The new year always feels like a clean slate and is a great time to create new goals and/or habits to accomplish throughout the year.
Those involved in the fitness industry usually see an influx of people at the new year with fitness goals that they would like to accomplish for the year. The most common goal being to lose weight or losing a specific amount of weight.
However, I feel the focus on weight loss is negative, and promotes a poor way of achieving better health. If you want to lose weight – that’s great! But there are better, more specific goals that will make you more successful in getting healthier when looking at things from a long-term perspective.
The problem with making a goal specific to losing weight means that if you don’t see the results you’d like to see fast enough, you may fall off track quickly and become discouraged.
If you are overweight, yes losing some weight will allow you to become healthier. But, at some point you may start to gain some weight back once you start increasing muscle mass. If this happens it is a good thing, because you are starting to get stronger and healthier – however some may view this as “bad” if all he/she cares about is their weight.
Instead of focusing on the weight scale, I encourage you to make a goal specific to changing a daily habit.
For example, you could make the goal of exercising 3-5x/week for 30 minutes at a time. Of course you may want to have this planned out better so that you can start to achieve a certain goal. However, working on changing small parts of your lifestyle will be a lot easier to stick to and will be a lot more encouraging in the long run.
Additionally, if losing weight is something that you would like to do, exercise is not the only part of your lifestyle habits that should change. Improving your diet is another huge aspect of your daily life that should be improved as well.
This being said, nutrition is another area of health and wellness that most people start off strong with and then end up giving up on. This is another time when making small changes will go a long way. Make a goal that is simple and something small that you can do every day.
Also, finding people who can keep you accountable - like personal trainers and nutritionists - can help you be a lot more successful in achieving your goals. They can help you track everything and are they for you if you start to become discouraged.
Health and wellness should be a life long journey of continually trying to improve yourself, so that you can live a higher quality life. Start 2021 off strong by making simple, reasonable, and achievable health and fitness goals that will allow you to see longer lasting results!
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Dr. Cameron Gholampour