A New You for 2022
January is famous for New Year’s resolutions. There’s something so motivating about pressing the ‘reset’ button and starting a new year with a fresh set of goals – a brand-new year for a brand-new you. And this year that feeling’s likely to be stronger than ever, as we emerge from the worst of the pandemic.
For many of us, becoming slimmer, fitter and healthier will be at the top of the list of our New Year’s resolutions for 2022. Spending so much time indoors, often coupled with more indulgent food choices and disrupted routines, saw many healthy habits fall by the wayside during the pandemic – and then Christmas rounded it off! And let’s not forget, getting into great shape is the very best thing that we can do for our long-term health.
If you’re ready to make 2022 the year that you take control, lose weight, get fitter and gain confidence, read on. Here are seven secrets of success – all backed up by the latest research into weight loss and behaviour change, from local weight loss expert Penny Boxall from Slimming World.
1 Don’t go hungry
To lose weight you have to eat less, right? Well, no! What you’re eating is much more important than how much. Swapping high calorie, unsatisfying foods (think chocolate, alcohol, pastries) for foods that are lower in calories and more bulky, so they fill you up for longer, is key to losing weight in a way that’s easy to live with. Research shows that by basing your diet on low energy dense foods, like fruit and veg, and foods that are most filling – or satiating – like lean meat, fish, eggs, pasta and potatoes, you can actually eat a larger amount of food and feel more satisfied while losing weight.
"We might think we need to be overly strict with ourselves when we’re losing weight – counting and measuring all our food and reducing portion sizes right down – but this type of restrictive approach ultimately leaves us feeling more hungry and deprived," says Dr Jacquie Lavin, Slimming World’s Head of Research.
Some quick and easy changes include using less fat when you cook, so you boil or dry fry instead of frying in oil, swapping full fat dairy products for low fat or fat free, ditching sugary drinks in favour of low calorie drinks and adding more fruit and veg to your daily meals.
‘My members find that by making simple changes to their shopping and cooking, which we talk about in our group every week, they lose weight without feeling hungry,’ says Slimming World Consultant Penny
2 It's OK to walk before you run!
If it’s your goal to get fitter, remember you don’t have to become a professional athlete to get active - just making a commitment to moving more all adds up. Many people make the mistake of joining a gym, overdoing it in week one and quickly giving up, thinking ‘exercise isn’t for me’. Finding an enjoyable, achievable, and sustainable way of building new active habits into your routine is key – anything that gets you moving more, from heavy gardening or vigorous housework to brisk walking, dancing, cycling, or playing frisbee in the park, counts. What’s most important is making it a regular habit – as natural to your day as brushing your teeth. Penny says: ‘In our local group we encourage each other to get more active, and my member Emma who has been at Target for 5 years now built activity into her life by taking small steps.
Emma says ‘I love being active now so collecting my body magic awards have been great boost to my confidence and being active is now embedded into my life. I felt a great sense of pride and achievement when I received my Platinum body magic award.
‘Losing 3 stone has enabled me to join a group called Miles for Medals and get fit whether it be walking or running - there would have been no way I could have run with an extra 3 stone on me.
Penny says ‘We’ve got a new set of 50 online videos for members so they can easily start to get active at home.’
3 Be kind to yourself
We all start January with great intentions, but it’s all too easy to go off track. It’s what you do next that matters most – and the most important thing is not to beat yourself up about it. A Slimming World survey of 1,700 slimmers showed that when they did have a slip up, being self critical was more likely to lead to comfort eating and giving up completely, whereas when they were kinder to be kind to themselves (imagine how you’d talk to a friend who’s had a setback), they more quickly got back to healthy eating, lost weight and they kept it off. So, cut yourself some slack!
4 Set a goal
It’s hard to achieve a goal if you don’t set it out clearly in the first place! And when you’re thinking about your dream weight, don’t be afraid to be ambitious. Research from Slimming World shows that slimmers who set ambitious targets lose twice as much weight as those who try to be ‘realistic’. Shoot for the moon – you never know where you might land! Penny says ‘As well as setting an overall weight loss target, all my members set a mini goal every week – whether it’s to lose weight, to get more active, to plan ahead or to try something new – making that commitment to a goal definitely helps them achieve more.’
5 Don’t opt for a quick fix
It’s no secret that many people find losing weight far easier than keeping it off long-term. To avoid becoming trapped in a yo-yo diet cycle, it’s important to approach weight loss as a permanent change to your lifestyle – and focus on developing new healthy habits that are sustainable for life, as well as getting support to make those changes. Dr Jacquie Lavin, Slimming World’s Head of Research, says: ‘A group support approach is tried and tested - research shows that the more groups Slimming World members attend, the more successful they are. Based on their weight-loss over a year, the top 10,000 slimmers who attended their weekly weight-loss group regularly lost 30% of their body weight – around 5st each. In our groups, members are equipped with all the tools they need to stay slim for life, so that they can be confident that the changes they’re making are sustainable forever.’
6 Strike a balance
An all-or-nothing approach is rarely effective when it comes to weight loss. Restricting yourself when it comes to food and drink might work in the short-term, but pretty soon you’ll be fed up, hungry and giving up completely. A little bit of what you fancy is key! That might be a Saturday night glass of wine or a bit of chocolate in the evenings. Whatever it is for you, having a flexible approach and a balanced mindset is much more likely to deliver long-term success.
7 You don’t have to go it alone
The principles of losing weight are quite simple, yet if it was that easy – we’d all be doing it! Studies show that embarking on your weight loss journey alongside other slimmers brings more success than going it alone – sharing the ups and down, having cheerleaders who are on your side, and sharing advice and tips.
Emma says ‘Staying to group has made it so much easier for me as you can listen and discuss ideas. I really believe this is where the magic happens. You cannot fail if you plan, planning has been the key to me losing 3 stone. You do not have to put your life on hold I have been on holiday, been out for meals and food optimised to get the results. I love all the food, there is so much choice, and it is family friendly too. When I hit my target in December 2015 it felt so good. Shopping was a whole new experience as I felt confident to try new styles and buying sports gear to start keeping fit.
Recent research revealed that people who are supported to lose weight in a group increase their mental toughness – developing more control, embracing challenges and growing in confidence -- more than those who choose to lose weight on their own - and go on to lose more weight than those who don’t have the support of a Slimming World group. Dr Jacquie Lavin says:
“The power of the group and the peer support members give one another is what sets Slimming World apart. Our members become part of a community, something special, which helps them to realise that they are not alone in the challenges they face. That’s combined with our personalised approach – called IMAGE Therapy – which helps every member discover more about themselves as a slimmer, identify their own pitfalls and danger zones, and create practical plans to overcome them.”
Penny runs groups all day in Newquay on a Tuesday and on a Thursday evening in Quintrell Downs. Contact Penny on 07872 955779 for more information, or to find out more about Slimming World and how to join, visit slimmingworld.co.uk, or call 0344 897 8000.