New year, new me?

In Trucker's Health, February 20215 MinutesBy Laura PeacockMarch 8, 2021

If I had a dollar for every time I heard the phrase “new year, new me”, I could comfortably cruise into early retirement. The beginning of a new year signals a fresh start, a clean slate and a good time to turn over a new leaf and create a healthy lifestyle. Although you have the best of intentions, you often set goals and expectations so high you are bound to fail, feel disheartened and sometimes come out worse off than when you started. I propose we throw the whole “new year, new me” in the recycling and instead follow the mantra of “new year, new challenge”. Yes, I know, it doesn‘t have the same ring to it, but that‘s not important. What is important is how you construct your goal or challenge so that it is: 1) attainable and 2) positive. What I mean by that is often we kick off a new challenge with a list of things we cannot and should not do or eat. Whereas, if we have a list of things we want to do more of and include more in our diets, then already we have a positive mindset from the get-go.

This could include replacing the goal of no chocolate and no takeaways with one that focusses on more vegetables and more fruit. In nutrition, it‘s described as “crowding out”. You‘re encouraged to focus not on excluding foods, but including more nutritious foods to crowd out the less nutritious foods and hopefully you will want and need less of those, such as takeaways. The same thing applies to your fitness goals. If your goal is always focussed on the number on the scale or something negative you don‘t like about yourself, you set off on the wrong foot, already feeling negative, even if it is subconsciously. I don‘t know about you, but I would rather focus on finding a sport that I enjoy, or joining a group exercise class than saying, “I need to lose 10kg and my love handles.” For many years, I focussed on how much I weighed and how little junk food I could eat and would feel disheartened if I put on weight or ate something “naughty”. This year I have stopped that vicious cycle and am instead focussing on a charity event. On 27 March 2021, I will be completing six Waikato summits back-to-back in the name of the Mental Health Foundation. This is my way of reaching out to people who are struggling with many different individual battles and saying, “it‘s okay not to be okay”. After the year we‘ve had, I want to raise awareness of the importance of looking after your own mental health and supporting the wellness of your friends and family.

This goal obviously means that I have to be in good shape and have an excellent fitness level. It will drive me to train hard and eat well, so my body is well fuelled for training. There is absolutely no requirement in terms of what I must weigh and the foods that I must not eat – there is a much bigger picture. So I encourage you all to do the same; obviously not to do six summits backto- back for mental health, but to create a positive and healthy goal for yourselves that will pull you away from negative body image and revolving your life around weigh-ins and dieting. I would be so interested in hearing about all of the positive goals and challenges you set yourselves. I also encourage you to choose a summit and come along to my mental health charity event and walk a summit with me. Here is the link to my Facebook event page, which has everything you need to know about the event: https://fb.me/e/cXHZnY9Nv