Conor McLean: Resolve to take charge of your health

Edinburgh Leisure staff are on hand to help you stick to your New Year's resolution to get off the couch and get fitter. Picture: Jane Barlow
Edinburgh Leisure staff are on hand to help you stick to your New Year's resolution to get off the couch and get fitter. Picture: Jane Barlow
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This month as part of National Obesity Awareness Week (which started yesterday) we are being encouraged to make resolutions which will improve the health of our nation. Whether it’s cooking more healthily, avoiding snacks, or being a little more physically active, join in National Obesity Awareness week and make your healthy New Year’s resolution now.

Even a small change in your lifestyle can make a big difference to your health and wellbeing but only if you make a lasting change. Whilst many of us make New Year’s resolutions it is estimated that up to 80 per cent of resolutions fail by February.

Conor McLean, Weight Management Development Officer, Edinburgh Leisure

Conor McLean, Weight Management Development Officer, Edinburgh Leisure

Don’t set yourself overly ambitious or unsustainable goals. Smaller, realistic and achievable goals will help you stick to those New Year’s resolution and make them a long-term healthy habit. A really effective way to do this is to set yourself a SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time bound) resolution.

Having a specific goal with a clear focus will help with motivation and planning and being able to measure your progress can help keep you motivated long term. Making your resolution realistic and achievable is also important as if it is too hard you are likely to lose focus and experience feelings of anxiety, stress or disappointment. Don’t set yourself up to fail.

Keep yourself accountable. Tell people what your goal is, write it down and keep it somewhere you will see it every day (on the fridge or mirror). If you keep your goal to yourself in your head, it can be forgotten about or not become as important as it once was. However, by writing it down, it can become a conscious commitment to help you achieve.

At Edinburgh Leisure, we understand that making and sticking to these changes is sometimes easier said than done. We work in partnership with NHS Lothian to deliver two weight management programmes; Get Going and Get Moving. Get Going is a nine-week physical activity and education programme supporting children and their families to get active, eat well and lead a healthy lifestyle. Get Moving is a 12-week weight management and physical activity programme which supports adults with a BMI of over 30 to get more active, eat well and achieve a healthier weight. Both initiatives support participants to increase their activity levels and improve their knowledge on healthy eating; enabling them to lead healthier lifestyles.

Edinburgh Leisure is a charity dedicated to creating opportunities for people to get active, stay active and lead healthier lives. Through our Active Communities’ programmes we support around 5200 people each year affected by health conditions, poverty, inequalities and disabilities to get active stay active and lead healthier lives.

Leading a healthier and more active lifestyle can improve your health and wellbeing, bettering your quality of life and minimising risk factors which can lead to long-term health conditions. So what are you waiting for – make 2018 your year. Get Going on those New Year’s resolutions and Get Moving more in 2018. For more information on Get Going, Get Moving or any of our Active Communities programmes please contact active@edinburghleisure.co.uk.

Conor McLean is Weight Management Development Officer at Edinburgh Leisure