As both of us embark on our new healthy regimes, I thought it might be useful to remember the basics I stuck to all those years ago.
Come up with a plan
What are your aims? What are you going to do? How are you going to do it? Do you research, there are plenty of plans on the internet. If you need structure use them, if you don't write your own plan.
Exercise will propel your weight loss plans. Find something that works for you. Remember anything is better than doing nothing. Even if it is just 20 minutes here and there. Be realistic, don't force yourself to do something you know you won't do. I used to be able to get up at 6am to do exercise, but as I don't start work until 10am it doesn't really work now. Go to the gym/run on your lunch break, do whatever it takes to squeeze some exercise in.
Be honest with yourself
Make a food journal. It will force you to add the handle full of treats from the office kitchen or all the nibbling you did before dinner (I'm sorry it does count). I'm not an advocate of calorie counting but I think it's useful to know what you are eating. Read the labels, don't just look at the number of calories. Pay attention to salts and sugars as well. Salt = water rentention and sugar turns into fat. Low calorie does not mean low in sugar. Also we all love a weekend treat, but don't go overboard!
Find your weak spots
Find out when you most likely to grab a cookie or a packet of crisps. Have a snack ready for these hunger attacks. Mine are at 11am and 4pm, so I will always ensure I have a healthier snack on hand.
Watch the empty calories
This is the pot calling the kettle black but the booze and fizzy drinks calories can really add up. Sometimes I find it useful to have a reward system. If I've worked out a certain number of times in the week, I'm allowed those 2 glasses (I wish it was just 2) of wine at the weekend. Gin and vodka are great but I really crave wine and beer. If you are going to indulge have one glass of wine and enjoy it. I've started allowing myself 4 drinks on a night out. It definitely helps the hangover and the empty calories.
Roll up roll up
Sign up to a class or an event. Having it scheduled means you are much more likely to stick to it/train for it. Drag a friend along with you. The guilt factor will definitely help. I ensure my friends text me when they've worked out, which pushes me to do the same.
What works for someone else may not work for you. We are all different shapes/weights. Just because your friend can eat a croissant every day for breakfast doesn't mean you can. But you can be bitter about it and sob into your green tea.
Be realistic with your goals. If you starve yourself then you are more likely to binge later on. Yes, you might feel better reducing your carb in take but make sure you replace them with protein or fats. The Body Coach is pretty shit hot at nutrition, check him out.
Give it time
One bad meal doesn't make you fat and one good meal doesn't make you thin. Stay focused and lay off the scales. It might take a few weeks to see some progress but you'll get there. I get easily disheartened especially after a week or near perfect eating and exercise. But I have a theory that whatever you do in the week, you see the week after. Remember that.
If you cut out alcohol and food you are likely to be cutting out your friends too. Plan for the days that might be tricky and allow yourself to indulge. If you want to be a bikini/fitness model, you can definitely do it, but if you're not so bothered then the odd treat won't hurt. Back in the day I would allow myself one meal a week where I could have what I wanted (within reason). This helped curb those cravings and give me something to look forward to.
Take photos and measurements
The scales lie. They do. *Chucks them in the bin* In the past photos have really helped me see the difference in my training/dieting even when the scales were showing nothing. Measurements are also useful for documenting your progress, much more effective than weighing yourself.
Changing your lifestyle habits is HARD, but if it is something you really want, then it will be worth it in the end. Give yourself a break when times are hard and willpower is low, but maybe steer clear of the biscuits.
Read more about our healthy regimes here