Veganuary… faddy and unsustainable?

Find out how Ali is approaching his alternative Veganuary challenge

Veganuary they said… No. I said.

Now don’t get me wrong I have no problem with any long term lifestyle and health choices. If someone opts to be Vegan / Vegetarian / Pescitarian / etc because of personal ethical / health choices then, although it's not for me, I am in full support.

The issue I have is when these lifestyle choices are used as a fad diet in order to achieve a short term weight/fat loss result. Primarily because having worked in the fitness industry for 15+ years and having seen how to be successful and unsuccessful in achieving sustained weight/fat loss success; I can categorically say that any ‘diet plan’ entered into that is obviously not something that will be adhered to long term simply isn’t going to achieve long term success.

Yes you may achieve short term success, but then what? You haven’t changed any unhealthy habits, all you have done is pause them and so when the fad wears off you will go back to your old ways and the unwanted weight/fat will return.

The only way to achieve long term weight / fat loss success Is to make small changes that overtime make big differences and become very sustainable habits. Forever.

If you drink 4 bottles of wine per week. Reduce it to 3. That's a 25% reduction. That's circa 15,600 dead calories less over a 6 month period.

If you exercise 3 times per week. Increase it to 4. That's a 33% increase in the amount of training you do.

If you consume 750 dead calories per day (Biscuits/cakes/snacks/chocolate/wine etc) reduce this to 375 calories (yes possibly still too much, but hey you’ve got to make it sustainable and enjoy what you enjoy). That's a reduction of 11,375 calories a month!

The above is just an example of 3 small changes you can make that let's be fair don’t impact your ability to have a social life / eat the things you really love etc. It is simply moderating it and accepting you’re not going to drop a stone in a week but you will definitely drop a stone over the next 3 months and the best bit is that stone will stay dropped!

So rather than go down the ‘Veganuary’ or any other fad plan I have decided to scrutinise my food and exercise habits and am going to make the following changes to help me reduce body fat. All of these changes I have thought hard about and am 100% confident they are sustainable for me:

  • I am going to have a meat free day every week. Now everyone will shout that's a fad; No it isn’t as it's a long term sustainable change. I have looked at my diet and realise I eat meat every day and most days twice per day. Meat is hard on the digestive system and so I want to give my digestive system a break. In truth it should probably be more like 2/3 days a week but I know I’d be setting myself up to fail.
  • Exercise 4 times per week. Again ideally I’d love to do more but with work/young family etc I have to be realistic
  • 1 frothy coffee (love the froth!) per day, the rest will be black or with a tiny splash of milk. No not a massive change but over the next year that frothy milk reduction will have an impact
  • Portion size. I’m not about to give up my love of pasta and all things yummy but I do need to massively address my gigantic portions (especially in the evening).
  • Finally I’m ditching the pastry based breakfasts… in the week. Not entirely, its got to be sustainable, but I can definitely ditch them in the week in favour of something more substantial and nutritionally beneficial    

And that's it. They’re the changes. Not drastic. Not a Fad. Not a yo-yo in sight. These are small changes I know I can stick to making them long term habit changes and see long term results.


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