By: Ella Ford Mthethwa
Fit (Healthy) & Fabulous 
Its amazing how at some point or another we have all fallen into the cycle of New Year’s Resolutions. Whether it’s to lose weight or stop smoking or even making a major decision such as leaving a relationship that’s not really working out. We start off with the best of intentions however sadly in most instances – it doesn’t last very long. Trust me – I know, I tried to be a Pescaterian for several years before actually cracking it in 2007. I haven’t touched any meat of any form except for seafood ever since!
The Annual Cycle…
Many people go through the Yo-Yo Diet Cycle which sees people losing weight for certain seasons only to regain it (and more) in another. The feeling of guilt and heaviness after a hectic festive season can be somewhat overwhelming and ironically this could be the fuel that feeds the path to quick failure…
The visit to the scale becomes quite disappointing and although the initial intentions are good, the journey to living a healthy lifestyle (or more commonly to weight loss) becomes short-lived. “Die – hard” gym fanatics have become accustomed to the January rush which subsequently subsides – sadly.
The major challenge is that a lot of “transactional” eating takes place whereby individuals overindulge with the hope of corrective action from January. As time progresses and this does not materialize the weight accumulates.
Breaking the Cycle
As a Dietitian and as someone who has broken the cycle, there are a few simple steps that one can take to make your decision more sustainable.
1.  Reframe the MInd
Its very important to get out of that dark space, the feeling of guilt and frustration that may come with the attempts at correcting the “damage”. Otherwise this could take one several steps back with the move to using food as a form of comfort – leading to further weight gain.
2. Set Realistic Goals
There is nothing more disheartening than a goal that or target that is so steep that it becomes overwhelming after a short period of time. It’s important to pace yourself and to set targets at various intervals – milestones that are achievable and keep you motivated.
3. Start with the Habit
They say that it takes 21 days to develop a habit. With that thought in mind, it is advisable to first focus on getting through the first 21 days with clean eating and living a healthy lifestyle. The first few days are the most difficult, once conquered it becomes a habit, then eventually with consistency the habit becomes a lifestyle…
 
4. A Simple Guide to Healthy Living
Go for a Health Assessment  so that you can be aware of your health status, then receive treatment or management based on your needs.
A good starting point is to do the following :
* Change potentially harmful habits – ie smoking and excessive alcohol intake
* Eat 3 balanced meals
* Eat adequate amounts in a variety of fruit and vegetables
* Eat starches rich in fibre
* Eat more of the leaner forms of meat such as lean beef, chicken, fish and avoid processed meats
* Avoid processed foods
* Reduce the sugar and salt intake
* Use oils and fats rich in unsaturated fatty acids such as olive, canola and sunflower oils as well as margarines
* Exercise portion control
* Be Active
* Work as a family or group for support
* Most important – do not give up
5. Formalise It
It is advisable to consult and work with a Qualified Health Professional such as a Registered Dietitian in order get a proper full nutritional assessment so that an Individualized healthy eating program is constructed. A simple free health assessment (offered at some clinics and public institutions) is also adequate where the basic parameters such as height and weight are checked. The eating program can be monitored and altered according to the individual needs (health status, lifestyle, etc) and eventually becomes second nature.
This ensures that the needed Longevity is achieved in terms of living a healthy lifestyle🌻
For more information on Living A Healthy Lifestyle and motivation LIKE the following pages :
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