Too much unnecessary stress is heaped on January as the start point for a new you. Nutritionist Martina Gallivan bursts some myths attitudes to weight, health and fitness.

A New Year. And a new you, with a new plan. I don’t know about you, but I get weary of hearing about the latest diet, weight loss plan and fitness regime every single time January comes around.

And every January I make a concerted effort not to read the same articles relating to diets, or articles about losing weight. I avoid watching TV programmes relating to weight. And I do all of this, oddly enough, even though I’m in the business of weight loss.

“January is as good a time as any to lose weight, but weight loss shouldn’t be tied to one month only”

Therefore, if I’m feeling this way whilst working within this industry, what must people who are trying to go about their normal daily routine be thinking? What impact and extra pressures are they feeling to conform?

New Year’s resolutions are over-hyped

The unnecessary stress that’s heaped on people to lose weight in the month of January is relentless. Yet why is it always January? New resolutions? Christmas excesses? Guilt? There appears to be the strange phenomenon of “Group Think” when January rears its head. Everyone is blindly drawn in by the hype and want to be part of what everyone else is doing.  

To be at a healthy weight is an extremely important issue these days with obesity and weight related illnesses such as Hypertension, High Cholesterol, Type 2 diabetes and Heart Disease on the increase. Therefore, it is far too important for you to be taken in by the latest fad, television commercial or promise of a completely New You. 

We’re told to purchase weight aid supplements and to consume high protein shakes and bars. Yet while there’s nothing fundamentally damaging in choosing that particular route I’d like to share the pit-falls of being seduced into believing that all of this is going to truly make a lifelong difference to you. In the end, it probably will not.

Bursting some myths

  • Myth number one: You don’t need to purchase protein supplements to lose weight. We constructed our weight loss programme over 10 years ago purely putting together a healthy eating pattern as well as educating clients into changing their behaviours towards the foods that they eat, and how they are living their lives. As a result, we have had multiple success stories purely using these methods alone. So, don’t be cajoled into thinking you have to stock up on dietary props in order for you to be successful. 
  • Myth number two: January is as good a time as any to lose weight, but weight loss shouldn’t be tied to one month only. Besides, the motive definitely shouldn’t be to lose weight for a single event. There are so many health issues these days that your priority for losing weight really should be addressing your own needs from a health perspective and not to mimic the latest style icon.
  • Myth number three: There is no magical or mystical solution to losing weight. You really do have to put in the work in order to obtain effective results. However, I would say that weight loss can be as difficult or as easy as you want it to be. So, if you embark on any weight loss program expecting a rapid outcome, you’re bound to be disappointed.
  • Myth number four: No amount of exercise is going to help you to lose a vast amount of weight. However, if you combine both exercise along with amending your dietary intake, this is where you’ll most likely achieve success. It is 80% dietary intake and 20% exercise to achieve effective results.
  • You have to be agreeable to changing your behaviours as well as amending your dietary intake for ultimate success. Plus, your endeavours really cannot be a once off approach. Think in terms of a lifestyle overhaul and be prepared to invest in yourself physically and psychologically.

The human form is a complex machine which must be nurtured and taken care of. I always use the analogy of a car. You wouldn’t dream of putting poor quality fuel into your engine and yet we seem to think it’s perfectly okay to consume foods which have no nutritional value. All the time ignoring the potential health implications.

We are passionate about people reaching their true potential, assuming weight loss is part of what they wish to successfully achieve, and also help people to reduce and potentially eliminate weight related illnesses. Our objective is to educate people on how to avoid these illnesses, reduce medication and to extend life longevity through simple yet effective lifestyle changes.

Therefore, don’t feel forced into having to follow a specific trend just because it happens to be popular for this time of year. Keep an open mind knowing that ultimately you are in control of your personal choices.

Martina Gallivan is a nutritionist and director of RK Cardiology Healthy Living Ltd. If you are interested in learning more about health and lifestyle medicine for you or your family contact her at martina@roseville.ie or follow @drrobertkelly

Published: 22 January

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