By now, many of us have already set our New Year's weight loss goals and are figuring out ways to achieve these targets for a healthier 2014. As we enter in to the final week of January, those self-made promises can often wane as old patterns start to re-appear. It's essential that you stay motivated and don't let these old habits take over.
Here's the first guest post of 2014 from health guru, Dannii Martin, offering snippets of her own weight loss philosophy as well as handy healthy living ideas to help you keep sight of your New Year's resolution.
Start small - It can be easy to want to make lots of changes at once, but you will find yourself overwhelmed very quickly. Make one of two small changes (like the ones listed below) at a time and you are more likely to stick to them.
Drink more water - Keeping hydrated is important for healthy skin, to keep your energy levels up and it will also help you from overeating. Sometimes when you think you are hungry, you are actually just thirsty. Water will also help you to flush those toxins out, so there is no need to go on a restrictive detox.
Check the ingredients - If you are serious about getting healthier this year, then look at the foods you are buying. Making everything from scratch is not always going to be an option, but if you are buying something readymade, try to make sure it has as few ingredients as possible and make sure they are ingredients that you actually know, and not a scary chemical.
Fit a workout in where you can - You might have plans to go to the gym 5 days a week, but that might not be realistic, especially if you are just starting out. Make an effort to fit in small workouts throughout the day. Waiting for the kettle to boil? Do some squats! Every time you go to the toilet, do some push-ups after you finish. Throughout the week, it will all add up.
Be realistic - If you have never run before, it is not the best idea to set yourself a goal of completing a marathon in under 3 hours this year. I am not saying it is impossible, but setting yourself more realistic goals like running a 5km will help you to stay on track.
Add more fruit and vegetables to your diet - Sure, to some they might not be the most exciting foods in the world to eat, but they really do make a huge difference to your health. Ease yourself in to it by having a smoothie for breakfast or hiding some vegetables in to a pasta dish.
Look at the reasons why you are unhealthy - You can make changes and set yourself goals, but if you don't assess the reasons why you always ate junk food or skipped workouts, then it will be easy to go back to your old habits. Was it emotional eating? Lack of information? Money? Deal with the causes, as well as making the changes.
Keep a motivation board - This is something that really kept me on track throughout my 100lb loss. I had a pin board with motivational photos, quotes and goals on it and whenever I was having a tough day, I would look at it and it would remind me why I was doing this.
Portion Control - Sometimes we think we are eating the right foods in the right amounts, but it is only when we write down what we are eating and the portion size that we realise it is too much. I found tracking my food through MyFitnessPal really helpful.
Plan and prep your meals - Every Sunday I do some food prep like roasting a whole chicken and cutting it all up, making a big bowl of salad, making smoothie bags for breakfast, making and portioning out snacks and then I plan my meals for the week around that. It means that I have quick and healthy meals all throughout the week.
Find a workout you love - You might love the idea of being a runner, but if you can't stand running, then don't force yourself to do it. There are plenty of workouts out there so everyone can find one that they enjoy, or at least hate the least. I really enjoy dancing, as it doesn't feel like a workout.
Find a workout buddy - Having someone to workout with makes the whole process much more fun. You can either ask a friend to join you at the gym, go for daily walks, or join a running/tennis club. There are loads of workout buddy finders on the Internet.
Don't compare yourself to others - Whilst you can use others as inspiration based on what they have achieved, never compare yourself to them or feel bad about yourself. We all have our own abilities and we will all get to our goals in our own time.
Give yourself a break - You are not going to be 100% perfect all the time, and you shouldn't aim to be either. It is important to take a day off from the gym and to enjoy some indulgences every now and then. If you mess up, it doesn't mean you have failed. Just pick yourself up and start again.
By following Dannii's tips above, you should be able to keep motivated and achieve those goals you set yourself at the start of the year. If you have any other tips that have helped you stay focused, please share them by using the comment box below. From all the HealthExpress team, we wish you good luck on achieving your health goals for 2014.
HealthExpress is UK's leading online clinic providing treatments for various common lifestyle conditions, including diabetes, asthma and obesity as well as a wide range of contraceptives.
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