New Year, New You: 7 realistic ways to hit your fitness goals in 2020

  • Every year, millions of Nigerians pledge to get more exercise and start eating healthy. This explains why the gym is usually filled to the brim and social media is littered with work out pictures throughout January.
  • However, science has shown that about 80 percent of resolutions fail and that most people usually lose their resolve by mid-February.
  • This is why we recommend focusing instead on making the realistic changes below to your lifestyle.

After the holiday season comes the start of a new year and people planning to start working out and finally lose weight. As mentioned above, this resolution does not get past the second month of the year.

Even though this happens every time, people continue to make the same resolutions again and again, somehow hoping the next year will be different.

2020 can be the year you finally achieve your fitness and health goals if you focus on making the following realistic changes:

  • Aim for 30-minute workouts for 3-4 times a week

Trying to work out for hours every day is unrealistic, especially when you are not used to it. Ditch the all or nothing approach and exercise for at least 30 minutes three to four times a week.

Starting small like this builds your discipline and increases your chances of sticking to this. You can go to the gym or work out at home with help from the many fitness apps at your disposal.

  • Walk everywhere

Walking regularly has so many health benefits including weight loss. After studying women during a 12-week walking exercise, a study in the Journal of Exercise Nutrition and Biochemistry concluded that this physical activity can burn fat and reduce waist circumference in obese females.

So, add walking to your daily routine. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, ditch the bikes or kekes (tricycles), take walking breaks at work and park further away at the office, church, or school. Aim for at least 10, 000 steps daily and try increasing your intensity with faster walks.

  • Practice the 80/20 rule

One of the reasons why you failed last year is because you were overly ambitious. You thought you could just change your eating habits overnight by replacing the food you used to with only green, healthy stuff. This probably worked for a week or so until you go back to your old eating habits.

This year, you can achieve your goals by simply practising the 80/20 eating rule. This sustainable approach means you do not have to make 100% healthy food choices instead you aim for 80% healthy foods and leave the remaining 20% for when you want to indulge with less healthy food.

To illustrate:

Monday to Friday: You eat homemade meals (80%).

Saturday and Sunday: You have ice cream, cookies, e.t.c. (20%).

Following the 80/20 rule means you get in the healthy food you need and occasionally indulge without feeling guilty. Just remember not to go too crazy with unhealthy food.

  • Eat more whole, home-cooked meals

Processed foods like potato chips, ice cream, frozen pizza, cookies and the like) have been linked to weight gain. This is because they are filled with certain addictive ingredients and lack the nutrients found in whole (unprocessed) foods.

So, make sure you cook your meals this year. Make sure you add vegetables, reduce the amount of oil you use, boil more than you fry and watch the weight fall off.

  • Keep the junk food out of your house

Out of sight is usually out of mind. To hit your weight loss goals, keep the junk food out of your house. Fill your house with healthy food and fruits.

  • Get adequate sleep

Sleep is often disregarded when it comes to weight loss but studies have found that people who do not get enough sleep tend to gain more weight, especially around the belly.

This is because sleep keeps ghrelin and leptin (appetite hormones) in check. The cortisol hormone (controls blood sugar levels, regulate metabolism, e.t.c ) is also affected.

Not getting enough sleep results in an imbalance of these hormones that leads to increased appetite, binging (overeating) and weight gain. Aim for between seven and nine hours a night to lose weight.

  • Get an accountability partner

You are more likely to achieve any goal if you have a support system. Find someone who is also trying to lose weight and hold each other accountable.

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