How to Get Over Those January Blues

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Hello and welcome back to the blog for the second post of 2020, which is how to get over those January blues and some myth busting about some of the things you might hear in the media.

So, it’s that time of year again where everyone vows to be a better version of themselves and try and form a new year’s resolution that in theory they will stick to for the rest of the year. Survey’s have shown that over the last few years there has been a common theme of the top 3 new year’s resolutions and they are:

  1. Eat healthier
  2. Exercise more
  3. Lose weight

It is also well-known that gym memberships soar through the roof during January, trying to burn off that Christmas dinner. Something that is becoming more of a feature in recent years however is people switching to extreme diets in order to lose weight or be healthier without having any prior knowledge of what this is actually doing to their bodies straight after Christmas because this is what they hear in the media. For example, I was driving home from university one night last week and heard on the radio that everyone should be taking on vegan diets. Vegan diets do have their advantages and in fact recent research has shown that they are in fact having a positive impact on global warming. This is however as much as some people know before launching themselves into buying vegan sausages, vegan wraps and other vegan products.

Of course nobody should be discouraged from changing their habits and this shows that people do have the motivation to improve themselves. This does not shy away from the fact that if you switch from one extreme to the other you are not as likely to stick to it. This is because there are often side effects that come with some of the ‘fad’ diets if you like that we see today. This is because some of the vital foods that our body breaks down are not provided. If carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and proteins are not provided and there’s a cut in the calories that you are taking then you can expect many side effects such as:

  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Vomiting
  • Lack of energy
  • Poor immune system

This is why people are less likely to stick to extreme diets because it takes a minimum of 21 days to form a habit. If your getting headaches and being sick everyday for the first week although you will probably get through it, people are likely to give up because they are fed up with it.

The same can be said for the other two common resolutions which is exercising more. If you try and set a new habit and it is too extreme for your body to handle you are more likely to give up. This is why it is recommended that you complete smaller targets to form your new years resolution. You don’t need to turn your whole life upside down in order to fulfil your target for that year, but if you can take something away from that year that you can look back on and be proud of or you didn’t think you could do at the start of the year then great! This will not only benefit your mental health but also your physical health too.

In a sporting context targets can be made more achievable by creating what’s called SMART targets. These shouldn’t just be applied to athletes but can also be used in everyday life and make you that little bit more motivated to reach those goals. The SMART targets are broken down in to 5 main areas:

Specific – When writing down your target ensure that it is well defined and clear what the target is. Ask yourself who is involved in the goal? What do I want to achieve? When do I want to achieve this? Why do I want to achieve this?

Measurable – How are you going to measure the target you have committed to? How are you going to know if you are progressing? It is important that you can measure whether the goal is being achieved and if not, how it can be adjusted?

Achievable – The aim of a target is to push yourself to do more so although you should feel challenged your target should also be achievable. So ask yourself do I feel that this is within my capabilities? And do I have the resources to complete this?

Realistic – Keeping the target realistic is a must because if it isn’t then you’ll take your eye off the ball and not be motivated to achieve it. Ask yourself is the goal reachable given the time and resources?

Timely – Finally to make this target SMART you need to put a time frame on the goal, with no time frame you won’t be motivated to be successful in whatever it is you set out to accomplish. Complete a realistic deadline and this will give you the urgency you need.

SMART targets are particularly useful for setting targets around physical activity and doing more exercise however it is more difficult to set out these targets for your diet. I have therefore compiled my top 5 more achievable new years resolutions if you want to eat healthier in 2020:

1. Getting your five a day – If you don’t already then squeeze in your 5 a day because this can be beneficial to your health. This is because it allows you to consume those nutrients and fibre that ultimately keep our body functioning in a healthy way which is useful now and can prevent problems in our future life. This is a large part of the eat well plate provided by the government and has been for a number of years.

2. Consuming less caffeine – An underrated issue in modern day society is the amount of caffeine we consume whether this is coffee, sugary drinks, energy drinks or others. Caffeine can be useful in situations where you might need high levels of energy and alertness but if overused in the wrong situations has many side effects such as insomnia, anxiety, digestive issues, muscle breakdown and upset stomach. Eliminating just 1 drink of coffee a day could benefit your health a lot more.

3. Drink more water – It is recommended that you roughly drink around 2 litres of water per day. This is due to your body being made up of around 60% water. Not many people do actually drink the recommended amount but that will be discussed in another post. There are a number of benefits of drinking more water including improved brain function, improved energy levels, improved digestive system, beneficial towards weight loss.

4. Give up at least one unhealthy food or drink – If you feel that you have something in your diet that you could give up or is simply unnecessary then do it! Not only will you look back and be pleased that you did it but it could also have physical implications too. Whether this is energy drinks, kebabs or a particular meal then you’ll thank yourself for it later.

5. Consuming less takeaways or eating out less – Takeaways are everywhere we look now in bright colours with their cheap prices luring customers in. The big chains such as McDonalds, Subway, Burger King just to name a few are on pretty much every high street we walk down. They are very tempting and I’m sure a lot of people are regular visitors to the fast food chains. Not only does it mean you gain more weight, it is also addictive and unhealthy. If you were to just have one meal a week cooking at home instead of a fast food restaurant then not only would you save yourself a shed load of money but you would also be a healthier individual in the long run.

Thanks for reading this blog about how to get over those January blues

Brad x

Published by eyeopeningnutrition

Hello and welcome to the first blog post, I am currently a second year Sport and Exercise Science (BSc) student at Nottingham Trent University. A particular part of my course that I am interested in is nutrition not just in a sporting context but also within the wider community and how everyone can improve their diet and wellbeing. My aim is that you guys will read my blog and find something new out that you perhaps didn’t know before (hence the name). I hope that I can use things that I have learnt whilst studying and some up to date research to allow you guys to take something away from my blog some useful information about current topics and everyday issues that we face. I plan on uploading a blog per week, subscribe for weekly updates!! I look forward to any feedback you guys may have!! Brad x

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