The Truth about healthy habits in 2015

Maybe it’s something to do with the average of 7,000 calories we Britons manage to put away on Christmas day alone, maybe it’s the alcohol-induced liver spasms following party season (or is that just me?), but it’s no surprise that the top New Year’s resolution for 2015 is to get healthy.

Whether that’s losing weight, stopping smoking, or going (back) to the gym, now is the time we start thinking about living healthier – admittedly, research shows that for the vast majority of us these resolutions don’t even make it to February but there are changes taking place that mean a healthier lifestyle is no longer just a pie-in-the-sky desire limited to a few days of lip-service in January.

Most of us believe we would benefit from living a healthier lifestyle, but the reason we struggle to make it stick is because the types of changes we’ve been attempting to make aren’t really what we wanted after all.

Changes in popular culture, consumer experience and product innovation are provoking a shift in our attitude to making healthier choices – in the simplest form this is marked by a move from ‘forced’ to ‘natural’ healthy behaviours, more about making choices we enjoy maintaining than compromises we don’t.

We’ve identified 12 key developments that brands need to be aware of in 2015 in order to understand better the opportunities opened up by this shift….

1. APP-etite for change

Consumers now track what they eat and how many calories they have burned using a string of mobile apps. Aiming to achieve a lifestyle or fitness goal, they use the data to make more informed, personalised decisions on food and exercise.

2. Healthy pleasures

Determined to prevent unhealthy foods from jeopardising their goals, consumers are turning to healthier alternatives that can equally satisfy their emotional and physical needs. The more healthy alternatives a consumer finds and enjoys, the easier it is to overcome their ‘naughty’ cravings.

3. Energy management

Aspiring to feel energised all day, every day, consumers love foods that give them energy. Whether it’s an afternoon boost or a slow-release breakfast, they use energy solutions to set and manage the tempo of their day rather than letting it control them.

4. Snack attacks

Nutritious, filling and portable, consumers adore snacks that help them towards their lifestyle goals while also keeping them satisfied until their next meal. Now better equipped to make or buy their perfect snack, consumers find this approach more sustainable than unhealthy snacking and more appealing than depriving themselves until their next meal.

5. Protein is king

Protein is the silver bullet for eating clean and getting lean. A healthy replacement for ‘fattening’ carbohydrates and a tasty partner for bland vegetables, consumers feel protein plays an essential role in helping them to enjoy living the healthy lifestyle. Everyone’s talking about it and so should you.

6. Carb-no

Carbohydrates’ media coverage has persuaded many consumers to expel it from their diet. Afraid of feeling bloated, gaining weight or increasing the risk of heart disease, consumers feel carbs will do more harm than good. Enjoying their new selves, they cannot imagine nor justify going back to their old ways. Carbs become a risk not worth taking and an indulgence that is not needed.

7. Listen to your body

Overwhelmed by conflicting information on what ‘clean’ and ‘healthy’ eating is, consumers are confused about what a sustainable diet looks like. With only their intuition to guide them, they are turning down what they might have heard and are tuning in to how their body feels, using this to evaluate the choice. This mindful experience continuously rewards them with immediate gratification when they have eaten well and warning signals when they haven’t.

8. Expert ease

Convinced the health and wellness industry is crowded with deceptive products and contradictory advice, consumers don’t know who to trust. Turning their back on brands, they’re trusting in themselves and their close network of friends to dissect readily available information and become their own experts.

9. Fit together

Being fit has never been so enjoyable or cool. There is something for everyone to enjoy, with enjoyment being key. Whether it’s socialising with friends over an evening run, training for a charity race or signing into an app that offers rewards every time they achieve their exercise targets, consumers thrive when they discover personally meaningful motivations that encourage them to exercise repeatedly for pleasure, for pain and, sometimes, the perfect mix of both. 

10. Feel-good factor

Tired of feeling starved, restricted and unable to lose weight, people have come to learn that a healthy lifestyle isn’t just about making sacrifices to look perfect but about feeling good. The idea of feeling good is more tangible, experiential and achievable than the concept of looking perfect. What’s more, feeling good is much more of a long-term concept and brings a level of self-comfort and confidence that results in far greater real happiness.

11. Experience is evidence

Disheartened by the overwhelming number of weight management solutions that have, over time, proven to be ineffective, consumers feel they can no longer trust product claims. Scared of trying another fad diet, they have set new criteria to filter out false claims and identify effective solutions. They have become more selective in their search, picking out products with compelling customer reviews, free product trials and money back guarantees.

12. ‘Happy’ weight

Conscious that celebrities are heavily photoshopped for magazines, consumers feel that aiming to look like them is unrealistic. Now working towards being the best version of themselves, they are scrapping weight goals defined by the media in favour of goals that optimise their energy levels, body functions, confidence and self-esteem.

Updated 30/01/14

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