January Diet Tips: Pandemic Traps To Avoid

  • Did you make one of these three classic resolutions?
  • Why January diet tips fail
  • Don’t make this pandemic weight loss mistake

So did you make any New Year’s resolutions?

And were they one of the BIG THREE?

According to a YouGov poll from this time last year, the top three New Year’s resolutions were:

  • Exercise more – 47%
  • Lose weight – 44%
  • Improve diet – 41%

To be honest, I do keep track of these and it is pretty much the same every year.

These are always the top three goals people have and they’re always higher than things like saving money, doing up the house, getting a better job or starting a new hobby.

So you might know a LOT of people who are doing ‘dry January’ or they’re on diets or they’ve joined a gym.

And I can imagine that they like to tell you all about it, too!

But I completely understand why people like to keep banging on about their healthy plans for January. Telling everyone about it is sometimes a way of forcing yourself to keep going.

Because it’s HARD.

The first few days, fine, the second week, tougher… but it soon begins to drag… your willpower gets sapped… old habits creep in… the usual cravings and weaknesses.

As I’ve pointed out before, there’s no point in just making a resolution unless you plan out how you’re going to achieve the goal.

You can’t make your body lose a stone just by hoping for it to happen. It requires a series of progressive practical steps, not only to lose the weight, but to then keep it off.

Otherwise, you might get into a diet or fitness regime for a few weeks but as your initial enthusiasm wears off, your resolve will start to falter.

You’ll feel like it’s too big a mountain to climb… that other things are more important… and you’ll forget all the reasons you decided to put yourself through it in the first place.

So I recommend that you think about your big health goal for this year and make a plan.

Gather the info and tools you need. Schedule when and where you’re going to carry out all the actions necessary. Then set smaller goals that will help you reach the ultimate outcome.

And if you ARE thinking of dieting this month, be careful…

Why it’s bad to starve yourself in January

As I’ve said before, there’s never a good time to starve yourself in order to shed some pounds. It’s simply not a sustainable way to lose weight.

If you can’t keep it up forever, then you will pile the weight back on – except your body will be in emergency mode after the diet and store MORE fat.

But January makes it worse…

However that doesn’t stop people offering you January diet tips at every turn.

And that really isn’t helpful.

We’re in the thick of winter. A cold dark month with no festivities to look forward to and a raging pandemic, with all the frustrating restrictions and worrying news.

Really, we should be nourishing our bodies with delicious wholesome food, enjoying a glass of wine and the occasional sweet treat if that’s what we’re inclined to do.

So my recommendation is not to think of a weight loss diet…

Instead, try a ‘nutritionally balanced’ diet – one that’s packed with the necessary proteins, fats and slow-release carbs. This way you’ll be feeding your body with all the nutrients it needs to maintain a strong immune system during a global pandemic.

For instance, if you boost the quantity of leafy greens and probiotics you eat, you’ll encourage a more diverse range of bacteria in your stomach. This actually helps your body fight fat, as well as strengthening your body’s natural defences.

The side-effect of this nutritional diet will be that you lose weight – but gradually and sustainably.

Because really, when it comes to dieting, you should think of it as a 6-12 month process at the very least – and actually I recommend you consider a two year time-span.

I know that sounds like a lot but according to many weight loss experts, if you can control your weight for two years, you will be highly likely to stay at that new weight in the long run.

So even if you hit your target by the summer or autumn this year, you should continue healthy eating for another year afterwards, rather than switching back to your old ways.

To give you a bit of my own insight on this…

How I regained control over my eating

If you remember, last year I told you about a diet I went on after the second lockdown.

Despite writing a newsletter almost EVERY DAY about nutrition and good health, I’d totally lost the plot in my private life.

Boredom and stress had driven me to the old habits of eating I used to have before The Good Life Letter, when I was a very hefty bloke.

This time round it took me nine months to lose one and a half stone and get back to where I was before this horrible pandemic started.

So it was almost the entirety of 2021 that I was careful with food, stripping out bread, desserts, crisps, biscuits, cakes and pasta – all the addictive things I was binge-eating.

But it was fine because I was still eating things I enjoyed – from eggs and steak, to sweet potato curries, seared mackerel and tonnes of fresh fruit and yoghurt.

It never really felt like I was going hungry and in fact I began to enjoy food more than ever.

Because I was no longer feasting on boring breadstuffs… I was no longer craving food because of massive blood sugar crashes… I was no longer eating so much when I was hungry that I felt bloated and ashamed.

Most of all, I no longer felt out of control.

What’s more, while I have returned to eating some bread, pasta and other processed carbs in recent months, I believe I’ve now got my diet in balance again.

My aim is to get through 2022 without succumbing to my life-long weaknesses and hopefully maintain my weight.

So I hope this encourages you to try a similar approach this year, and have the confidence to ignore the wall of January diet tips heading your way.

Play the long game, rather than go for the quick fix – and always make a plan.