Before I dive into some tips to help you navigate your health journey in January, here are some startling facts. Read to the end, consider the tips for success, and let’s change the overall success rate to a higher number!
New Year’s Resolution Facts1, 2 :
- 83% of us never even set goals, yet
- People with goals are 10x more likely to achieve them
- Of the 17% who set goals, most set unrealistic goals or don’t have a plan on how to achieve them (which is why I teach my clients how to set small, manageable, realistic goals that are what’s called Optimal Goals… not too easy, not too difficult… because that matters!)
- Only 55% of the 17% mentioned above keep their pledge after one month; we’re down to 43% after three months (the math is getting harder, isn’t it!? Just know the goal-setting group is getting smaller and smaller.) In fact…
- Only 8-9% of those who set goals accomplish them by year-end. Here’s how you can help bring that to 10% or higher…
3 of the keys to their success?
While this isn’t a complete list, here are the major ways they succeed: Writing goals down on paper; sharing them with someone who holds you accountable; chunk them into smaller pieces.
Space clearing your entire house is a daunting task, unless you take it room-by-room. Losing 100 pounds is impossible until you focus on losing just 20-30 pounds every 90 days. Then, focus on what you can do week-by-week, so it’s manageable and tangible… enlist a friend or hire a coach to help you through the blindspots and inspire you.
If you’re heading into the new year with a/the goal of becoming healthier, keep reading. We’re going to look at important foundations around nutrition. These are the soil that creates our healthy garden. Not understanding these leaves you as the Wilted Sprout… feeling like you’ll journey through nutrition forever, never achieving (let alone MAINTAINING) your ideal weight.
Because yes, weight IS an indicator of health, regardless of the Tik Toks, memes, and the new movement of “woke nutrition coaches.” Excess weight creates strain on your organs, and makes movement difficult, if not nearly impossible.
Most of what I call Wilted Sprouts make the mistake of thinking their health and weight aren’t connected, OR that there’s nothing more they can do, because they’ve tried it all. BUT that leads to a life of unfulfilled dreams, unnecessary time and money wasted on Dr.’s, insurance mumbo jumbo, blood work, pharmaceuticals, and worse? Feeling THEY have failed.
This couldn’t be further from the truth—you didn’t fail. I want you to get down, boogey, and get back up again. I want you to garden ‘til the day you die, if that’s what you want. I want you to inspire your children, grandchildren, and friends… to be the one who ages with dignity and grace. Whatever your dream, I want that for you.
No, it’s not all about weight loss, nor is that my main focus in coaching, unless it’s your goal. But your dream are absolutely tied to your ability to make them happen. Your level of health is a key determinant in achieving what you want.
If you’re really serious about this year being THE YEAR you make progress on your dreams and need a starting point for your health, you need to make one of two choices right now…
- Keep doing what you’re doing and remain what I call a Wilted Sprout (20+ pounds overweight, confused about where to start, 3+ medications, fear about declining health for 6 months or more, high blood pressure, blood sugar over 120 or not even tracked, aches and pains that significantly limit mobility), or
- Keep reading and discover tools about nutrition that matter and are science-based. I’m sure you’ve noticed the footnotes, so you have full transparency on where my facts come from… if you EVER need help with deciphering the research I share, I’m here to help.
First, a major caveat.
I do not require clients to become plant-based. Yes, I am a plant-based lifestyle coach and am biased towards eating and drinking plants. If you are interested in becoming plant-based or are plant-based, need nutritional guidance or cooking lessons, I’ve got you covered! You’ll need information on how to get enough calories, fat, protein, and carbs for your age and health goals. For optimal health, we need to adjust our meals when we’re plant-based.
Plants are health-promoting, nutrient-dense, and low in calories… they’re a pillar to your success. So yes, I will push you to eat more vegetables and whole foods (at your own pace), but I won’t tell you I need you to eat plant-based. I’m here to help you achieve YOUR health goals, not mine.
Second, when I said you don’t have to give up fries or pizza to lose weight, that’s partly misleading.
I apologize if I left you a bit confused. If you only read the title, you may think I gave you a permission slip to eat “regular” pizza, fries, mashed potatoes, and still lose weight. Apparently, there’s a trend going around saying something similar, so I’m setting the record straight. Nutrition is being sorely twisted these days to appeal to the masses…
You DO have to give up habitual “regular” pizza, fries, mashed potatoes, doughnuts, alcohol, etc., and opt for less processed options. If you make the pizza and fries yourself, in a healthier, lower fat, low oil way, then have them possibly once a week. Enjoy them in moderation and with other whole foods.
But you can’t lose weight and get healthier by regularly eating potatoes fried in oil; pizza loaded with dairy, white flour, meats, and oils; nor mashed potatoes with cream and butter. As my teacher said, “People will need to say no to things they want, to do things they would rather not bother doing, and change their lifestyle overall if they want to see results. In order to achieve weight loss, you do need to change what you eat. You need more veggies, more wholefood carbohydrates, more lean proteins.”
Third, calorie counting is unnecessary, but is necessary.
See, you DO need to adjust your caloric intake for your age, height, weight, and goal. You will need to create a meal plan to get the correct amount of fat, protein, and carbohydrates in each meal. Maybe you’ll try intermittent fasting, maybe not. You don’t need to obsess over calorie-counting, as that can create eating disorders.
But the adage still stands: calories in versus calories out. People love to complicate this and swear it must be harder because of x, y, z reason. But as Occam’s razor3 states, the simplest of two competing theories is preferable.
Keep it simple… and so simple we can’t believe it’s possibly true. So here it is… excess calories = surplus weight; calorie deficit = weight loss. Figure out your caloric needs, make a generalized meal plan, and stick to it, journalling for accuracy at first. I have a complicated formula to help you with this, or I can do it for you, if you want.
Most importantly, your caloric needs shift with your weight, so please calculate accordingly. When you lose weight, you have less tissue. Less tissue requires less calories, so… you may not need 1800 calories (I was surprised to learn this, and it’s no wonder I’ve often regained weight—I kept eating the same calories I ate when I weighed more! This isn’t something you hear about much, right!?).
Some final tips CRUCIAL to health and/or weight loss:
- Sleep must be a priority and non-negotiable. This is the first chapter in my Transformation 101 course and it’s imperative you get enough sleep each night. It affects your ability to make healthy decisions, exercise without injury, and keeps hunger/satiety/fullness hormones in check. Poor decisions = falling off the wagon. It’s not your fault, but you are responsible for setting up a routine sleep schedule.
- Carbs are not evil… low-carb, high-fat DIEts are dangerous. OK, those crash diets serve a purpose in the fitness industry or for an event you want to attend in a month. But long-term? Still unsustainable and no good. There’s so much research against it, it’s surprising this low-carb DIEt model still exists. Especially with a lack of compliance—how many people can sustain the strict requirements long-term?
- Soy is healthy and doesn’t give men “man boobs.” In fact, a recent meta-analysis4 showed it may be preventative for prostate cancer (sadly, this is often over-diagnosed, as is melanoma, but that’s a topic for another day). A meta-analysis is a study of a whole bunch of other studies… think back to school and having to write a paper that cited a bunch of other papers. Similar concept.
- Resume eating whole foods like grains, soy, beans, all vegetables and fruits you love. Moderation is key, despite what you’re being told—and this includes fats. Excess fat WILL make you sick and fat—there’s plenty of anecdotal and legitimate research on folks reversing pre- and Type II diabetes by limiting their fat, moving just a little, limiting dairy, and losing body fat… NOT by cutting carbs and fruit that we love and have eaten for 14k years.
- Be committed and responsible. Mastering your health is a journey and won’t happen in 30 days or fewer. I don’t have a “fast food” plan that guarantees you a cure. If anyone else makes that claim, they’re lying to sell you something. Health conditions don’t happen overnight, nor does healing.
Commit to meal planning and prep, or hire a chef who can do it for you (hint: I’ve prepared meals for private clients and made grab-n-go foods for coffee shops, natural markets, and catered events since 2009. I created the LG Plate meal formula back in 2018, to make portion control and calorie counting easier.)
If you want long-term health, it’s a lifestyle and Identity change, not just a short-term DIEt or exercise program. Together, we can turn those short-term programs into a sustainable lifestyle plan for you…
My friend, I want you to succeed this year. I want you to have everything you imagine. Until next month’s newsletter, reply to this with questions or comments. Have a fantastic and deliciously safe New Year!
Duignan, Brian. “Occam’s razor”. Encyclopedia Britannica, 1 Dec. 2022, https://www.britannica.com/topic/Occams-razor. Accessed 27 December 2022.