January brings with it a brand-new year, and for many, a sparkly, new, untouched year seems like a blank canvas— an appealing time to make major goals in terms of physical fitness and weight loss. What can be seen, however, is that those with weight loss goals often feel discouraged as they attempt to complete them because the weight seems too stubborn to come off. If this sounds familiar to you, consider that January just isn’t the time to tackle weight loss. Here’s why.
The Problem With Weight Loss in January
The desire to lose a few pounds is not negative per se, but you may be setting yourself up for failure if you aim to do it in January. For many people, January is perhaps the peak of winter. It’s cold, your body is cold, and your body wants to protect itself and keep warm by holding on to extra weight or fat! This is natural, and it should be respected. When you attempt to lose weight in the dead of winter, you’re working against the body’s natural rhythms rather than with them. Even if you’re doing all the right things to lose weight like regular exercise and mindfully eating or shifting your diet, you may find that it’s simply not working. This isn’t necessarily your fault, it’s just your body trying to keep you safe and warm.
When Should You Lose Weight?
So, if not in January, when? It’s best to look ahead to the warmer months of the year, during springtime. March is an excellent time to start being more intentional about weight loss goals. As the weather begins to warm and the number of sunlight hours begins to increase, the body wakes up and it’s ready to shed a few inches or pounds. This doesn’t mean that we should ignore our bodies or avoid trying to stay healthy during the winter, but what I see the most is people failing to plan for the holidays, eating way too much or the wrong items, gaining the holiday extra pounds or feeling terrible, and then deciding to clean something up (or honestly, punishing themselves) in January, and failing miserably.
What to Do in January Instead
January is still a great time to start thinking about lifestyle changes or weight loss goals that you have! It’s also a great time to review what worked and what didn’t work over the last holiday season and create reminders for yourself for the next year. Think through what you’d like your new food intake to look like, make some real food, create sugarless friendly shopping lists, and bookmark a few recipes that you’d like to try to get yourself excited. You can also start strategizing what types of workouts or other physical activities you’d like to start integrating into your routine. Start with stretches or yoga now, that way, when March comes along and the weather starts getting nicer and warmer, you are all set to start achieving your weight loss goals.