Not Sure where to start?
There are so many different diets and exercise programs out there, and so many are conflicting. The best thing you can do is do your research and make a choice. Don’t worry if a programme you try doesn’t work for you; you can always try something else as everyone is different. What works for your friend or someone else may not work for you. It may take some time to get it right, be patient you will get there if you keep going; this is your long-term health, not a quick fix. Get professional help if you need to. Make sure you ditch the scales, get a tape measure and get your body fat measured, take progress pictures and use a mirror.
Don’t do too much, too soon.
Remember the term baby steps; make small changes over time. As an example, just by cutting back on sugar refined foods and fizzy drinks is a start. Then you can think about introducing more fruit, vegetables and drink more water once you’ve conquered your first step. Change is hard, make small gradual changes and build on that. The last thing you want to do is rush things and set unrealistic timeframes and goals. Keep a food and workout diary so you can’t lie to yourself, it’s known that keeping track of your progress is the best way to success.
You do great for five days, then crash for the next five days or so, and then you start again (usually on a Monday). Don’t worry too much about the odd day here and there, we are only human, and you’re not going to undo all your hard work in a couple of days. But, having a week off here and there is going to undo some of last week’s hard work. Think of how well you did, and how proud you were when you felt great and saw results in the mirror. Keep reminding yourself of how great that feels, and keep visual images of your goals in site to help keep you on track.
Avoid the extremes of binging and then starving yourself, you’re going to play havoc with your metabolism. If you do binge, which can happen, don’t starve yourself after, just get back on track with healthy eating (any day of the week, not just on a Monday). Do some exercise and don’t dwell on it, learn from how rubbish you may have felt, remember what triggered it, avoid that feeling in the future.
You’re eating more than you should, without realising.
Even if you are eating healthy, if you’re not in a calorie deficit you’re not going to burn away that excess fat. If you have too much fat, that means you have been consuming more calories than your body uses, which has made your body store the excess calories as fat. Check portion sizes, use measuring devices and use smaller plates. Work out how much you should be consuming a day and keep a food dairy.
Don’t overcompensate for exercise either, and don’t be tempted to reward yourself with an edible treat after a workout. You’re just going to increase your calorie intake, which can lead to fat gain and undo all your hard work. Don’t overestimate how much you may have worked off.
You’re not eating enough.
Not eating enough and skipping meals will make it very difficult for you to shed those extra pounds. Your body will go into starvation mode; this is your body’s way of protecting its self. It will hoard anything you eat and store it away as fat, and slow down your metabolism by burning your muscle for fuel first, this will make it very difficult to lose excess fat.
Too many empty calories, hidden calories and calorific drinks.
These include fizzy drinks and liquid calories. Every calorie counts, and you may not realise how many calories are in your soft drinks and alcoholic beverages and don’t account for them, even that milk and sugar you just put in your coffee.
Remember to count the butter and dressings you add to your food, etc. Be aware of mindless eating, how many times did you reach into that bag of sweets or chocolate while watching TV without noticing?
Resisting temptation is the hardest; do you want that waste on your waistline? If you want to snack on delicious chocolates and treats now and then, set a day aside and allow yourself one free/cheat/refeed/reward meal without the guilt, that’s how most of us keep sane. Think, “I can have it, just not until later” this will allow you to keep on track and learn discipline. Trust me it does get easier, either that or you just get better.
You’re not exercising.
A sedentary lifestyle isn’t good for your health, but if you are trying to lose those extra pounds, exercise will help greatly as well as improve overall health. Starting at 20 minutes a day is something, and you can build on that as fitness improves. Get a home workout DVD, go for a brisk walk/jog/run, get a personal trainer, join a gym, go to a local dance class, go swimming, martial arts, the list goes on. There are so many ways to incorporate fitness into your life, keep it fresh and varied.
You’re too tired, I’ll go tomorrow, I’ll wait until Monday, I’m too busy, I’ll wait until after the party. Those are just some examples of excuses, sure sometimes it can’t be helped. You have to take responsibility and not blame it on others or situations; you’re only cheating yourself. How much do you want this? Now take charge of your life, no excuses, you want this! Set goals, make plans and make it happen!