Simple ways to set your New Year health regime on the right path

For many Australians, an over-indulgent Christmas season inherently paves the way for New Year’s resolutions focused on wellness and weight loss.

While we know it anecdotally, new research from Amcal has found that improved health and weight loss tops the list of New Year’s resolutions – with almost a quarter of us (24%) vowing to eat better and a third (33%) pledging to exercise more in 2017. However for many, sticking with these lifestyle changes for longer than a week remains the ultimate challenge.

According to the findings from Amcal, less than 10 percent (9%) of those who make resolutions are likely to succeed, which begs the question – what’s the secret to New Year health success?

Megan Alsford, Amcal Dietitian explains that there’s no quick fix when it comes to long-term weight loss and the key to seeing results is adopting a holistic approach to wellness.

“To drop the kilos and more importantly, keep them off into the long term requires real lifestyle change and taking a strategic approach to do so,” she said.

“Those who fail to plan, plan to fail is very much true for weight loss. If your New Year’s resolution is simply to ‘lose weight’ without goals, plans and support behind it, you will set yourself up to fail.

“Instead, I recommend setting simple and sustainable goals that are achievable. Don’t just focus on the kilos and instead consider all the components of optimal wellness including diet, lifestyle and emotional wellbeing.”

To help all Australians kick start their New Year’s Health regime, Megan and Amcal Pharmacy offer the following tips for conquering the challenges of New Year lifestyle change:

Set realistic goals: The New Year is not meant for a drastic lifestyle overhaul, rather an opportunity to create new and healthier habits. The key to creating long term lifestyle change is to start small, take one step at a time and celebrate your successes along the way – big or small. Making realistic resolutions offers a greater chance of sticking with them throughout the year.

Get moving: If regular exercise is not a part of your usual routine, simply start moving. Trying to go from zero to one hundred overnight adds significant pressure and is likely to result in injury. It’s all about incremental physical activity, so start by going for a brisk walk, three times a week and build up from there.

If you’re not starting from scratch, simply add an extra session (or two) to your weekly workouts or challenge yourself by lifting the intensity. Alternatively, mix up your routine with a new activity so that exercise doesn’t become a chore.

Prepare for setbacks: It’s important to avoid the all-or-nothing mindset, and to be aware that while sometimes your health goals may fall by the wayside – you can always make up for it the next day. After all, one bad day won’t undo all your hard work as long as you recover quickly. Be prepared that some days may be more difficult than others, knowing that good health is a long-term goal if you want it to be sustainable.

Don’t just focus on weight: While excess weight can increase your risk of certain chronic conditions, your weight isn’t the only indicator of good health. In fact, focusing too much on kilograms can be detrimental to your mental wellbeing. So instead of reaching for the scales, try focusing on your overall health and on achieving your goals such as exercising for a certain amount of time each week, eating more veg or getting enough sleep.

Seek support: And if you still feel overwhelmed, consider a dedicated health management program which is specifically designed to help you navigate all elements of the weight loss journey. Amcal and Guardian Pharmacies offer ‘Be Good To Yourself’, a health and wellbeing program focused on diet and lifestyle solutions for weight management. The program takes a holistic approach to weight loss, incorporating key areas of meal planning, exercise, goal-setting and educational support. The program is backed by science and offers the tools, education and support necessary for people to lose weight and improve their health.