Spring is on its way, and with any luck the sun is shining where you are. You may feel that your New Year’s resolutions to lose weight did not go exactly to plan, or perhaps you didn’t bother making any. However, now that it’s time to wear fewer clothes, you may well be worried about shedding layers and exposing your body to the world.
The good news is that it is never too late to get started when you’re on a mission to look your best. Read our ten tips and start getting in shape for the summer right now.
If you want to shape up, exercise, lose weight, or get fit, then you’ll find that accountability is the key to both short term and long term success. You are far more likely to stick to your plans if you have someone else who is cheering you on, and wants to see you make progress. You can use your partner as an accountability buddy, or choose a friend, a training partner or a fitness professional. It can be far easier to work in tandem with someone else who has the same goals as you, so buddy up!
If you’re serious about shaping up, take an hour or so to clear your cupboards of all the junk food, sugary snacks etc., all the things that are bad for you, so that you are not exposed to anything that tempts you to indulge. You can give tins of food away to charities which will prevent waste, and if you have a tendency to buy all the wrong things whenever you’re in the supermarket, why not set up a system and order online?
Constantly weighing yourself is stressful. You are judgemental about what you have achieved, and on those weeks when you hardly lose any weight, the disappointment may well have you racing for the nearest take-away. Remember that many factors influence short-term weight measurements (such as hydration, and the time of day you weigh yourself etc.) so if you must weigh yourself, do it with consistency on the same day each week, at the same time. Better still, trust in yourself.
Re-energise yourself with a healthy breakfast, because this will help your body to burn calories more efficiently throughout the day, believe it or not. Research suggests that people who eat breakfast have lower body weights and are less likely to gain weight compared to those who skip breakfast. A healthy breakfast should contain a mix of wholegrain carbohydrates, reduced fat dairy, and fruit and vegetables.
While you definitely want to shape up for summer, you really don’t have to see any changes you make as a prison sentence. Don’t give up everything you love to eat. Instead, scrutinise how much and how often you do eat. Don’t swear off chocolate for life, because it won’t last and then you’ll feel guilty. Instead just eat less. Eat high fat foods seldom, and healthy foods often.
The simplest way to eat healthily is to imagine your plate is split into four areas. Half of the plate should be full of non-starchy vegetables and salad, such as peas, broccoli, tomato, lettuce, greens etc. A quarter of the plate can be filled with carbohydrates, such as rice, pasta, wholegrain bread etc., and the remaining quarter of the plate can be taken up by protein, including lean meat, chicken, eggs, cheese, etc. Get the balance right and eat more of the healthy stuff. Cut down on the fat, sugar and salt and add herbs and spices to make your food taste great.
You would be surprised at the calorie level of most drinks, so while you may have sorted your diet, have you thought about what you are drinking? A medium latte has between 150 - 250 Kcals, while a large glass of red wine has 228 Kcal, and a pint of beer around 250 Kcal. Do you think fruit smoothies are better for you? Think again. A regular strawberry and banana smoothie contains 250 - 300 Kcal. Where possible stick to water, black coffee and herbal tea.
There are 168 hours in a week, and you may well decide to exercise for three of them. Unfortunately, this is not enough to keep you lean and healthy. If you want to make a real difference to your physicality and fitness, you need to increase your NEAT.
NEAT stands for non-exercise activity thermogenesis and essentially it means, boosting your calorie consumption by incorporating more activity into your daily routine. You can do this by walking to work, cleaning vigorously, walking the dog briskly, taking the stairs instead of an elevator, dancing to music on the radio, doing step ups during the adverts on the TV. In fact, every moment you get of wasted time, you could be thinking of ways to burn more calories.
At least three times a week, engage in exercise that gets your heart pumping. Many trainers suggest that twenty minutes of cardio per day is optimal to help tone your body. You can do a workout at home if you have the space, simply incorporate sit-ups, lunges, star jumps and squats. Ideally you should do this before breakfast, and it will set you up for the day.
Exercising can become tedious very quickly. With this in mind, make sure you are doing something different every day. You can train in a gym or swim, exercise at home, jog or walk outside, try exercise classes, or cycle. Keep your heart rate up, and try to incorporate stretching and strength exercises too.
If you need a little extra support with your plans for shaping up to summer, we have the perfect Bach flowers mix for you. Bach flowers mix 51 for weight loss can help you to change your eating habits, and increase your self-discipline when you’re finding it difficult to meet your personal goals. Mix 51 gives you courage when you want to give up, patience when you don't see an immediate result, and will help you to avoid those silly feelings of guilt when you forget an exercise class, or eat something you said you wouldn’t.
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