It’s that time of the year when health resolutions are made with renewed vigour. For most people, January is the month when they decide to shed a few kilos by going on some fancy diet or by getting a new gym membership. This may also be the time when you would have vowed not to touch alcohol, meditate everyday and practice yoga.
While some would have just woken up to their fitness goals, some would have already fallen off the wagon by now while a few others may still be finetuning their resolutions.
So what is it about the New Year and health resolutions?
“Making health resolutions has become a fad,” says Luke Coutinho, holistic lifestyle coach- Integrative Medicine. Term it a fad or not, if you feel that the beginning of the year is the best time to prioritise your health, then give it your best shot. You just need to plan out how to achieve your goals and pursue it with dedication.
PLAN IT BETTER
Why are resolutions hard to keep? Perhaps, you haven’t planned it better. “The problem is people follow it for two to three weeks and then it fizzles out which is further followed by desperation, frustration and disappointment of not keeping up with the resolutions,” says Coutinho. He advises that a better way is to start the New Year by creating “habits” or “lifestyle habits” and not to wait till January 1. “Do it the moment you decide to,” he says.
Keeping realistic goals is important. Are you aiming for a 20 kg weight loss in six months or is it about regaining your ideal body weight? Have you promised yourself to eat healthy or are you just following the latest diet fad in town. “The more realistic health resolutions will be to eat healthier by eating more vegetables and fruits, to drink plenty of water and eat home-cooked food,” says Preety Tyagi, nutritionist and founder of MY22BMI, a digital healthcare startup. For fitness, choose a workout of your choice and perform it three to four times a week. “Keep your goals practical. If required, get a health coach and a fitness coach who will keep you motivated and inspire you to achieve your health goals,” Tyagi adds.
The best way of staying on top of your resolutions is by keeping a check down schedule where you keep a track of your to-dos. Tick down every activity as mentioned in your schedule every day to see how much you are performing. “At the end of every passing week, look at the schedule and analyse your performance, your weak points and your strengths. If you see any set patterns of under-performance or no performance of certain task, modify it in a more practical form and keep monitoring as time passes,” advises Tyagi. Alternatively, there are apps that enable proper planning and ledger-making, those can be used for monitoring performance.
Most people attribute success with health goals through willpower; however willpower has a shelf life. “Chances are that you may run out of it real soon if you aren’t driven from within. What really matters is self-motivation and feeling that comes from inside of you that motivates you to work out every day and eat the right foods,” says Coutinho. So eat in moderation, drink water the right way, think the right thoughts and spend some time not only exercising your body but also exercising your mind.
One of the most important as well as necessary ingredient for any resolution to succeed is “self-discipline”. “It is the centre of all success in life. The difference in most cases – between unhealthy and healthy people is self-discipline. We don’t need fad diets, exercise programmes, supplements. We need action, with selfdiscipline. This is key,” asserts Coutinho.
Having a friend take resolutions with you will help in achieving goals. “Also posting your goals and efforts on social media is another useful tool to not fall off the bandwagon,” says Tyagi.
KEEP IT SIMPLE
As the month of December is about binge drinking and eating, most people dedicate January to detoxification, especially of the liver. “Social media posts carry hashtags such as #DryJanuary and #NoAlcohol through the month and so it’s a good time to adopt the habit of consuming green tea for detox,” says Kausshal Dugarr, founder and CEO of Teabox. The company is running a social media campaign called #DryToATea to encourage people to stick to their dry January commitment by giving them other alternatives to alcohol.
Detoxification of liver occurs in two phases. During phase 1 the liver breaks down the toxins into intermediates and they are neutralised and excreted in the second phase. “Tea, especially green tea, possesses antioxidants and free radical scavenging activity which stimulates detoxification of the system through selective induction or modification of phase I and phase II metabolic enzymes. In addition, it is found to aid in heavy metal detoxification by inhibiting its absorption and promoting excretion,” says Dugarr.
And lastly, keep it simple. “Because the world is complex enough,” says Coutinho. The way to achieving weight loss or building up on muscles begins with eliminating consumption of processed food, sugary drinks, and regular working out. “You don’t need complicated diet plans, detoxes and complex workouts to reach the level of health you desire. Keep your choices, food habits and lifestyle simple,” he adds.