Sean Van Staden
Columnist
3 minute read
4 Jan 2014
12:30 pm

Write it down to make a change for 2014

Sean Van Staden

Can you feel the energy in the air? Can you feel the excitement?

Sean van Staden

I don’t know about you, but there is something about resetting a calendar year that makes all or most of last year’s worries play in the back of your mind like a black and white television set.

I am sure your black and white is filled with drama, but as the weeks go by it seems to consume less of your thoughts,energy and time. Every now and then it is important to recall past mistakes to learn and grow from them, but once that is done you can get back to the real and exciting world that lies ahead of you.

While the excitement is high, you need to set your goals or New Year’s resolutions. Before you tell me you have already made a list in your mind, stop because rule No 1 is…

Write it down

If you have not written it down, then you have not set any goals and it doesn’t count. There is really something magical about writing something down and pinning it in a place that occupies most of your time. Your work desk, your kitchen fridge or perhaps even in your car. Thoughts that come consume most of your time, eventually have a way of becoming reality.

Start off small

If one of your goals is to start exercising more than your current training routine, don’t write down that you want to start exercising six times a week, because I can promise you that 99% of the time you will fail.

Humans are creatures of habit and habit is one of the hardest things to break. Before you go out and spend thousands on a gym contract, start by changing the way you interact with your environment.

Change simple things, like walking after dinner, if your neighbourhood permits. Or how about banning yourself from taking lifts at your office. Most stairs have 15 steps and imagine how many calories you will be burning on a weekly basis, never mind the fitness.

Adrian Gore, owner of Discovery Health, adheres to this principle. At any given time his thousands of employees see him run up and down the stairs on his way to and from his office.

Get your eating in check

During festive and happy times, we celebrate with food and drink in abundance – and when I say abundance, you can generally see your stomach and bum hiding all the food consumed over the past month.

I will be giving some goals to add to your written list. Cut your food intake by one third. Dish up normally as you would and just before you sit down to eat, push one third of your food to your side plate and take it to the kitchen.

Do this for every meal and at the end of the day you can easily save yourself 1 000 to 1 500 calories. Keep it up for a week and you would have saved approximately two entire days of eating.

If you think you can’t live without one third of your plate gone, think again there is literally no difference.

If you are battling with this concept, then why don’t you try the proven and successful strategy Prof Brian Wansink uses by substituting your dinner plate with your side plate?

Dish up so your plate is full, but not stacked. A full plate of food, no matter what the size, still looks like a full plate of food. The benefit here is that you are saving yourself tons of calories.

Let’s recap on three simple steps to get the ball rolling. Take out a pen and write down your goals, make simple changes to your existing routine and relook the way you eat with regards to portion sizes.

Next week I will tackle what to eat and what not to eat, but in the meantime, start now.

I have a signed copy of Wansink’s book Mindless Eating up for grabs. All you have to do it tweet me on @SeanVstaden on what some of your new year’s health and fitness resolution goals are. Good luck and I wish you all the success in health, fitness and conquering your goals for 2014.