I’m not a huge fan of new year’s resolutions. People either tend to go for the obvious (“I’m going to eat less biscuits”) or the unobtainable (“I’m going to go for a run every morning at 6am”) and don’t even get me started on the ones who give up drinking for the whole of January. As if it wasn’t already the most depressing month of the year – everyone’s poor, the shops have end-of-sale tat in them and every celebrity is sunning themselves abroad in a horribly smug fashion – why make it even worse by depriving yourself of a nice wine?
But today I decided that I’m going to make – and keep – a new year’s resolution: I’m going to cancel my gym membership. I know, I know, I must be missing the point. This is the time of year that you’re meant to join the gym, not leave it.
But in the last eight months or so, I’ve been giving my local branch of a nationwide gym chain £60 a month, and I’ve only been to one exercise class. Which means that exercise class cost me £480. Don’t get me wrong, it was a pretty good Body Pump class (they even played the B-52s triceps track – my favourite) but it definitely wasn’t worth the equivalent of a new Mulberry handbag.
So enough is enough. I’ve stopped fooling myself that I’m going to suddenly develop a regular after-work gym habit. Instead, I’m going to aim to go along to at least one class a week at the local council-run leisure centre (I’ll be honest, it’ll probably be Zumba – I’m such a horrible cliché) and try the Saturday morning Boot Camp classes run in a local park by personal trainers Penelope Fitstar.
It might surprise you to learn that the average British woman gives up on her new year’s resolution to be healthier six days after making it. That’s not even a whole week! Louise Whyte from Penelope Fitstar has an extreme solution and thinks you should bin all remaining festive season junk from the cupboards. “Christmas is officially over,” she says. “So continue eating sweets, cakes, biscuits, chocolate, cheeses at your peril.”
If you’re on a health kick and want to avoid being that average British woman who gives up so soon, Louise has nine more tips:
1. Order your shopping online. Make sure your basket is full of healthy, fresh ingredients, soups, salads, fruit, wholegrain cereals, bread, rice and pasta. It feels great to refuel your body with some quality food after all the excess.
2. Don’t go on a restrictive detox. Your body will go into shock, you will spend days with a thumping headache and it will get you down. Instead, think about eating slow energy release foods regularly and giving your body a break from alcohol, sugar, refined foods and caffeine. But give yourself a break – a cup of tea first thing and mid afternoon won’t do any harm.
3. Find an exercise you enjoy. There is something for everyone and if it has a social element you are more likely to stick to it. If you are a complete exercise phobe we defy anyone to not enjoy our Stiletto class.
4. Weigh yourself, take some measurements and don’t do it again until the end of January. This will give you a good opportunity to implement some changes and get results.
5. Start keeping a food diary. It really does make a big difference if you have to write it down.
6. Drink 2 litres of water a day. It will flush all those indulgent toxins out of your body.
7. Find exercise you can do as a family. Children love running in the woods, especially if you make up some imaginative games about being chased!
8. Juice! It does make you feel amazing.
9. Think positive. You are amazing. You can achieve anything you wish if you just start planning and get professional help!