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Us women promise ourselves every January that this will be the year we lose those dreaded extra lbs, because who doesn’t want to resemble a Victoria’s Secret Angel by the time summer comes around? More often than not, plenty of people don’t stick to it, and I used to be one of them. It took me three attempts – starting from January 1st  each time – to finally crack it. I still slip up some days and devour basically anything I can get my hands on, but I’ve finally figured out how to get back on track almost instantly. The key thing I’ve learnt is not to say “I’ll start again tomorrow”, but to actually say “I’ll start again right now”. Fair play to you if you can get back on track the next day, but I personally always used to just give some sort of half-arsed attempt for the following weeks, before giving up altogether. Your exact goal might not be achievable down to time, commitment and resources – but any progress is better than no progress. That’s got to count for something, hasn’t it? I don’t claim to know all the ins and outs of weight loss and fitness, but over the past three years I think it’s fair to say I’ve learnt a fair bit – which I’m going to share it with you!

Ditch the Fad Diet

It’s been said that fad diets make people miserable due to a lack of certain nutrients, resulting in them giving up. Don’t be a victim yourself! Do your research on what you should be eating and how much you should be eating – and don’t be afraid to experiment to see what works best for your body. Something as simple as “eating clean” will work absolute wonders for you, I promise. If you’re unsure of where to start, there are plenty of blogs, magazines and websites that can inform you of what’s right food-wise. It really is worth educating yourself on the do’s and dont’s of healthy eating. Next week I’m actually going to post a compaison menu showing what I used to eat and what I eat now – be sure to have a read!

Portion Control

You might actually be shocked. Something that you think weighs 20g could weigh double, and it’s things like that that will hinder your progress. I spent the first few months of this year weighing everything. Yes – it got horrifically boring after a while, but it was worth it – because now I know that the amount of rice and pasta I was eating was actually enough for two people. I use the My Fitness Pal app to keep a close eye on what I eat. I don’t track my diet religiously, but it’s interesting to see exactly what I’m consuming from time to time – down to the gram.

Being at a Calorie Deficit

I didn’t get it at first either, but it’s vital you do this. For instance, if you eat 1500 calories and you burn 2000 in a day, you’ve created a 500 calorie deficit. Accumulating a calorie deficit over the entire week will lead you to amazing results. You burn a fair amount of calories during the day just by “living”, but by burning 200-300 calories extra during a workout will increase your deficit – allowing your body to shed more of those unwanted wobbly bits.

Keep Hydrated

The benefits of drinking water are unreal. Water flushes out your system, getting rid of all those negative toxins (plus it improves your skin tremendously) – so why wouldn’t you drink it? If you’re peeing a bizarre amount during the day, you’re doing it right. I’ve gone from drinking 250ml maximum per day to drinking two litres, and I can honestly feel such a difference in my health. If you work out hard enough – trust me, then you’ll be desperate for those two litres!

Don’t Be Afraid of Weights

Exercise isn’t for everyone – and I can assure you it never used to be for me. I used to do whatever I could to avoid PE at school. Now I go to the gym four or five days a week, working every part of my body. Mondays and Fridays I do cardio, Wednesdays I work legs, and Saturdays I work abs and arms. I used to be a “cardio bunny”, but I soon learnt that I’d lose all my muscle by doing this. Since I’ve been lifting some weights and working strength into my routine, I’ve noticed a hell of a difference. Weights aren’t just for men you know – pick them up, and you’ll be amazed at how much quicker you see results. Don’t forget to set yourself challenges too. Your body will eventually adjust to your workouts, so mixing it up and working that little bit harder each time is crucial! Feeeel the burn ladies.

Following these pointers will lead you to a much healthier lifestyle, without a doubt, though I can’t stress enough that you must still relax your diet from time to time. I mean, what is life without the odd bit of cake or slice of pizza!? I certainly couldn’t go without my weekly cheat meal – and no one expects you to either! Don’t be hard on yourself if you over-eat during a meal, as it can always be undone. It’s when it becomes a regular habit that it begins to unravel your hard work. Finding a positive attitude and a healthy food/fitness balance is absolutely key to being successful in this process. It’s not too late to start this year, but even if you don’t reach your goals by this summer – make sure you’re ready for Summer 2016! As they say, “summer bodies are made in winter”…

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