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“New Year Resolution” is a seasonal (for the same time each year) POST HOLIDAYS sort of a promise or rather a hopeful declaration that “this time and in this January I will start to lose weight (and keep it off, please HMG)” or “I will start and will continue for ever to stop eating unhealthy, and will start exercising my body and moving every day” or, perhaps, that “as soon the festive season is over, I will pay attention to my body and will engage my will, brain and all discipline I can muster to do something good to my OWN BODY”! The last pledge is perhaps the most important as it lists means by which one can make some changes in lifestyle and it also touches on the principle of SELFCARE with a promise to do something good to one’s own body!

The New Year Resolution is one of the most beautiful and most needed declarations one can craft in a spurt of good will, and at the moment of sad self-realization that the body needs time and total loving care (TLC) to get better. With many (or perhaps most of us, including the writer of this Blog!), we are (or hopefully we WERE, hint, hint, hint) WORKOHOLICS, or people who do most for others and for the job rather than for the family or for our own body’s sake! With often putting the work as priority, or treating the job as a Second SPOUSE (regretfully often more important that the one to whom we said vows!) and devoting not enough time, or little time or no time at all (!!!) to our own needs, we literally lost balance and harmony in our own life. The old truth that very few people ever know who is their own best friend (please make a guess, could you name your own BEST FRIEND?), many of us simply drift into a routine of wake up in a morning, go to work, WORK and WORK and do MORE WORK, Return home and then… feeling tired, exhausted or just not ready to fall asleep, choose to be not great to the Life Partner, family, kids, and to yourself. Indeed, LIFE SUCKS, one may say and moves on with the day, but now there is a first homework! Name your Best Friend! And whatever name you choose please accept it and remember forever, that the name of your best Friend is … YOUR OWN BODY. Period! Never forget it.

Thus, in any New Year Resolution, the true objective of the pledge made must be “to do something good for your own Best Friend, for your OWN BODY”. Then, a wake up call: did you promise yourself a YEAR AGO that “I shall do it, care for me, lose weight, start drinking less, quit smoking tobacco or something else”, or whatever your were not happy with, to make a change in your own life, your own lifestyle and stick to it no matter what! In a hindsight, all should look great but for a vast majority, the New Year Resolution needs to be repeated and … repeated and … repeated simply because they are not implemented! Why is it that many, if not most of New Year Resolutions do not work?

Simply put, most of us are not the masters of Behavioral Change in Lifestyle. No matter what our level of DESIRE (not level of commitment) is, the best promises, ideas and pledges do not survive the TEST of Life! And the Life must GO ON, relentlessly and usually in the same manner as before, BECAUSE we did not plan for making a real change. For those who need a brief as to a level of commitment, please remember that a first degree is “I can try”, second “I will do my best” but the third and ultimate level is “I will do whatever it takes to get there”. Even with third degree level of commitment, the ultimate blend of discipline, desire and willpower, we must be aware that often life moves on and …leaves us brutally in the same spot where we were a year ago (or worse, if one realizes that with one year passed we are older by one year and… nothing else changed!).

So, coming back to our New Year Resolution, say, just to lose ten or twenty pounds. Few years ago it was not easy unless you were disciplined, moved your body on a spurt of good luck for few months or only for several weeks and chose a “diet” that happens to be “a good one, the one that made you lose 10-20 pounds. Today, in 2020, one can just read using “ Dr. Google”, or dozens of reviews on the Internet, of any type of diet you can think of: Low Carb, No Carb, Keto, Paleo, High Carbs, Atkins and many more. And, with some luck and family support if you do not live alone, surely you have a good chance to drop the first ten or even second ten pounds of the unwanted weight. And all would be good, and would sound like best music to the good movie; but this drop of weight, in 95% of cases will be followed by a weight regain in a year and in 99% of in three years. So, where is the hitch?

With dozens of theories and speculations as to why we cannot successfully lose weight and KEEP IT OFF, one needs to look at one’s own life in the toxic environment of food supply (Grocery stores, Restaurants, Fast FOOD outlets), lacking (or having acquired) skills to cook food from scratch (whole foods and of good to best quality), the relentless barrage of marketing and ads from the media pushing on us images and audio requests to buy this and the other foods, sweets, drinks, pizzas, take outs etc. We also live submerged in a stream (or perhaps a media flood!)  of bad news and fake news spinning us to the point of chronic stress with periodic doses of high stress from the media images of nasty content, and causing an even HIGHER LEVEL OF CHRONIC STRESS, (e.g. the Covid-Pandemic now being a steady hum of bad news). And how do we react to this news: with more stress many people overeat, engage in stress-induced emotional eating, and suffer from SIDE-EFFECTS of ingested foods (usually high calorie, high sugar content, high fat). Also, for many, their exercise routine is frequently abandoned due to daily life events: excuses like the weather, or just being tired when eating a high sugar and high fat diet. For all of us, though, a gym routine is powerfully affected by the Covid-19 Pandemic as a result of spread-saving measures that caused gyms and swimming pools to shut down. Thank God for OUTDOOR-options and workouts one can do alone when watching You Tube, DVDs or even getting a 1-on-1 session with a Physical Trainer remotely!

With so many factors making keeping weight off difficult after the “successful” transient weight drop, the key to a lasting success is developing new LIFESTYLE HABITS. By acquiring and later mastering the healthy lifestyle habits, and by permanent abolishing the old unhealthy ones, the weight stays off. The problem is that in order to make such a Lifestyle habit Switch, expert support is warranted for a large percentage of people.

This is why having a guide who can help you to navigate “rough waters of a toxic environment”, to support you in continuing to make good choices in stressful life situations, and to lift your sagging motivation in times of setbacks is a good call. Indeed, research shows that when one reaches the healthy goal established and sticks to the habit modifications that yielded reaching this goal, the success is maintained and changes long lasting.

In a very simple form, correctly identified and implemented lifestyle changes in NUTRITION and EXERCISE (it usually means “EAT BETTER AND EAT LESS and MOVE YOUR BODY MORE”) should takes us to the new heights of the NEW YEAR RESOLUTION; and rest assured that once reaching them, we will always stay in the zone of regained health, wellness, lowered weight and all other benefits gained with it (improved Blood Pressure, energy, reduced risk of developing Diabetes mellitus t. 2, cardiovascular disease, some types of cancers). A very important added benefit is the fact that those who accomplished their goal and stayed right on the target will feel better about themselves and regain confidence. Unfortunately, the life goes on with its expected and unexpected twists, and the attempts to maintain the achieved success are in a vast majority of cases futile in several months, a year or two. Truly, success in keeping the weight off is not developed by a mastery of Calories In and Calories-Out, counting calories consumed with foods and burnt during exercise and/or everyday activities. Our bodies, with their individual metabolic, hormonal and genetic makeups and under influence of time, as we all age, give the best proof that by simply balancing energy consumed with foods and drinks and energy spent in physical activity (including exercise) and at rest, one can successfully “control” our body weight. When emotional aspects of eating are also considered, the weight control “game” is much farther from being easy or “won”!

Sticking to your new year resolution is not easy. What conditions need to be met to facilitate a lasting success, and to prevent a yo-yo dieting or a perpetual pendulum of good healthy behaviors and relapsing into the old habits whatever they are? The simple old rule that you cannot get new different results unless you change something and stick to it is to be not overprized. But how? Even with ‘self training” from Internet, with some new apps and by reading posts from Multi-Media similar interest groups, you are most of the time left “to the wolves” and these wolves are simply your life, your stress level, your lack of time, commitments to others and above all not full understanding of your own whereabouts and life, job, family circumstances and their effects on your behaviors and habits, small and big, good and bad. This touches on the fact that people’s lives are complex, and interwoven in a fabric that is a milieu of the people’s past and present, their personal, family, work, community level and global environments and with more and more information thrown onto us from media. If you could accept another mini homework project from the Blogger, take one short minute of your precious time and think about the last time you slowed down, and had a reflection what is important to you and why; what is not good for you and your own emotional health and what would you do about it? When was it? Today, yesterday, last month, last year or you are not sure… You know this the best, this is your life…

Then, who can help you to tackle the issue of a New Year Resolution? The same person who was in charge last year? Does it mean YOU? Again?  With a new trend surging, that of Health Coaching and Holistic Wellness Coaching, and a rapid growth of this peculiar yet still mostly unknown allied health care professionals, you perhaps already heard something about health or wellness coaches. They are the experts of behavior modification who use evidence-based cognitive behavioral coaching techniques and other approaches to get their Clients where they need to be: “shuttled” from a present zone of life to a zone of healthier life and wellness, with grown satisfaction, self-efficacy and ability to see themselves at their best after making lasting behavioral changes.

The health and wellness coaches do not tell you what to do. They do not hold your arm and pull in a correct direction They do not direct you in what to do and what you may not to do. This is a new cast of coaches who through discussion about you, your values, your health and problems allow you to see you and your life and your own problems in a new light. Sharp, illuminating light to …keep you ENLIGHTENED and to stay focused on the things that matter for you. Not the Health Coach but you, with your Coach’s assistance, and skillful guiding, will put on a table several topics that are important for you and your health and wellbeing. With the Coach letting you reach your best skills, discover all your potential and use it in the discussions, you will identify your problems, roots of these problems and design step-by-step how to reach these goals. Twenty years ago, when I was helping people with weight and stress and other life issues in Harmony Medical Weight Loss Program, the term “baby steps” was used. Several smaller step-goals were used as the means for reaching the larger, more time and effort consuming goals. It was all about identifying the “old” habits and replacing them with new, this time healthy, habits and acquiring them making “baby steps”.

With a full training programs for certification in Health and Holistic Wellness Coaching that produced now dozens and dozens of Health Coaches using excellent educational platforms, Clients are in good hands of their Health Coaches. The most important is to abandon a temptation for reaching the weight goal by going on “autopilot for calories-in and calories-out count”. Instead, in a partnership with your Health Coach, you need to figure out what is the problem (s) that led you to gaining weight…and what are the root causes of this problem(s).

A Client working in a partnership with a Health Coach will have much greater chance to develop new lifestyle habits and enjoy sustainable health benefits than by working on her/his own. 20+ years of work in health care experience helped me to understand that specialization is critical to have a job done well. The Health Coaches are the behavior modification experts. Thus, they are perfectly positioned to assist the Clients in their transformational journey to lose weight (or reach other health goals as desired).   One note: even with a Health Coach, the only person who is hold accountable is the Client.

If you might question whether seek a partnership with a “Health Coach” or a “Holistic Health and Wellness Coach” for your New Year Resolution, I am more than pleased to answer that holistic approach encompasses several aspects of human life and gives more complete view on our life and yields excellent results in weight management.

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