The New Year Bandwagon – Ditch the detox and kick-start healthy habits instead

It’s January. I had a hectic December and, much like everyone else, ate and drank waaaaay too much. On top of that, I am four months in to a significant change of lifestyle, i.e. student life, and playing a lot less sport as a result. Things were beginning to look grim. Not to mention wobbly. Something had to give, so here I am shamelessly piggybacking off Katie’s recent post about Dry January and friendly sabotage to talk about the January Bandwagon.

It’s still one of the most popular New Year’s resolution in the UK – “I will lose weight”, so people up and down the country part with wodges of cash to join gyms (a lot of Twitter angst was felt towards this by regular gym bunnies) and slimming clubs. Now, I’m not in dire straits by any stretch, so paying to have someone weigh me once a week and talk about ‘syns’ or ‘points’ wasn’t something I felt I needed to do, and as someone who already hits the gym of my own accord I felt fairly well equipped to take myself in hand, but having stood on the scale on New Year’s Eve morning to be faced with 69kgs it was clear I needed to do something. Now.

To clarify, I am a shade under 5’5’’ (~165cm) so at 69kgs I was officially in the overweight category of the BMI scale. Bummer. And to make matters worse, a lot of my size 10 clothes were becoming unflatteringly snug. So! Here I am, officially on the New Year bandwagon!January

I’m not advocating crash dieting or crazy detoxes by any stretch of the imagination, but
with the support of a couple of good friends (who are also feeling the student lifestyle creeping on to their waistlines) we have thrown ourselves into January with gusto – in the space of 3 weeks, I’ve lost 5 kgs and 4 cms (1.5’’) from my waistline.

My motivation is to start 2016 in good shape, feeling healthier and less sluggish and if I can lose the few extra pounds I need to in doing that more’s the better! So here’s what we’re up to:

  • Insanity – Every morning before lectures we get together to do a fairly intense 45mins of cardio under the guidance of the ever enthusiastic Shaun T. This 60 day programme is tough (clue is in the title) but I love a challenge and the sweat dripping off my nose by the end of each session tells me I must be doing something right.
  • Strength – I am a self-confessed gym hater. I’ll go, but I don’t enjoy it, I feel like I don’t know what I’m doing and tend to stick to cardio. To get over this ridiculousness, I’ve taken some advice from a PT to make sure that I know what I’m doing, when I should be doing it, and how to do it safely. Weight training twice a week is certainly starting to show results – I’ve never been able to anything about my arms before (I always liken them to the big ham joints you get at Christmas), but they’re finally beginning to slim down. This seemed counter-intuitive at first, but once you know what you’re doing, weights are definitely not all about bulking.
  • Dry January – Just that. No Alcohol for 31 days. My skin is thanking me for it.
  • Low Carb/Low Sugar – this is the killer for me. I am a white bread loving, chocolate gorging monster. This is my downfall and I know it. So to help me set up better habits for 2016 I am cutting right back on refined carbs and refined sugar. That’s not to say I won’t eat any carbs at all, because cutting out entire food groups is a bit cray-cray and frankly unsustainable, but white bread is off the table for now. This the main reason for any weight loss, I’m sure.
  • No detoxes – Detoxing is a myth. Woman cannot live on juice alone.
  • Don’t count calories – No dieting here, just eating less rubbish.
  • Don’t give in to friendly sabotage – one helpful way to get around this is to surround yourself with allies if you can
  • Don’t beat yourself up if you slip up occasionally! – No guilt, we’re only human, but remember to bear in mind your long-term goals before you tuck in to that pizza, it might stop you eating that extra slice.

Doing all of this at the same time might seem a little extreme, but for the sake of a month I’m really hoping it will instil in me some better long-term habits: Get up in the morning to get some exercise done; remembering white bread is not a dietary mainstay and having a few days off the booze every week isn’t difficult to do.

Here’s to a month of kick-starting!

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