You do not have to exercises 6 days a week for an hour
You do not have to diet strictly and cut food groups
You do not have to go on a detox to lose the weight fast
You don’t have to skip social occasions cause you are “dieting”
When it comes to making fitness and nutrition changes, it can be pretty overwhelming, there is just so much information out their, and we are naturally drawn towards things that bring us instant gratification, it can be hard to see outside this and find a different path of long term habit and behaviour changes, but today I want to share with you a few changes you can add in to your week, that make it all seem a lot less overwhelming, but still put you on the best path towards your health and fitness goals.
1. Commit to making just one meal a bit healthier.
I often work with clients who want to do everything all at once. This rarely works for most people, instead you need to start with just a small change, one thing at a time is much less daunting than 10 things at once. Ask yourself: ‘What’s the meal that will have the biggest impact on my goals if I change it?’ And start there.
2. Don’t make any food off-limits.
When a food is off-limits (restricted) it becomes MUCH more appealing. And if guilt is involved and you do end up eating that food, the screw-it-I’ve-already-had-a-bite-and-ruined-everything-so-I’m-going-to-eat-the-entire-tub mentality appears. Instead, give yourself permission to get pleasure & fun from food. Just make sure you’re enjoying treats mindfully because you really want them, rather than just because they are there in front of you & available.
3. Try not to make all your work breaks snack-based.
Lots of people like to take a break from work by getting up to grab a snack, this isn’t necessarily because they feel hungry (you could actually be thirsty) but just because they need to step away from their desk for a break. Instead of eating when you’re not hungry, get up, have some water, and say hello to a co-worker on the way back, or just walk outside for a breath of fresh air, or do some stretches. You’ll de-stress and forget about the snack you didn’t really want in the first place.
4. When it comes to starting (or returning) to exercise, less is more.
Don’t go right into doing extreme workouts, or everyday. Instead set yourself up for success by making sure you can hit the gym twice per week regularly for three to four weeks before you say you’re going to go four to five times per week. Building habit is what is really needed in the initial stages, showing up to the gym even for 10 minutes is building a habit, start slow and build on it. It takes 3-4 weeks at least to build a new habit & behaviour.
5. Spend time around people who are seriously hell-bent on achieving their goals.
Be courageous, join a community or tribe of people who have similar goals and then crush them all together! When you don’t have people holding you accountable, It’s easy to ghost on yourself — have you ever set a goal and kept it a secret, so when you didn’t accomplish it, no one really knew? We’ve all done it, I certainly have.
But having a team of people who want what you want will inspire you to keep SHOWING UP when the going gets tough. This is why a supportive gym community can be such an important part of your journey.
6. Aim to make water your go-to beverage.
Try swapping out at least one sugary or alcoholic drink (wine, beer, soda, juice, sweetened coffee drinks, etc.) per day with just water, you can even add some fruit like strawberries, raspberries or cucumber to your water for a touch of flavour. As you get used to having more water and fewer alcoholic beverages or sugary drinks, try to keep making the swap until water is your primary go-to drink throughout the day. Bonus: It’ll help digestion, fat loss & overall health skyrocket too & you’ll feel great.
7. Get into strength training.
Cardio tends to get all of the praise a lot of the time, but strength training helps you build lean muscle, which in turn helps you burn more calories (which also means eat more food). If you really want to see results, be sure to include a few days of strength training into your weekly mix. Changing your overall body composition with strength training will help you long term maintain a healthy body fat percentage. Plus feeling strong is badass. Weight are just the bomb.
8. Keep accountable to your workouts have a plan, make them your top priority, unmissable items.
I find the most effective way to ensure I get my workout in is to know what I intend to do each day (i.e. follow a structured progressive program). If I go to the gym unsure of what I will be doing I would be distracted, have poor time management and generally get nothing done. Not only do I follow a program, but I record my sessions, weights, reps, time etc so I am accountable to myself (and my coach), which means mentally it makes me harder to miss a workout because I will be behind on my journey towards my goals.
I’ve found that making the small mental adjustment of thinking of your workout as something you plan to do vs. something you hope to do is the difference between doing it and bailing on it. Another behaviour change to adapt.
9. Say bye-bye to the whole idea of perfection.
Think of ‘fail’ as ‘F.A.I.L.,’ an acronym that stands for ‘first attempt in learning.’ The fastest way to torpedo your efforts to be healthier is to expect to be perfect and then be crushed when that doesn’t happen. Try to change your approach to lifestyle changes from ‘winning’ to ‘learning,’ you’ll make mistakes you’re just human but use these as lessons for next time and do something different the next time. Take what you learn and use it to re evaluate your goals, you’ll be working with more realistic goals you can actually achieve.
As an example, what people think is a tablespoon of nut butter, ends up being two (if not) more tablespoons (I am so guilty of this). When you start to measure your food and begin to understand what a 1/2 cup of rolled oats or 110g of chicken breast actually looks like, it becomes readily apparent how much you’ve been OVERestimating your food intake.
10. Whatever you do, don’t do a detox or cleanse
They can potentially wreak havoc on your body and be very unhealthy. Be wary of products that promote weight loss after a ‘7-day detox’ or a ’30-day liver cleanse. Marketers strategically construct these ridiculous & expensive products and sell people on the notion that they’ll somehow become, thinner, more shredded, healthier, and look like the model on the label after using such products. IT’S ALL BS please don’t get sucked in a waste all your money.
11. Get some coaching.
Find an experienced, understanding, empathic professional coach and let them help you find your next plan; they can create habits and practices that’ll work within your probably crazy, probably complex, probably overcommitted lifestyle.
Truth is there’s no one simple trick that will work, in every life situation. So, run away, fast, from someone who tells you otherwise. But run towards people that can provide the right guidance, education and support. They’ll save you years of false starts, frustration, and disappointment.
12. Instead of setting goals for how you want to look, set goals for how strong, fast, or fit you want to feel.
I am obsessed with performance-based goals. It is so much easier to do a fitness/strength program long term when you base your goals on strength or conditioning rather than just physical goals like weight. Keep a workout diary to track so that I know exactly what progress you’ve made. This kind of progress tracking keeps me disciplined & motivated to crush my goals.
13. Learn about serving sizes and figure out how much you’re actually eating.
Because most people don’t really know how much they eat throughout the day and where that puts them calorie-wise, we generally end up eating way more than we want or expect. Yes its annoying at the start but it’s helpful to measure your food so you can have a better appreciation for how much food you’re actually eating. This doesn’t have to be a forever kind of thing; measuring food can be tedious. Just do it for a week or two to get a sense of how much you’re actually eating. You’ll often surprise yourself with the extra calories that sneak in.
14. Finally, check in with yourself about whether this new eating & training plan will make you happier.
If the answer is no, look for something else that does sound achievable and enjoyable for YOU personally. If you’re unhappy with a diet, you won’t stick with it, but if a healthy eating lifestyle feels natural, fits with your lifestyle and its just comfortable you’ll be more able to maintain it long term which is the only way to achieve your goals.
If you are starting out on a health and fitness journey please make sure you find something that suits your current lifestyle and aligns with your values, find something or someone who can guide you an the easiest, happiest path towards your goals, it shouldn’t be a painful journey.