Have you lived life and now you’re full? Don’t beat yourself up about it. Use this guilt and turn it into enthusiasm to become a leaner, healthier and happier you for 2018 and beyond.
Getting fit and healthy is so much more than joining the gym, giving up booze or taking on the latest fad-diet for January. These actions are short-lived because our habits are very much engrained and take more to overcome. A good starting point is a longer-term approach which starts with looking at your lifestyle and reflect on areas that need improving. Then put some strategies in place, try and tweak them until you find that happy balance so you are still living life to the full without feeling full!
Do you exercise less than 3 hours a week?
If you aren’t moving for at least 30 minutes a day, then you need to! Here are three areas to factor into your regime:
1. cardio – your heart is a muscle and needs exercising. Brisk walking, running, indoor cycling, biking, and even daily chores that require a little oomph are vital.
2. resistance/strength training – this means putting our muscles under stress so that they get stronger, which is especially important if you are over 30. You can use your bodyweight and the ever so popular HIIT training – that said, I always favour using some sort of heavy equipment that puts your muscles under pressure.
3. flexibility – keeping our muscles stretched out helps to prevent injuries. Look at yoga, pilates or mind, body & soul classes.
Do you have a muffin top?
If you’re exercising and still sporting a muffin top, then you’re eating and drinking too much. Time to get a food app and note down EVERYTHING you eat and drink. Soon you’ll realise where your bad habits lie and make the right changes. Try MyfitnessPal and see the difference.
Are you snacking between meals?
What snacks are these? High fat, salt or sugar treats like cakes, biscuits and crisps? Ditch them altogether (or for special occasions only) and opt for more nutrient dense alternatives like plain yoghurt, nuts, seeds, fruits and veg. I make my own batches of treats which I then freeze and have as a mid-afternoon or post workout snack. Check out my orange chocolate muffins.
Do you wake up with a hangover? Ouch!
Alcohol can be lots of fun but comes with a health warning. A hangover means you’re drinking to excess which is damaging your liver (and won’t help shift that belly). Plan your nights out wisely and opt for small glasses of wine or half pints to reduce your alcohol intake. Clear spirits are a better option too. Commit to only drinking certain nights of the week or on special occasions. Try not to drink on an empty stomach and drink water throughout your evening.
Do you drink less than 1 litre of water a day?
This is so common and yet water is vital for our bodies. Before you go to bed, fill a pint glass of filtered water and have it by your bed. As soon as you wake up, drink the whole pint to set you up for the day. As a guide you should drink 1ml for each kcal you burn, so if you’re expending 1500kcals daily you need around 1.5l of water. Watch caffeinated drinks like tea/coffee as these are diuretics which could mean you are losing water. Aim for 1-2 cups per day (although non-caffeinated herbal and fruit teas are fine).
Do you eat what you like in restaurants – including chips and dessert?
If you know that a night out is going to be filled with over indulgence then consider how you can compensate this throughout the day. For example, if you’ve got a dinner that will include a 3 course meal, then limit what you eat during the day. A couple of protein shakes will see you through – however if that’s not enough for you then opt for a piece of protein (meat/fish or eggs with some veg/salad). This then gives you a little more wiggle room to enjoy your meal out.
Are you waking up throughout the night?
Sleep is the time that our body repairs itself, so broken sleep doesn’t help. If you are going to sleep with lights on, constantly checking your mobile or watching TV then you’re not allowing your body to switch off. You need to set a time where you have some quiet. My go-to is radio 4 on low volume. Before I know it I’m fast asleep.
If you are someone who drinks lots of tea, coffee or caffeinated drinks then limit them to morning only and no more than two cups. You’ll be amazed at how good you’ll sleep.
If you wake up stressed about work, have a pen and paper next to you and write lists so that you don’t forget. Once it’s written down you can forget about it.
Is your work deskbound and surrounded by sweets?
The office environment is the hardest place for being healthy as colleagues often bring in sweets or cakes. So either take your own healthy option, abstain or, better still, use the support of those colleagues around you who regularly shun the sugar. They will love nothing more than to help you.
These simple recommendations are the tip of the iceberg. What strategies will you be adopting? Why not share them so that we can build a happy, healthy Tooting for 2018 and beyond!