Navigating the New Year

By Coach Kristen

You’re going through the motions of your normal routine and suddenly, you remember 2024 is just a few days away! Maybe you start to ponder your resolutions and everything you’d like to accomplish in the new year. Most likely, the thought of weight loss creeps in.

As we enter the final stretch of 2023, we want to remind you of our top tips to navigating resolutions and creating goals that support you and your well-being. When it comes to which goals are chosen most for resolutions, losing weight is the biggest hitter. If you’ve had this goal before, you can probably can relate to failed diet attempts or cyclical dieting. Cyclical dieting means going on and off a diet over and over again.

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If you do relate to this, you aren’t alone. 95% of all dieters fail! Two-thirds gain the weight back and typically gain more weight than they lost! Not to mention, a lot of dieters develop eating disorders and disordered eating patterns.

There are many negative health outcomes that come from dieting, but here’s a jarring example from a study conducted in 2016 (Fothergill et al, 2016). This study looked at contestants of the well-known show Biggest Loser. Even 6 years after the show, contestants’ metabolisms were blunted by an average of 700 calories a day (Fothergill et al, 2016)! This reminds us that diets teach our bodies to better adapt to famine. Along with that, their muscle mass was 10lbs lighter than when they started (Fothergill et al, 2016). Muscle mass is a critical component of our health and we often see drops in muscle mass when people go on a very restrictive diet.

The pursuit of chronic dieting and constant weight loss is draining! It is possible to set some health goals that set the direction of your new year in a successful way and move away from body-shaming. Here are some things to keep in mind while creating your resolutions:

  • Reflect on process-oriented habits/goals. This means that rather than focusing just on an end outcome, you are focusing on habits that lead to your ultimate end goal. Focusing on the process ,rather than just a specific outcome, allows you to be more flexible in your approach. It is more sustainable and success is defined as wins along the way instead of an end goal. If you have an outcome-oriented goal, like reaching a new PR on your squat, take some time to also set process-oriented goals that get you closer to your squat goal. For example, setting the goal to strength train at least 2 times a week. You can have both types of goals, just ensure you are reflecting on both!
  • Challenge yourself to move away from goals focused on shrinking yourself. When is the last time you made a health goal that didn’t have to do with your weight or how much you hate your body? Choose goals that empower you and show respect for the body you have. Examples would be aiming to include a walk in your day at least 3 times a week or trying to incorporate more colors into your meals daily.
  • Be really realistic with yourself. Reflect on your situation and ask yourself, “Is this really achievable given my current circumstances?”. This allows us to focus on our situational best and helps us stick to the goals long-term. Read more on that here.
  • Don’t try to change everything at once. Focus on one small thing and build onto it throughout the year.

As you think through your goals, here are some questions to reflect on:

  1. Where did you want to improve in 2023 but didn’t?
  2. What did you do better in 2023 that deserves acknowledgement?
  3. What are the positive outcomes from the new habit you’d like to build? 
  4. What are the possible negative outcomes from some of your current habits?
  5. Create a vision of your “best” self (think of emotional and mentally, not just physically). How does this differ from your current state?

We want you to avoid falling into the trap of extreme goals in the new year. Need help choosing some goals? Ask your coach!

Fothergill E, Guo J, Howard L, Kerns JC, Knuth ND, Brychta R, Chen KY, Skarulis MC, Walter M, Walter PJ, Hall KD. Persistent metabolic adaptation 6 years after “The Biggest Loser” competition. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2016 Aug;24(8):1612-9. doi: 10.1002/oby.21538. Epub 2016 May 2. PMID: 27136388; PMCID: PMC4989512.

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