The magical formula to keep your weight loss resolution!

by  Candy Duval, Nutrition coach. She designs customised nutrition plans to help her clients lose weight healthily and achieve a fulfilling lifestyle. S  / Posted on

After a month of celebrations and overindulgence, you may not feel at your best and may have made weight loss your 2023 resolution. You will never make your resolution with a frustrating diet. Forget restrictive diets. All of them backfire, because eating almost nothing and cutting back on your favourite foods is unsustainable and unhealthy. Here are five tips to help you actually lose weight healthily, and not to make the same resolution again in 2024.

TIP 1. You need a super strong motivator

“I want to lose weight”, “I want to fit my clothes”, “I want to be healthier” are all valid statements, but they are way too general.

The very first thing you need to do is to make your resolution meaningful.

Ask yourself five questions:

WHY is it that important for me?

Why is it my absolute priority for 2023?

What could I do if I lost weight that I can’t do today?

What if I don’t lose it this year?

Why didn’t it work last year and what can I change to make it work now?

If you can answer those five questions with accuracy and great detail, your chances of not falling off the wagon after a few weeks are higher.

Here are five examples of meaningful weight loss resolutions:

  • Be able to play with my kids without feeling breathless
  • Get my confidence back after a break up or a redundancy
  • Look at my best on my wedding day
  • Increase my chances of pregnancy
  • Reverse Type 2 diabetes

TIP 2. Target progress over perfection

Because a new year is often synonymous with a fresh start, we feel excited, strong mentally, full of energy, confident that we can take up ambitious health challenges successfully (e.g., losing 10kg, quit drinking, cut down on sugar, etc.). Did you know that 90 percent of New Year’s resolutions fail by the end of January? Don’t worry, I have you covered.

Approach your journey with a new perspective

Forget “new year, new me”; it is way too much unnecessary pressure. You do NOT have to be perfect every single day over 365 days. You do not have to start your weight loss journey in January. You can start a bit later, when you feel ready. And you are always allowed to press the pause button when needed. And if you enjoy a very active social life, or if you love baking, it’s not necessary to completely give up on the activities that you love. Adjust, moderate, adapt but do not try to be someone you are not.

Don’t fear the setbacks

They inevitably happen and are part of the journey. Just do your best, because the all-or-nothing mindset won’t take you anywhere but to failure and low self-esteem. Instead, give room to days where your motivation may be a bit weaker or challenged. A setback does not mean you failed in your resolution. Be kind to yourself, and get back on track the next day, not in a week. This is where you need a meaningful resolution!

TIP 3. Set SMART goals

Setting SMART goals gives you a plan, it helps you keep on track, keeps your motivation high, and builds confidence moving forward. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. Whatever you set as a goal, make sure that:

  • it fits your time schedule
  • it’s something you are happy to do
  • it’s broken down into small manageable objectives

For the record, “I want to drop 10kg by the end of February” is not a SMART goal!

Example 1: You are a wine lover, and you drink wine quite often in the week. If your resolution is “I will quit drinking”, you might have a hard time and may eventually fail after a few weeks. Instead, aim to drink 14 units of alcohol per week maximum during the first quarter of the year (as per NHS guidelines) and find non-alcoholic drink alternatives that you enjoy. Then aim for 12 units a week in the second quarter, 10 in the third quarter, etc. You may find this gradual approach more successful. And maybe, deep inside, you don’t really want to go teetotal (perfection) because you do love very good wine, but you actually may want to drink less (improvement)?

Example 2: “I am going to exercise more this year” is not a SMART goal. A SMART goal is, “Every Monday and Friday, after work, I am joining the spin class at 6pm”.

TIP 4. Build new habits one step at a time

Losing weight means changing your eating habits and lifestyle routine. And it’s super important because routine ALWAYS beats willpower and supports motivation. You don’t want to feel overwhelmed by trying to change everything in one go. Start with two to three healthier habits you find easy to maintain, then when they become something you do effortlessly, like second nature, introduce a couple of other new habits, and so on.

“Three times a week, I am going to prep a lunch box, instead of buying a sandwich and a cookie.” “I am having a balanced savoury breakfast four times a week, instead of cereal.” “Every Sunday, I am going to take 30 minutes to meal plan for the next week.” Whatever new habit you commit to, ask yourself, “is it something I am happy to do for the next five years?” If the answer is no, re-evaluate. Because let me tell you something, when you start a weight loss journey, it never ends! Once you have lost the weight, you must maintain it.

TIP 5. Don’t focus on weight loss only

Weight loss is so much more than calories in and out. Weight loss comes with a healthier, happier life and improved wellbeing. When you improve your sleep, manage your stress, drink less alcohol and caffeine, eat less ultra-processed foods and junk food, have a break from social media, spend more time with people you love, drink more water, practice self-care, exercise regularly, etc., you have better chances to achieve your weight loss goals because you feel great, energetic, and positive, which increases your motivation and focus.

Conclusion Sticking to your weight loss resolution is far from impossible. Play the long game, and you may not make the same resolution again next year. Candy Duval /

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