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New year, new me

“New Year, New Me.”

Probably my least favourite phrase regarding New Year. However, I do understand why people use it. New Year is seen as a time for new beginnings. You have your blow out over the Christmas period, drink your wine, eat your mince pies and then settle yourself down read to start January with a bang.

New Year is generally a time for accomplishing fitness and diet goals. Let’s all go on a mass crash diet. Seems like a great idea, right?

Then the dreaded reality sets in. ‘Why is this so difficult?!’

Firstly, because your body is on a massive come down from the good time you’ve been having. Typically, December is a whole is a month of indulgence. If it was that easy to turn it on and off, wouldn’t more people be successful dieters? Or even better, not have to diet at all because their food intake would never have got that out of control in the first place.

We can all live in hope.

The fact is, eating and exercising consistently throughout the year IS difficult. Every time you get into a good rhythm, life gets in the way. You miss one training session. That turns into a week, which turns into a month. Before you know it, you’re lying on the sofa 6 months down the line with your 37th packet of chocolate M&M’s wondering where exactly it all went wrong.

We have all been there.

Let’s think about how we can overcome some of these obstacles. Starting in January (at least in England) is always going to be an extra challenge, because quite frankly -5 degrees is not exactly the weather for salad.

To combat this, I highly recommend looking up some simple soup and stew recipes. You can very easily make them from scratch and therefore control exactly what goes in. An added bonus here is soups and stews can be frozen, and therefore making a massive excess is not a problem.

Preparing food on mass (especially when its warm and comforting) could also save you money in the long run too, as long as you remember to take it out the freezer in the morning before going to work (or you will be looking at a partially defrosted, flavoured ice cube for dinner which isn’t what I would call appetizing).

The weather doesn’t help when trying to stick to your gym schedule either. January is definitely out to get us.

The ultimate question: ‘Should I wake up early and go to the gym before work, or get an extra hour sleep in the morning and go to the after work when I am already tired?’

If it’s not already part of your routine, starting the gym (whether before or after work) is a challenge. Getting out of bed, and into the dark and cold becomes harder and harder. Staying on at the gym after work when everyone else has gone to the pub isn’t exactly a pleasant thought either.

A combination of planning ahead, commitment and motivation can facilitate this. Some people like to get themselves a trainer to spark up that initial enthusiasm. I myself, (as a personal trainer) think this a fantastic idea, especially when that trainer is me.

All jokes aside though, it does help to have someone standing there, supporting and encouraging.

If you can’t afford a trainer, consider a class or training with a friend as at least you can suffer together (and be proud when it’s over, together).

Let’s face it, it’s far easier to complete an activity when it’s already part of your routine. Starting something new, or re-starting an old activity is always going to be difficult. Remember that next time you take an extended break that you know you’re going to regret.

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