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Fitness New Year's Resolutions From an Unfit Person

Why 2017 Will Be the Year I Finally Learn Balance When It Comes to Fitness and Diet

My name is Gemma, and I never work out. My last gym selfie was taken 63 weeks ago.

I have worked out in the past. I used to fit into all the clothes that hang in my wardrobe. For about five minutes in late 2015, I had muscle tone in my arms. I'm no stranger to throwing myself in at the deep end, be it devoting 90 days of my life to Joe Wicks's Body Coach plan or idiotically agreeing to take my first Spin class alongside a group of fitness and health journalists (we shall never speak of this again). I have a gym membership, I own multiple sports bras, I even have a set of weights at home. But like so many things in my life, I have a tendency to throw myself into health and fitness headfirst, tackling difficult challenges and hardcore 30-day plans that I can't keep up, when I should just be making small long-term changes I can actually maintain.

All this stops in 2017. My New Year's resolution is to find balance and look at the long-term benefits of being active, rather than the short-term smugness of completing a challenge and losing a bit of weight. There will be no Whole 30, no 30-Day Shred and no Bikini Body Guide (tried it once, couldn't even do the first circuit). While I've been overwhelmed by the difference just one month can make to my flabby, unloved 30-something body, the problem with a short-term challenge is that you come out of it feeling invincible . . . and promptly fall back into previous habits. That works if those previous habits included a balanced diet, moderate alcohol intake, and workouts a few times a week. But I am more of a Netflix, wine, and pizza kind of girl.

This year, I will take baby steps rather than bold ones. My problem in the past has been a desire to see instant, dramatic results. And that's not really hard when you're starting at zero. But I know from the number of times in the last decade that I've lost and regained the same 25 pounds over and over again (here's a tip: don't buy a bridesmaid dress that's way too small) that now I need to approach this a different way. This has to be about fitness and well-being, not a number on a scale that only tells half a story.

So in 2017, I resolve to take it slow. I will vow to work out two or three times a week to start with and go up from there. I will continue to educate myself about the kind of fitness regimens that will work for me and my limited time and willpower (hello, HIIT). I will be a slave to my Fitbit, and if I don't do 10,000 steps a day, I will definitely do 70,000 steps in a week. I will come to terms with the fact I hate working out with other people right now, and that's totally fine. Maybe when I have more confidence, I will want a gym buddy or even a trainer to help guide me to the next level. Right now I just want to hide in the corner (or work out at home) and keep my head down. It's OK to build up to something.

I will follow a healthy eating plan that allows me occasional treats and indulgences but in general guides me towards nourishing and filling choices that will help stop me from reaching for unnecessary snacks and processed foods full of additives. I will take that news about Prosecco being "healthy" with a generous pinch of salt. And, unless people ask, I will keep tales of my health and fitness journey to myself. Because nobody loves a diet or gym bore.

In short, I will treat my body with the love and respect it deserves and aim rewind the damage that a very stressful 2016 has caused. But I won't challenge myself to turn it up to 11 overnight. I'm telling you this now, so when you see me on Twitter or Instagram talking about signing up for the latest fad or challenge, you can point me back here and remind me what I said.

In 2017, slow and steady wins the race! Who's with me?

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