Summer is coming….. The thought of putting on a summer dress or even a bikini sends you into a panic. But then so does the idea of beginning a diet or an exercise program which will make you miserable, depriving you of wine and chocolate and all your other favourites vices that get you through your hectic lifestyle running around after the kids, juggling work, housework, PTA meetings and whatever other crazy commitments you thought you’d get involved in! Not to mention fitting in exercise and eating!!
Obesity and over eating has been a hot topic in the news lately. The Independent reported that by 2030 there will be 26 million people in the UK who are obese. Could this be that people have tried diets and lose weight for a while but then go back to their old habits and pile the weight back on? Or is it that people start an exercise program and then lose interest because they don’t achieve the results they want.
Rather than viewing your current eating as a diet and exercise as a program you follow you should try to view them both as your healthy and fit lifestyle. The idea of a diet or exercise program refers to something short term to get to a certain result before going back to previous habits – this also implies a level of restriction or deprivation which is what people tend to rebel against. It is important to adopt a new mindset to enjoy eating and exercising in a way that will fit into your lifestyle and be sustainable long term. I think the most important thing to maintaining a healthy lifestyle is BALANCE – it will only be sustainable if you have the right mindset and if it is realistic within your lifestyle. It is important to understand the types of foods that are better for us and to make the right choices when it comes to cooking and eating but also to allow yourself to enjoy food and have treats but in moderation.
Instead of setting yourself a certain weight loss goal over a few weeks or a dress size, try to think of it as a way of life and that your results will come gradually over time. Obviously the stricter you are with your food and exercise the quicker you may see significant results, however the most important thing is the long term change in your eating habits and if you have a bad day, forget it, reset it and start again. Remember you are after results not perfection.
Exercise isn’t just about losing body fat it’s about the bigger picture of health. If you struggle to motivate yourself, try training with a friend who has similar goals in mind. Choose exercise that fits into your life – it doesn’t have to be hours of training at the gym – 15-30 minutes 3 times a week at home is plenty to get you active. The key is to find what you enjoy and keep it varied.
Cooking and eating or preparing food at home can also help you to control what you are eating and what goes into your meals. Planning and preparing meals in advance is key to staying on track and not getting caught out, grabbing something like a takeaway on the run. However, we all like to eat out so when possible try to prepare yourself and look at the menu before you arrive at the restaurant so that you choose something more sensible before you’re sitting waiting and hungry!
Sometimes we don’t even realise what we are eating and it can be a real eye opener to keep a food diary over a few days. It may show you any bad habits that have crept in and allow you to tweak your habits again.
Resetting your appetite is a great way to introduce new habits to your eating without feeling deprived and these small changes can make a massive difference to how you feel. Go for Low GI foods – making you feel fuller for longer – the lower the GI the more sustained you’ll feel for longer. Swap white rice for brown, processed cereals for oats, regular white potatoes for sweet potatoes.
Are you drinking enough water? Hydration plays a very important part in a healthy lifestyle – it affects many processes in the body and also the body’s ability to exercise to its optimum. Hunger pangs can also be mistaken for thirst so try reaching for water first before food. Herbal teas and lemon water can be a great alternative to plain water.
Snack between meals! This can also help with preventing us from overeating at mealtimes- choosing a healthier snack like nuts rather than cakes and biscuits will make you feel satisfied for longer rather than giving you a quick sugar rush of empty calories.
Positive Support and Coaching to help you understand which are the right foods and exercises to suit you and your lifestyle is the key to successfully changing it into a sustainable way of life. Our 8 week program coaches and supports whilst educating you about food and exercise and the journey doesn’t stop after 8 weeks – that is just the beginning – by the end you will feel confident in choosing the right foods and exercise that suit you. You will know how to recover from a bad day and you will find that there are better tastier alternatives that will feel like a treat! Remember 80% good and 20% bad – it works because we know it’s important to still enjoy life AND be healthy!