your weight loss goal is truly a relevant, motivated desire you have. And be sure to set a deadline for your end goal to keep it timely.
In addition to your weight loss goal, you should also set a goal for how you plan to lose weight. Whether you plan on focusing on healthier eating habits, exercise, or a combination of the two, having a goal will help you stick to it.
Example Nutrition and Exercise SMART Goals
I will sign up for and attend two training sessions per week.
I will eat one fruit or vegetable with every meal.
I will make my lunch every day instead of dining out.
I will work out at home for 45 minutes, three times a week.
10 Nutrition Tips for Keeping your New Year’s Resolution
Most weight loss comes from decreasing your caloric intake rather than exercise, change your diet by making healthier food choices.
Talk to your doctor or a registered dietician for help with making healthier food choices and setting a nutrition plan that works for your lifestyle. If you’re looking for some tips, check out these suggestions:
Track what you eat using an app or a journal to keep yourself accountable
Find out what drives you to eat (stress, anxiety, sadness, using food as a reward when you feel happy…) and find something else to do instead. Take a walk or call a friend and reward yourself for making a different choice (just don’t use food as a reward)
Limit added sugars (sugars in cookies, cakes, etc. not the naturally occurring sugars in fruit)
Cut out liquid calories like alcohol, soda, and juice and drink water instead
Choose whole grain breads and cereals
Eat more frequently, have 5-6 mini meals instead of 3 large meals (and don’t skip breakfast)
Include lean protein (fish, lean meat, poultry, nuts, beans, and more)
Choose carbs that are low on the glycemic index (asparagus is much lower than a potato)
Eat more fiber to help you feel full (foods high in fiber include artichokes, green peas, lentils, broccoli, and lima beans)
Enjoy small amounts of good fat (found in fish, nuts, seeds, and olive oil)
7 Ways to Incorporate Exercise into Your Lifestyle and Reach Your Goals
While changing your eating habits can help you lose weight, research shows the only way to maintain weight loss is through physical activity.
Start with a low impact exercise
Choose activities you enjoy, whether that’s running outdoors or taking an exercise class
Get your friends or family to join in to help you stay motivated
If needed, break up your activity goal into smaller amounts of time. This makes it easier to fit exercise into your busy day. So your thirty minute goal becomes three 10 minute sessions instead
Work your way up to 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of high intensity exercise a week (or a mix of the two)
Add in strength training at least twice a week (weights, resistance bands, or body weight exercises)
Keep a physical activity journal to monitor your progress towards your exercise goals