'Set one goal, one healthy habit' for a feel-better 2019, trainer counsels

Angela Erickson, a body positive personal trainer and the owner of Fit Prairie Girl in Saskatoon, thinks people should focus on simple, healthy changes.

'Your pant size does not determine your worthiness'

Angela Erickson says instead of creating an aggressive New Year's resolution to focus on simple, healthy changes. (Alex Soloducha/CBC)

Perhaps the best New Year's resolution is no resolution at all.

It's all about the capabilities and abilities of our bodies.- Angela Erickson 

"We tend to go all in," said Angela Erickson in an interview with CBC Radio's Saskatoon Morning.

"We want to go to the gym, we want to increase our water, we want to eat healthier, and we want to just dive right into that all-encompassing health lifestyle."

It's a set-up to fail, she says.

Erickson, a body positive personal trainer and the owner of Fit Prairie Girl in Saskatoon, says that, instead, people should switch that focus away from aggressive resolutions to simple, healthy changes. 

"Set one goal, one healthy habit," she said.

Angela Erickson worries that too many people set themselves up to fail by setting achievable fitness goals for the New Year. (CBC)

But for Erickson, a new year should also bring with it a new attitude about what it means to be healthy.

"Your pant size does not determine your worthiness," she said.

Think confidence, not inches

It's a fundamental switch that Erickson promotes in her gym, asking people to leave behind workout goals that are centred on statistics such as size and weight, or that that are based on popular images of what healthy, fit people should look like.

Instead, she challenges women, in particular, to hit the gym with a goal of building a stronger body, and finding new confidence: "It's all about the capabilities and abilities of our bodies."

The other element in that shift, Erickson says, is reframing the associations that many people make between exercise and food. People should stop viewing exercise as some sort of punishment for making bad food choices. 

"Look at food as fuel … to help us feel good, and exercise as a joyful type of activity," she said.

Angela Erickson says many women are intimidated by lifting weights, but she asks them to embrace the strength and confidence that working out can bring to one's life. (CBC)

Just do it when you're ready 

Finally, Erickson adds, don't worry about the calendar. It's OK if you find yourself well into the new year doing all the things you said you wouldn't, and none of the things you said you would.

"Any time is a good time, it doesn't have to be Monday, it doesn't have to be Jan. 1 … it's just finding a time that feels right," she said.

"If you are super stressed right now and bogged down with work, it might not be a great time to dive into finding that one habit. Find a time where you feel like you are ready."

with files from Saskatoon Morning


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