Losing weight is the most common new year’s resolution, but it’s also the one that’s broken the most. Surprising? Ha! No! After all, we make such resolutions on the very day that we say “diet starts tomorrow!” and then call out “cheers!” clutching our first drink tighter than our first born before it’s even midday. To think we’d reach for carrots and celery on the 1st of January instead of the leftover party food (or the toilet bowl) is ludicrous.
Beyond the 1st though, perhaps it would be more helpful to not regard losing weight as being our resolution, but instead the by-product of our resolution/s. When we say things like we want to “lose weight” or “be happier” or “be more giving”, we are stating the what but not the how, but it’s the how that should be our resolution if we have any chance at succeeding with our broader goals. Working out the how is what forces us to put an action plan in place. Without action, our goals are ‘as useless as tits on a bull,’ as the saying goes.
So if losing weight is your broader goal, here are some tips for what your 2017 resolutions could be:
- Throw out all the junk food in your fridge and your pantry
This will be harder than you think but you need to be cutthroat. If you’re like me, most of the junk food in your pantry was purchased because it was on sale. The rest was purchased because you always say “there’s nothing to just pick up and eat in this house!” (you can’t be arsed spending 5-10 minutes preparing a healthy meal but will happily add butter, milk and hot water to a packet of alfredo and then wait 10-12 minutes for the microwave to do the work). When the thought crosses your mind that you’re wasting money and food, remember that your health is priceless.
- Incorporate vegetables into every meal
Who else gets to dinner time and thinks uh oh, I need to pack 5 serves of vegetables into this meal…? Why not try spacing these champions out across the day. Skip the vegemite toast and have eggs with a side of veggies for breakfast instead (sautéed mushrooms, asparagus, wilted spinach, roast tomato). Skip the ham and cheese sandwich for lunch and opt for a veggie packed salad (roasted pumpkin, beetroot, carrot or sweet potato). For dinner, skip the convenient sides of pasta or rice and have nutrient dense sides (steamed/grilled broccolini with oyster sauce, ricotta-stuffed portobello mushrooms, corn cobs with lime juice and chili flakes). Vegetables have so many vitamins and minerals in them, plus they’re filling. If you eat the right amount of them, you won’t find yourself craving the sugary and salty alternatives so quickly.
- Do your groceries online
I’ve been doing my groceries online for a couple of years now and I’ve noticed a massive difference in the types of food I buy, the time I spend shopping and the money I save (otherwise I walk down every aisle, chuck things into the trolley saying “Oooo on sale!” and end up spending as additional $100 to save $20). Online, I always scroll through the entire fresh fruit and fresh vegetable aisles to view the specials because this is how you know what’s in season and what’s freshest (which is also what tastes best). The cart viewable the whole time so you can see whether you’ve got fruit and veg of all colours (eat the rainbow they say!).
If you want to avoid buying junk food, you simply avoid clicking on those aisles. Likewise, if you want to buy junk food but want to control yourself, just type in your desired product (you don’t have to view the entire aisles if you don’t want to).
- Wash and chop all your fresh produce in advance
The number of times I’ve bought an array of fresh fruit, vegetables and meats only to throw them out at the end of the week is ridiculous. It is the height of laziness, but all too often I’d get to a meal time and have microwave rice because I couldn’t be bothered washing and chopping vegetables. Now, when I have my groceries delivered, I leave everything fresh on the bench. I then wash it all at the same time, cut it up and store it in airtight containers. I also cut and store meats in portion sizes to make life easier. That way, I can mix and match at meal times and don’t have to do any chopping – just cooking! I’d rather spend 30-60 mins doing food preparation in one hit than doing it every night when I’d rather be relaxing. Plus, it means fewer dishes to wash after every meal.
- Do a weekly meal plan
Planning meals is not for everyone, but I’m a huge fan. The second I’m not organised is the second all my good intentions disappear and I’m having ice-cream for entrée (even though entrée was never on the cards!). What I like about planning meals is that it gives me a visual of what foods I’ll be consuming that week. It allows me to map out the right portions of fruit, vegetables, meat and grains. I also really like having different themes to take some of the the thought out of planning – e.g. stir-fry night, seafood night, vegetarian night etc. If I don’t plan meals, I buy the same foods every week and have the same meals – it’s this boredom that has me reaching for treats like chocolate and wine after dinner.
Adopting one or all of these tips as your resolutions for 2017 will make you feel like you’re actually doing something to achieve your broader goal of losing weight. Always remember that big change is the result of a number of small actions. These tips are about getting you to consciously carry out small and simple actions every week that will give you more control and more motivation to reach for the healthier version of you that you have identified you want to become.