Betsy Mendel doesn’t believe in New Year’s resolutions. At least not when it comes to fitness.
The Santa Monica-based personal trainer says that, in her experience, they just don’t stick.
“Most people break their resolutions,” Mendel said. “And, personally, I don’t think it’s a great way to try and lose weight. Gyms are full until about the end of February with people who made their resolutions. And so many people try and fail in this situation and it’s because they aren’t actually changing what needs to change. Until someone has a change in their perspective, until that happens, I don’t think anyone has success.”
Mendel believes that any time a person decides they want to lose weight, a shift in their perspective on how they want to live their life is what is going to motivate them, not an empty resolution.
Mendel said her client Dr. Elliott Haimoff is a perfect example of someone who decided to lose weight for the right reasons and had that mental shift that was needed to achieve it.
Haimoff decided to lose weight, not on the first of the year, but at his 60th birthday party last August. Mendel — who happens to be a friend of Haimoff’s — gave him a book on emotional eating.
“She had talked to me about weight loss before,” Haimoff said. “And she said, ‘If you really want to lose weight, you’re not gonna be able to just diet this thing out. Do you want to change your lifestyle? Do you wanna say that eating fried chicken and pizza is gonna be your source of pleasure or are you gonna say you don’t care about that? That’s the way you have to have your lifestyle change.’ And that’s when the click in my brain started. I started losing weight almost immediately.”
Haimoff, who decided he was “sick and tired of being sick and tired,” became one of Mendel’s biggest success stories, having lost 65 lbs. over the past four months. Measuring his weight loss in 30 lb. bags of dog food, Haimoff has gone from 285 lbs. to 220 lbs., deciding he has, “one more bag of dog food” to get rid of to reach his goal weight.
Mendel said that the way Haimoff has changed his entire lifestyle to lose weight is the only way anyone can make weight loss or fitness goals stick. So, in order for people to make their weight loss resolutions as successful as Haimoff’s birthday resolution, there are a few things Mendel recommends.
“If you want to go about losing weight with your motivation being a resolution, you have gotta keep that energy and commitment going. You have to keep the momentum going. Keep that motivation you had on Jan. 1 around. That is the only way it is going to work.”
Mendel offered a few suggestions for how one can achieve this.
First, you can have a visual representation of your progress, like Haimoff’s bags of dog food or a chart he makes to track his progress. Mendel also recommends getting a personal trainer if you can afford it, as they will keep you motivated, as Haimoff said Mendel has done for him. She says the support of friends and family, but only the ones who have your best interest at heart, is also a great thing to have to help you stay on track. Mendel said that measuring out your portions, having meals planned and not going grocery shopping when you’re starving are keys to keeping your new relationship with food healthy.
“Really, you need to break this thing down into small goals. Don’t make it all or nothing. If you have a bad day, don’t give in. Just because you made a mistake don’t throw in the towel. That goes with staying focused.”
Mendel said it’s also important to remember you are not going to lose weight every single day, no matter how good you are at keeping to your routine.
“But if you change your perspective, change your lifestyle, rather than simply make a resolution to lose weight, you will see results.”