January 4, 2024
Global News
Elizabeth Zogalis

Small steps to creating new habits could be the key to keeping your New Year’s resolution.

Just a few days into 2024, many people have their new resolutions weighing heavy on their minds and it’s no surprise that getting into shape is a popular goal. Fitness and nutrition experts, however, say it’s important to think about your long-term health rather than just losing weight.

According to multiple experts, the number one mistake people make is setting unrealistic goals and then feeling bad for failing.

“They enter a gym for the first time in 20 years and then they (want to) go six times a week, two hours per session,” said Gabriel Hardy, general director of the Fitness Industry Council of Canada.

Hardy who is also a kinesiologist adds it’s just not realistic.

“They cut everything. They don’t eat cake anymore, they don’t eat dessert, they don’t drink wine.”

Dr. Henry Mahncke, a neuroscientist and CEO of Brain HQ,  agreed.

“I think the biggest issue is we treat it like a moral issue. You’re a good person if you stick to it and you’re a bad person if you fail and we should think about it like a learning issue,” he said.

Experts on all sides emphasize the importance of speaking with a trainer before getting started. The one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work.

“If you come in very high strung and high stress maybe a hard workout isn’t what you need right away. Maybe you need to meet with one of our mindfulness professionals and go over that first,” said U.N.I fitness owner and trainer Chris Ince.

The same goes for nutrition.

“Whenever possible, getting tailored advice is extremely important,” said registered dietician Vanessa Perrone. “Especially with the overwhelming amount of information that we have that is not meant to be individualized.”

Science also proves that those who are ready to make being healthy a lifestyle rather than just trying to lose weight are the ones who succeed.

“The majority of the work, and where people struggle the most is really behind the scenes,” Perrone added.  “The consistency with the groceries, the consistency with the planning and getting the food on the plate is an essential part of being healthy,” she added.

Perrone who is also the author of  Everyday Mediterranean stressed the importance of where your food is coming from 80 per cent of the time.

“Is it mainly fresh foods or processed foods?” Asked Perrone. “It doesn’t have to be 100 per cent of the time, mainly 80 per cent.”

Whether it’s cooking more meals at home or setting realistic fitness goals it’s important to celebrate small wins.

“That’s how the brain learns and rewires itself and that’s how we can build new habits that can actually become lifelong habits,” said Dr. Mahncke.

It’s the same concept for fitness goals, when just beginning. “Go for a minimum of three times a week and just go exercising,” said Hardy. “Don’t worry about changing anything else in your life just start moving.”

Both the fitness and nutrition industry agreed, the more the public shifts their focus from aesthetics to health the more successful they’ll be.