It’S New Year’s Eve. You’ve got a drink in hand and are still bloated from the turkey you ate at Christmas time. But you try to justify it all with a New Year’s resolution to lose weight.
Going on a diet was the most popular New Year’s resolution in 2015, but it could actually be doing you more harm than good.
Body confidence expert Dr Katherine Iscoe said people were just setting themselves up to fail.
“Just because it’s the month of January does not mean you are going to turn into a superhuman health nut,” she said.
“People want quick, easy fixes these days — they order something online and want it the next day — it doesn’t always happen.”
Dr Iscoe said people had unrealistic expectations when it came to dieting over the festive season.
“It’s warming up, it’s only three weeks until Australia Day. It’s like punishment for the holiday and we are trying to make up for our Christmas sins,” she said.
“It’s like getting married and going on a honeymoon, and starting your diet on the honeymoon.
“Why are we punishing ourselves and expecting it to work?”
Dr Iscoe believes there is more to weight loss than just diet and exercise and people could be taking backwards steps by depriving themselves of food and slogging themselves at the gym.
“Your body’s main function is survival and if you deprive yourself of nutrients and lots of energy your body isn’t going to quickly let you into that size six bikini or skinny jeans or raise your metabolism. It says ‘whoa, I should slow down the metabolism and hold onto energy so I don’t lose everything’.
“There’s more to getting that bikini butt than squats and kale. If it was that simple we wouldn’t need doctors and specialists.”
Body confidence expert Dr Katherine Iscoe says losing weight isn’t just about diet and exercise. Picture: Geoff Fisher Source:Supplied
Dr Iscoe said people should work on their minds rather than their abs, and said unhealthy habits were usually a flow-on effect from other stresses in life.
She believes once you get that problem in order, a healthy lifestyle will follow.
Dr Iscoe has struggled with her own eating disorder and said she knows the pressure to lose weight can be damaging.
“I truly think at this time of year people are looking to fix their body. But something else needs fixing. Maybe they are in a dead end job or dead end relationship. Are they worried about their parents’ health and can’t do anything about it? We need to deal with that, not our jean size,” she said.
“If people are going to do anything this year they should be concentrating on their minds not their butts. If you make that a priority, everything will fall into place.”
Dr Iscoe said people who had a stressful day at work and didn’t know the best way to deal with it might go home and have a few glasses of wine.
Then they don’t sleep so well that night and the next day are a bit groggy so instead of a green smoothie they reach for a coffee and muffin.
“If something is affected in our life, how else are we being affected? We have to get to the crux of it and you can’t do that on an eight-week plan and people can’t sell it for $79.95. I’m sick of these programs making people feel like failures.”
Working through everyday stresses could stop you reaching for treats.Source:istock
Dr Iscoe said talking to somebody about underlying issues was key. It sounds simple, but it took her 38 years to figure out stresses in everyday life was the major impact on health.
“For a long time I wasn’t happy so was trying to fix my body in order to get happy. From the outside I had a perfect body and was ripped to shreds, people were looking at me and I was getting a lot of attention,” she said.
“I was most unhappy during the years I tried to control my happiness with diet and exercise.
“If you’re looking in the mirror and you wish you were someone else rather than yourself, that’s the first thing you have to work on. You can’t live a happy life wishing you were someone else.”
Dr Iscoe said just turn the word “resolution” into action, and start “resolving” something.
“Everybody wants to win the lotto, but you have to walk to the store to get a ticket. Stop thinking about winning the lottery and start thinking about how you’re going to get to the store and pay for the ticket in the first place,” she said.
Dr Iscoe also encouraged people to aim low when trying to change something about their lives.
“It’s a busy time of year, people are exhausted. If you have a plan to change 10 things, cut the list down to one thing and if you achieve it give yourself a high five. If you feel like doing the second one, go for it. We are so unrealistic in our expectations and it puts unnecessary pressure on us to achieve the impossible,” she said.
“I think in 2017 the message should be, people need to have kindness on their mind rather than these resolutions. Kindness to themselves.”