It's a New Year, a time to set new goals and explore new opportunities. For a lot of people, it's another chance to (finally) achieve that weight loss resolution from 2016 that wasn't fulfilled. You're not alone. Did you know that 90% of people who lose weight fail to maintain that weight loss by the end of the year? Yep, that's right... Nine out of 10 people can't sustain their progress throughout the year. Why? It's simple. They're focused on the outcome rather than the process.
Let me explain. Focusing on the outcome (i.e. the weight loss) leads you down the road to quick fixes, fad diets and poorly designed exercise plans. In short, following "a plan" works in the short-term but because you're solely focused on the outcome, you fail to develop new "habits". If you fail to develop new habits, you're destined for failure.
Focusing on building new habits keeps you dialled into the "process" (rather than outcome) and all the best psychologists and sport psychologists will tell you that is the secret to sustained changed and achieving your ultimate goals.
What are the key habits to focus on to kick-start your weight loss this year? I'll give you my top-3.
If you’re overweight, out of shape, or in poor health your ability to process carbohydrates effectively is compromised. This means that for every high-carb meal you eat (i.e. breakfast), your body must pump out greater and greater amounts of the blood sugar hormone insulin to process that meal. This puts the brakes on your ability to burn fat for fuel (and is also very harmful to your overall health). Ditch your high-carb breakfast in favor of high-protein and high-fat alternatives. For example, poached eggs with avocado and cherry tomatoes or plain yogurt with berries and walnuts are great breakfast options, even if you’re busy and on the go.
Most people don’t realize the research shows the typical person eating multiple meals throughout the day (i.e. snacking) does NOT increase their metabolism and does NOT increase their chances to lose weight. In fact, they often gain weight! This New Year, ditch the snacks at your desk and focus your energy on eating three “high-quality” square meals throughout the day (e.g. high protein, fat and veggies with modest amounts of “slow” or complex carbohydrates).
This New Year, kick your old “chronic cardio” habit to the curb and add more high-intensity interval training (HIIT). The research shows that short, intense bursts of exercise produce far more powerful changes in body composition than steady-state cardio. That’s right, HIIT exercise helps build a greater VO2 max (a reliable marker for aerobic fitness), burns more fat calories than traditional cardio and is just as good as for your heart as steady-state aerobic training.
Warning... although these three simple tips may seem basic at first glance, but that's actually by design (and why they work so fantastically well!). The take home message is; you don't have to completely overhaul your life to achieve your goals. The solution to your problem is only 20-30 degrees off of what you're already doing (not the 180 degree u-turn you think you need!)
What will your legacy be in 2017? Embrace your New Year's Resolutions this year and build the new habits you need to kick-start your progress!
Dr. Marc Bubbs ND, CISSN, CSCS
ps. Ready for more in-depth support? Check out my FREE WEIGHT LOSS E-BOOK, a full 14-day guide on what to eat, how to move, and how to upgrade your sleep and lifestyle to kick-start your weight loss.