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Cynthia Onyekwere: Four Reasons you May Not Achieve your New Year Body Goals

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So it’s a new year and you are super excited about doing a lot of exploits in your career, business, studies, finances, and relationship or marriage. All of a sudden, you see so many sponsored ads on Instagram offering deals on helping you achieve your body goals. You suddenly realize you are not comfortable with your weight and dress size. Still basking in the excitement of the new near, you quickly add body goals to the list of goals for 2021 and set a target of losing 5kg monthly.

To achieve your set body goals, you subscribe to health and fitness plans, purchase packs of detox as well as slimming teas, and you engage the services of a weight loss coach to guide you. In the process, a lot of money changes hands but you are not bothered because, as it is said in local parlance, ‘soup wey sweet na money kill am.’ All is set and you move but sadly, your weight does not move! When your enthusiasm has worn off, you feel frustrated and conclude that ‘body goals’ is a scam. Before you reach such damaging conclusions, here are four reasons your body goals may be far from becoming a reality in this new year:

You set unrealistic goals

There are certain goals that are simply impractical and unachievable. One way of avoiding shelved wellness plans is to set realistic and achievable body goals. It is not bad to aspire for more or put in extra effort, however, these goals should be in line with your body structure, overall health status, work schedule, and some other factors.

A classic example is a first-time mum working a 9-5 job who sets a goal of 1-hour workout daily in order to lose her postpartum weight. This mum has a 9-month-old baby and has to wake up by 5 AM, leave home by 6 AM, and, at the end of the day get home by 7 PM because she had to go pick up her baby from the daycare facility and endure terrible traffic as well. She will bathe, feed, and put her baby to sleep in between preparing dinner and finally goes to bed by 10 PM after performing za oza room duties.

The cycle goes on daily for 5 days a week. There is certainly no way she can achieve her goal. If she attempts it, her body will revolt. A simple way around it is to start small and then raise the bar as you make progress, for example, target 15 minutes of workout daily then gradually increase by 5 minutes every day until you get to 30 to 45 minutes per day. Also, aim to lose 500g in the first week and double your target the following week. This would save you from unnecessary frustrations that come with unfulfilled goals.

You expect instant results

Many of us are in the habit of looking at our tummies in the mirror the moment we are done with our tummy-targeted exercises hoping to have lost several inches of belly fat. Ironically, our measuring tapes say otherwise. When it comes to health, there is no magic involved. You did not gain all that weight in one month, how then do you expect to lose it in a month? Even other health conditions such as elevated blood pressure and blood sugar levels are not controlled by the snap of the fingers. They make take a little more time than you expected. Some ‘health coaches’ may promise rapid transformations, however, some of their methods are extreme with unsustainable outcomes and adverse health effects. For your body goals to be successful in this new year, you need to be patient, motivated, and consistent.

You are learning from a bad teacher

There are so many people who may offer to help you achieve your body goals. They have different titles – health coach, fitness coach, certified nutrition, wellness expert, and so on. While some have been really helpful, others have done more harm than good. As a senior dietitian currently working at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, I have had to help several men, women, and children recover from the complications of harmful meal plans given to them by people who obviously did not understand the science and art involved in achieving health and body goals. So, as you proceed on your health journey this year, be sure that you are being guided by the right person to avoid taking five steps forward and ten steps backward.

You are doing this for the wrong reasons

Why are you setting body goals? Is it because everyone is doing it? Maybe because it’s a new year or perhaps while trying to declutter your wardrobe, you came across some of your expensive designer dresses that no longer fit but you just could not let them go. It is good to want a banging body, after all, you will get to slay in whatever outfit you choose. However, there is a major reason for wanting to have healthy body weight and that is to achieve a healthier you! Therefore, as you draw up your body goals this year, your actions should be geared towards achieving overall wellness. It will not only give you that great body you desire, but it will also help to keep non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, and cancer far away from you. In addition, you will appreciate the process because you know that you are in it for the long term and not the short term. With that realization comes peace of mind.

A new year comes with so much hope and gives us renewed energy to conquer the world. It is that time of the year we set out to do a whole lot of things and topping that list is achieving our body goals. Few months down the line, we are slowed down by both internal and external factors. Even the most highly motivated individuals on the planet have low moments that make them doubt themselves, so to avoid the frustrations that come with unfulfilled plans, you need to set realistic health goals, be patient, work with the right professional, and be sure to set body goals for the right reasons.

Cheers to a healthier you.




Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Cynthia Onyekwere is a registered dietitian who is very passionate about nutrition education. She is the founder of Dietarywise - an online nutrition platform through which she teaches people about healthy eating to promote wellness and prevent diet-related diseases. As a nutrition expert, she has helped several individuals, groups and communities live their best lives through informed dietary choices. Cynthia currently works as a senior dietitian at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi-araba, Lagos. You can connect with her on her Instagram account @dietarywise

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