Well, here we are again. The holidays have come and completely derailed all attempts at sticking to a healthy diet. Maybe you have a little more self-control than I do. Maybe your "what am I doing with my life" moment was a little more dignified than catching an ugly glimpse of yourself in the mirror as you wept silent, salty tears into a third piece of apple pie.
Whatever your relationship with desserts may be, weight loss is at the top of a lot of people's minds this time of year.
Last year, 3 out of 10 of the most popular new year's resolutions involved personal health. And yet most people give up on their fitness goals as early as January 17, with only about 8% of resolutions succeeding overall. Whether you're trying to lose 2 pounds or 20 (or more), you can probably sympathize with the struggles that diet and exercise programs pose.
For people whose weight is a serious health issue, losing weight can mean the difference between life and death. Being overweight puts excess strain on your joints and makes you more likely to have sleep apnea, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer and several other life-altering ailments.
But you already know all of the risks involved, that's why you're trying to lose weight. Or maybe you want to look good in a swimsuit again. Or, perhaps, you just like fitting into clothes a little more comfortably. Whatever your reasons for wanting to lose weight, one universal truth remains: it's not easy.
In addition to the dozens of other weight loss tips that circulate the Internet, there is one very important tip that often gets overlooked. If you plan on making a new year's resolution for 2020, make it this: learn to forgive yourself.More on that in a minute.
When you embark on your “new year, new you” journey, you probably start with a lot of determination and motivation. Gyms are packed at the beginning of the year, downloads for health apps peak (and increase in popularity year over year), everyone synchronizes their motivational clocks and we all collectively get at it.
But by February, gyms start to empty. Motivation starts to wane. New year’s resolutions go out the door. Even with summer swimsuit season lurking, it seems that people give up on their resolutions pretty damn quickly. But why?
Most diets are set up to deprive you, which can lead to binge eating. The process of dieting itself brings about changes in your body that can cause unpleasant side effects like migraines, irritability and fatigue. Skipping meals is also a good way to set yourself up for failure. Sure, fewer calories equal more weight loss in theory, but what you’re really doing is training your metabolism to hold on to as much food as possible. Your body needs that consistent flow of glucose to feed your brain and organs. Plus skipping meals makes you super hungry, which can lead to eating more than you would’ve eaten in a normal meal. The best way to ensure your diet is successful is to find one that you can realistically follow—not just for a few weeks, but for your entire life (which should include occasional splurges on ice cream, pizza, beer or whatever else your favorite treats are).
Exercise routines can be hard to stick to because we often think of them as very intense, painful activities. It can also be intimidating to go to a gym full of fit, energetic people when you’re just starting out. The other alternative is to find ways to work out at home or in a more private location, but sometimes that can feel less motivating.
No matter how determined you are when you start, it’s easy to lose motivation when you don’t see the results you expected. Seeing initial results when you start to lose weight is really energizing and uplifting, but when you hit a plateau, it can be utterly demoralizing. The best way to find an exercise routine that works is to remind yourself it doesn’t have to be “all or nothing.” Just get moving when you can…anything is always better than nothing. And when you’ve got the energy to up your game, get at it! In the meantime, don’t stress so hard and just go for a nice walk.
So why should learning to forgive yourself be your #1 resolution in 2020? Because it’s very hard to succeed without a mindset of acceptance and forgiveness. At some point in your journey—regardless of how hard you try and how determined you are—you’re bound to hit some speed bumps. This is why most new year’s resolutions fail: People stop seeing results, and they stop believing the torture they’re putting themselves through is worth the effort. Why bust your ass at the gym and starve yourself to lose two measly pounds over the course of a month?
We give up on our resolutions because it’s easy to be disheartened by a lack of results. We give up because we haven’t been taught how to forgive ourselves for our slip ups.
When we cheat on a diet or skip days at the gym, it’s easy to be full of guilt and self-loathing. That can make it really easy to give up. If you’ve struggled with dieting before, you know how easy it is to feel like all is lost the first time you fall off the wagon.
But losing motivation is a nearly unavoidable part of the weight loss process. Think about every other aspect of your life. Are you always motivated to go to work? Are you always motivated to clean the house from top-to-bottom every single day? Even fun things in life like going out to see friends—are you alwaysmotivated to get out of your pajamas, stop binge-watching baking shows and deal with the outside world? No, of course not. Sometimes work is tough. Sometimes the last thing you want to do is find a place for the stacks of boxes that make up what was, at one point, a functional garage. Sometimes nothing feels better than a lazy, pajama-clad TV binge.
Chances are, you’re very forgiving of yourself when these things happen, so why are dieting and exercise any different? Why are we fairly easy on ourselves for playing hooky from work, and so hard on ourselves for something like eating a couple of donuts for breakfast when we’re trying to lose weight?
Humans are imperfect creatures. Even the super-fit person at the gym who’s prepping for a marathon has had some motivational slips along their fitness journey. We can’t compare ourselves to other people, especially when it comes to weight and health. Everyone’s goals and bodies are so different. Do you want to be crazy ripped and compete as a weightlifter? Your goals are a lot different than the middle-aged dad who just wants to get his cholesterol down a bit.
Dieting and exercise programs, for the most part, also ignore the psychological aspect of weight loss. Behavioral change has to happen incrementally over time by relearning new things and adopting new, healthier habits. If you eat 1000 calories a day and work out intensely four days a week, is that sustainable for the rest of your life? It’s not. You will lose weight, but you can’t realistically keep that up forever.
But resolving to be more active when you can, trying to eat healthier, and learning to forgive yourself when you get off track are all very sustainable habits. No matter how far off track you get, you can always reset and try again. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have specific goals in mind. It’s always important to have long-term goals in mind. But learning to forgive yourself, allowing yourself an occasional indulgence and knowing that you can get back on track after a slip-up is really liberating.
As a supplement company, this might sound a little crazy, but you shouldn't rely on supplements alone to fix your health issues. Unfortunately, it’s very common for other supplement companies to promise you a miracle cure in a magical pill.
Can supplements help you lose weight? Absolutely! Are they the only life change you need to make to be healthy? Of course not. Take our probiotics for example. Our 60 Billion Probiotic is our best-selling supplement. Not because we make a bunch of outrageous claims, but rather because we take the time to vet our ingredients and ensure our products really work. Don’t take our word for it, check out all of our reviews on Amazon. If you’re looking for some help with your overall digestive health, we have a variety of probiotics that are going to help your gut feel better. But if you’re still eating fast food every day or constantly bombarding your stomach with alcohol and other harsh things, the results will be less noticeable.
One of our supplements in particular, our Apple Cider Vinegar has a patented ingredient in it called Capsimax. This acts as a fat burner that can burn up to an extra 100 calories per day. By helping to boost your metabolism, it can help give you a little more energy and burn fat a little easier. But are you going to get healthy by taking Apple Cider Vinegar pills without any other life changes? Probably not. But it will give you a little boost, which can really help you when you’re going through those periods of faltering motivation.
Making long-term and short-term goals are important for success in any area of life, but especially for health and weight loss. Making small, sustainable changes that you can maintain throughout your life is important. And learning to forgive yourself when you get a little off track is one of the most important things you can do for your well-being. So, for 2020, aim as high as you want, but remember to take it easy on yourself too. If you keep trying new things and accept the journey for what it is, you’ll have a happier, healthier and more stress-free new year.
Here’s to a happy, healthy 2020.
Seth Garland - Content Writer, Physician's Choice