A New Year has begun and many people will be adopting the ‘new year, new me’ philosophy.
Unfortunately, as you may remember from previous years, up to 80% of our New Year resolutions will have failed by the second weekend of February, according to U.S News.
Many of us look to an external source to dictate our health behaviour, for example, trying to mimic the latest celeb diet trend, buying a detox tea or subscribing to a gruelling workout schedule because that guy from accounts recommended it and he is RIPPED.
The problem with this is that research tells us that the biggest predictor of health behaviour change is your belief in your own ability to change your behaviour (self-regulation). Placing your hopes for success on an external influence is a strong predictor of failure.
The next biggest predictor of success or failure is self-efficacy or the belief that you are capable of achieving sustainable change…so guess what will happen to the ‘new you’ when you find that the ‘eat/train like me to look like me’ promise is unsustainable for your life?
We know from robust research that around a third of dieters regain more weight than they lose so it is really important that your 2019 goals focus you on your own power to change your lifestyle and don’t set you up for failure.
Here’s the truth – it may be a new year but you are the same you. It may be 2019 but you still get stressed, you are still tired and you are still rushing to fulfil your commitments. Add in a strict diet plan that stops you popping into a coffee shop for a sandwich when you’re rushing or an exercise regimen that starts at 5am every day and you’re already in an unsuitable space.
In fact, stress and sleep deprivation are likely to be two of the biggest barriers to achieving sustainable success and here’s why:
Remember this, your body is pretty much still a caveman. When you are stressed, your body prepares you for fight or flight. This means that you are drawn to food that is easy to digest and releases its’ energy quickly so that you can fight the neighbouring tribe or run away from a predator. If you find it hard to resist the doughnuts, pizza and biscuits when you’re stressed, the chances are that’s one of the reasons why your bloodline is still in existence.
In the stressed state, your body is also more predisposed to store fat around your middle due to the hormonal effects of stress.
It is vital that we stop thinking that we have ‘failed’ because we succumb to a normal physiological reaction to stress. We must learn to manage the stress, and not beat ourselves up.