Feb-fast, Junk-free June, Sugar-free September, Oc-sober…it seems just about every month of the year is dedicated to giving up something. But we have to wonder whether these ‘free from’ months are simply deprivation diets by another name.
The beginning of a new year is a common time to embark on a health kick and put to action some of your weight-loss goals. But, before you start going around declaring that you have quit sugar/carbs/gluten/dairy for good, read on.
Experts have identified the reasons why roughly 90 per cent of New Year’s resolutions fail.
1) You’re not specific enough
Saying you want to ‘eat better’ or ‘exercise more’ is a good start, but without being specific, it can be hard to measure changes. Break your goals into mini-goals such as ‘today, I will eat two pieces of fruit’ or ‘this week, I will go for a 30-minute walk every day’. After a few months, these mini-goals turn into habits that will get you closer to your end goal.
2) You set ‘should’ goals, not ‘want’ goals
It’s much easier to stick to a goal if it’s something you really want, rather than something you feel you should be doing. ‘Want’ goals rely on internal motivation (‘I want to have more energy’ or ‘I want to feel more confident in my clothes’), whereas ‘should’ goals come from external pressures (‘I should lose weight’).
3) You aim too high
Try to be realistic when you set your goals, and plan for setbacks. It’s not sustainable to cut out an entire food group, or a food you absolutely love, for a long period of time. We know this only leads to feelings of deprivation and cravings.
If you want to reassess your sugar intake this year, pick up the January issue of Healthy Food Guide where we have an extensive guide about how to be smarter about sugar. And if you’re going on holidays, we share easy tips for eating well while you’re travelling.