We’ve just entered the second month of 2014 and if you’ve been following a healthy diet and new exercise regime you may be feeling like you need a bit of a boost to keep the momentum going.
If the scales aren’t showing the figures you’d quite hoped then now is a good time to reassess and find areas that could be letting you down.
Ask yourself if you’ve REALLY been following that diet as well as you could be. Are you writing EVERYTHING you eat down and making sure you stick to the calorie intake that enables you to meet your goals?* It’s amazing how many extra calories we consume just by ‘picking’ throughout the day! Also are you supporting your healthy eating with exercise? The two go hand in hand, and when combined correctly will meet those goals safely and effectively.
Pick fulfilling snacks
It’s also important to consider the empty calories you could be consuming. Whilst you may be staying within your recommended calorie intake, it could be that the food you are consuming is not providing you with the energy or nutritional values you need. Try and remember that food choices such as a slice of wholemeal bread with a thin layer of peanut butter are going to provide a much better form of energy (slow releasing, therefore keeping hunger pains at bay) than a biscuit (which will spike your sugar levels initially, shortly followed by an energy dip, ultimately making you feel more hungry and so the cycle continues…).
As well as exercise and diet, a great way to stay motivated is to use goals and incentives. As much as you hate that photo of you scoffing chips covered in mayonnaise on the beach last year, could that be the image that STOPS you diving into the fridge for a quick sugar fix? If so, then be brave. Place it on the fridge door so it reminds you why it is you’re doing this. It will all be worth it when you feel and look great in this years’ beach photo!
You could also try giving yourself incentives every time you reach another milestone in your journey. How about treating yourself to a beauty treatment or a new aftershave when you reach your first stone of weight loss or reach 3k in a run without stopping? It gives you something to look forward to and stops the constant feeling that you’re being deprived of anything nice in life!
Keep track of your results
It’s really important that you can SEE the results so don’t forget to take photos and measurements of your body. The scales should not be your only indicator of how well you’re doing. As your body transforms through exercise it will build muscle. By taking body measurements and photos you’ll really notice how well you’re doing, making you feel more motivated to stay on track.
Finally, no one is saying staying healthy is easy. It’s a journey of commitment and determination and you need the constant support of family and friends to keep you on track. And even when you reach your goal (that 5K or 10K run, losing 2 stone in weight…) you’ll need to find a strategy that keeps you healthy for life. So whether you’re doing this to elongate your life, to be able to run around after your children without feeling like your lungs will explode, to stop an alarming health risk that’s knocking on the door or simply to build your confidence…then IT IS WORTH IT!
Ask yourself what you will regret more? Taking this journey, knuckling down, proving you can commit and make a change for the better, or being someone who never took the journey at all?
*For safe and sustainable weight loss you should aim for a loss of 1-2lbs per week. In energy terms this equates 3,500-7,000 Kcals per week. If you average this out over the week then you’re looking for a calorie deficit of 500-700 Kcals per day. This should come from a reduction in calorie intake as well as an increase in exercise. I would suggest looking to burn 250-350 kcals through exercise (this could be walking the dog, housework, an exercise class etc.) and a 250-350 kcals reduction through diet.