Small wins can im­prove health

Sunderland Echo - - Comment - KATIE BUL­MER-COOKE

Half way through Jan­uary and it feels like ev­ery­one is ei­ther do­ing dry Jan­uary, on a su­per ded­i­cated fit­ness kick or be­com­ing a ve­gan!

If you’re a reg­u­lar reader of my col­umn you’ll know I’m al­ways cham­pi­oning any­thing that im­proves health, fit­ness and gets us mov­ing our bod­ies more, but does mak­ing pos­i­tive life­style choices al­ways have to be so ex­treme?

Jan­uary and into Fe­bru­ary will un­doubt­edly see some peo­ple that haven’t ex­er­cised for years hit­ting the gym seven days a week, throw­ing them­selves in at the deep end, at­tend­ing hard­core classes and try­ing to repli­cate the ex­er­cise plan of an In­sta­gram fit­ness model.

While their en­thu­si­asm is highly com­mend­able, it is un­likely to last as se­vere mus­cle ache and ev­ery­day life com­mit­ments set in.

Long term suc­cess with weight loss or im­proved car­dio­vas­cu­lar fit­ness, or any fit­ness re­lated goal for that mat­ter, comes from con­sis­tency.

So with that in mind, it’s im­por­tant to start out, not as you mean to go on, but as you can man­age to go on, while jug­gling work and fam­ily for ex­am­ple.

Of course you’ll have to get out of your com­fort zone to see re­sults, but pil­ing on the pres­sure to be per­fect, and hit every­thing so hard all of the time will only end in a lack of ad­her­ence and slip­ping back into old, un­healthy habits very quickly.

Every­thing just feels so ex­treme at this time of year, like peo­ple flip­ping from be­ing reg­u­lar meat eaters to 100 per cent ve­gan overnight as part of the lat­est ‘Ve­gan­uary’ craze.

Now I’m not against be­ing ve­gan at all, but with a diet that cuts out many foods, it’s vi­tal that the body is still given the nour­ish­ment it needs.

Achiev­ing this takes lots of re­search, ed­u­ca­tion and plan­ning to en­sure your body gets the re­quired vi­ta­mins and min­er­als in or­der to func­tion op­ti­mally.

It can be done, but it’s not some­thing that can be achieved overnight, and try­ing to do so will lead to ei­ther nutri­tional de­fi­ciency or an in­abil­ity to stick to the prin­ci­ples long term.

With­out want­ing to sound like Piers Mor­gan, who slated the lat­est of­fer­ing from Greggs last week, there is much more to be­com­ing ve­gan, and mak­ing this sig­nif­i­cant life­style change, than just swap­ping a reg­u­lar sausage roll for the ve­gan al­ter­na­tive … again it’s all about con­sis­tency and mod­er­a­tion.

What­ever you’ve de­cided to com­mit to, and what­ever changes you’ve de­cided to make for 2019, keep in mind that lots of baby steps cre­ate big changes and tak­ing your time and achiev­ing lots of small wins is of­ten the best way to en­sure that you not only achieve your goals but main­tain that achieve­ment too. Here’s to lots of suc­cess for all of us in Sun­der­land in 2019.

“It’s im­por­tant to start out as you mean to go on”


Katie Bul­mer-Cooke pro­motes a healthy life­style.

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