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Healthy living... using the basics to stick with your health-based New Year resolutions.

It probably comes as no surprised that the top New Year's resolutions in the UK last year were health related. In fact, 50% wanted to improve fitness, 48% wanted to lose weight, and 39% wanted to improve their diet. Unfortunately, only around half of people that make a resolution, stick to it... so why do some fail and some not?

A study showed that 35% of participants failed due to having unrealistic goals, 33% didn't keep track of their progress and 23% forgot about their resolution all together!

Now I've worked with a lot of clients and I have been on fitness journeys myself, but there are 6 things, 6 basic things, that are sure to keep you on the right path and not join the failed new year resolutioners!

#1: Increase your energy expenditure through NEAT movement

NEAT stands for 'Non-exercise activity thermogenesis' and is the calories burned outside of structured exercise (such as sports, running, gym-based exercise). This energy ranges from things like walking to work, fidgeting, work-based manual labour, typing and many many more. Increasing this type of activity, helps to burn more calories during the day, without having to kill yourself at the gym. Why not try walking to work a few days a week? And if it's too far, park somewhere a mile or two away and walk that stretch!

#2: Know how many calories you should be eating for your goals

We all know what foods we should be eating in order to lead a healthy diet. However, knowing what foods we should be eating isn't always enough. It's easy to eat more than is needed, and consuming more calories than our bodies needs to function, will lead to weight gain. Therefore it's important to know your basal metabolic rate (BMR) - the number of calories required to keep your body functioning at rest. For women, this can be determined by using this formula outlined by Diabetes UK; 655.1 + (9.563 * weight [kg]) + (1.85 * size [cm]) − (4.676 * age [years]). Once this is done you can use the Harris Benedict Formula to calculate your total calorie intake required to maintain your current weight:

  • Little/no exercise: BMR x 1.2 = Total Calorie Need

  • Light exercise: BMR x 1.375 = Total Calorie Need

  • Moderate exercise (3-5 days/wk): BMR x 1.55 = Total Calorie Need

  • Very active (6-7 days/wk): BMR x 1.725 = Total Calorie Need

  • Extra active (very active & physical job): BMR x 1.9 = Total Calorie Need

Once this process is done you can adjust your calorie intake/exercise uptake to fit with your goals. E.g. if you wanted to lose 1-2lbs a week, I would suggest reducing your calorie intake by 500. Remember - this can also be achieved through increased exercise and NEAT activity.

#3: Drink plenty of water

Around 60% of the body is made up of water and is essential for the kidneys and other bodily functions such as regulating body temperature, aiding digestion and removal of waste product from the body. Drinking water can also aid in weight management if it is consumed instead of sweetened juices and fizzy drinks. Drinking a glass of water before a meal can also help prevent overeating, by creating a sense of fullness.

#4: Eat 5 portions of fruit and/or veg per day

Fruit and vegetables contain fibre (important to keep you full and aiding digestion) and many essential vitamins and minerals that the body can’t produce on its own. Replacing higher calorie foods with fruit and vegetables can lead to a lower calorie intake (due to fruit and veg generally being quite low calorie foods) and therefore help in maintaining/losing weight.

#5: Track your progress

Tracking your progress is really important to stay motivated, not just throughout your health journey, but beyond that as well. You can track your progress in many ways including; using an app or smart watch, journaling/writing down your progress, thoughts and feelings or tracking your progress through pictures (some have made dedicated Instagram accounts for their journey). By tracking your progress it helps you to reflect on what is going well and helps to keep you on track, even if you have a few ‘off’ days, because let’s face it, we all have off days!

#6: Get 7-9 hours of sleep every night

It’s pretty known that a good nights sleep can improve your productivity levels and concentration throughout the day. But sleep can play a part in weight management to. A lack of sleep can affect hormones, and in particular it increases levels of ghrelin (hormone that stimulates appetite) and decreases levels of leptin, (hormone that suppresses appetite).

Implementing these 6 things into your daily routine will embed healthy habits and support you in achieving your health and well-being goals. There are going to be days where sticking to these things is hard and they’ll be days where you deter from your goals. But that’s ok. Health is about balance and it’s important to have a healthy relationship with yourself in order to achieve this balance. A few ‘off’ days won’t destroy your goals or progress. Just refocus and get back to it… health is a journey, not a destination.

Why not checkout my online coaching here or email me for advice and/or enquiries - Happy New Year my lovelies!