Smart fitness and eating tips
As you can imagine running Muddy, I get sent loads of info from various businesses and their PRs, and the sheer volume of emails means that I’ve become adept at working out when to press the delete button, often in the first paragraph!
One email that was immediately favourited rather than sent to its virtual death today was one from Sandra Brooks, the Thame-based PT I mentioned a few weeks back, who was a Muddy finalist in this year’s Awards, and who has just started an online health, fitness and well-being (and if you want, weightloss) programme called Dropit21.
As a subscriber to her newsletter, I received the advice (below) in my in-box this morning and thought it was just great – sensible, positive, helpful tips in well-written bite-sized chunks. I read it and just felt empowered, so I thought I’d pass it on. If you’re trying to reboot your life, fitness, body shape or health, hopefully it will help you too.
1. You have the power all along!
It is a very empowering and liberating moment when you realise that the power to lose weight / get fit is completely in your hands. Not a pill. Not a fad diet. Not a gimmick. The only thing that can change you is you. So write down your weight loss / fitness goals and plan how you are going to achieve them. YOU are in control and YOU have to make it happen. There are plenty of people around to assist you, but the decision and control has to come from within.
2. Patience is critical
We spend years – decades – establishing bad habits that eventually lead us to where we are at the present. However, when we want to lose weight / get fit we want it immediately. Agree? Well, I have learned that it does not work that way nor should we expect it to. Sustainable weight loss / fitness is all about creating a new lifestyle and that takes time. It is a process that has its ups, downs, and plateaus. It is important to accept that and be patient with yourself as you move through the process.
Everyone is different. Some people may be able to move a little faster through the process, but for others it will take time. Make your goals realistic.
3. Planning ahead is a must
I am sure this will come as no surprise. You MUST plan your food menu and exercise ahead of time. This is an absolute must. We are all very busy people. We have a million things to remember every day and it is easy to forget things like eating healthy and exercise when life gets crazy. Planning ahead of time makes it much easier to keep a healthy lifestyle. It helps you think about and be intentional with the foods you are eating, when you eat, and finding the time to exercise.
Of course, life happens and plans get changed, but the more you plan the more intentional you are about food and exercise. Because of this your healthy lifestyle should become habit making and therefore easier to bounce back when you get off track.
4. Food matters
Whether you have fitness or weight loss goals food is key. You need to fuel your body correctly to enable you to train effectively or to lose weight. The quality of your food is essential. Research will tell you that it is irrelevant the amount of food you are eating, you need to concentrate on WHAT that food is. You need to remove processed foods from your diet and focus on eating more wholesome real foods. What I would call “clean eating”. (If this is something that interests you then check out DROPiT21. This programme isn’t necessarily just for those who wish to lose weight. A lot of people are using it to kick in to touch their sugar addictions too.
5. Exercise makes all the difference
If you have fitness goals. Set out what they are? How are you going to reach them? How will you measure your achievements? Plan your exercise regime around those fitness goals. It could be that you want to be able to run up the stairs without getting out of breath? It could be you want to be able to go on a family bike ride without dreading it? Are you running one of the Race for Life’s this year and you wish to be able to run it, rather than the walk you did last year? You want to do Thame 10K in under 50 mins? Your goals are your goals, they are individual. You need to tailor your exercise regime to enable you to achieve them.
If you are looking for weight loss, then you need to up the intensity of your exercise. HIIT (high intensity interval training) is the most proven method to assist weight loss.
6. Discipline is more important than willpower
The last lesson you need to learn is that having discipline is much more important than willpower. I know this might sound weird because willpower is used so frequently in the weight loss / fitness world. Willpower is only really necessary when you are in a situation where you may not be fully in control. In weight loss for example, when you go to a party or social occasion where there are going to be lots of treats and goodies there. This is when you need to tap into you willpower. You can still enjoy the food but willpower helps you keep it under control. In fitness, willpower is what you tap into to push yourself that little bit harder in classes, push yourself to run that bit faster along the Phoenix Trail. It’s your willpower that makes you dig that bit deeper.
Whereas discipline is about intentionally creating an environment that supports your new lifestyle so you don’t have to depend on willpower. For example, taking the time to menu plan, making your meals ahead of time, and prioritizing exercise are examples of being disciplined. When you are disciplined it helps to form habits. So even though you may not always feel like planning your menu, prepping meals in advance, or putting that training session/class in your diary you do it anyway because you know it will help you make healthier decisions – that is being disciplined.