Getting that burst of Monday motivation when it comes to losing weight is fantastic, but how often has that initial burst translated into a glass of wine, chocolate and a cheese platter by Wednesday evening?!
There are a few important things that I believe you need to think about before making a decision to lose weight and also being able to keep it off over time. They are all important individually but put together and done properly they are powerful and hold the key to long term success.
You must have a goal when it comes to your training and nutrition and preferably this is broken down into short and long term targets. Your goal might revolve around a certain body weight, being able to lift a certain weight regularly or it could be something like staying off alcohol for 3 months. I write my goals down everywhere and keep them where I can see them so they are visible every day and it’s a great way to be accountable. I believe there is real power in writing your goals down as it is like making a promise to yourself and somehow sharing your goals with the universe!
2) Real Food
When it comes to getting results food really is everything. 80% of your results will come down to what you eat rather than how hard you train. So when you start out on your health and fitness journey your number 1 priority needs to be finding a great rhythm with your food that is sustainable for you. If that means eating the same thing for a few days a week to make it easier that is fine or if it means prepping on a Sunday so you have set your week up for success so be it.
There are so many fad diets on the market today promoting pills, shakes and meal replacements to achieve results, I’m not saying these types of ‘diets’ don’t work but I am saying once you go back to eating normally you will gain back the results you lost as your body will be holding onto the food you are giving it as it hasn’t been fuelled properly. So being sensible when it comes to getting results and finding a rhythm that you can maintain is going to benefit you in achieving long term results.
When it comes to what we eat, in a perfect world we would all eat organic produce but I understand this is not possible for everyone. So focus on filling your cupboards with lots of fresh fruit and vegetables (the greener the better), lean meats (organic where possible) and good sources of carbohydrates like brown rice and quinoa.
There are so many people around the world suffering from lifestyle diseases that could have easily been avoided through food and nutrition. This is the one thing that holds the fire in my belly and really motivates me to influence people in a positive way to create better choices and to lead a healthy lifestyle.
Finding your balance when it comes to training and nutrition is really important. If there are only 2 speeds in your life right now (flat out or nothing at all) then you need to re-think your approach. If you are stressed your body will create cortisol (stress hormone) which will affect your results negatively. So embrace meditation, yoga or simply just give yourself 10-15 mins a day to sit quietly to calm your nervous system. This will make a huge difference.
Our bodies work best when we are consistent with our training and nutrition and you will be rewarded for this in the way you look and feel. You simply cannot out train a bad diet so putting in extra cardio session to make up for the block of chocolate and bottle of red you consumed the night before won’t work and it is a very bad habit and mind set to get into as it quickly becomes a vicious cycle.
I drink alcohol and I love chocolate but these are occasional treats for me, it is not something that I would have week to week. You have to find you own balance but don’t expect to create positive change in your body if you are not prepared to find a balance that works between eating real food, training hard and your treats.
4) Weight Training
I train with weights regularly and I love what it does to my body and the way it makes me feel, but I am constantly surprised with how many women focus on cardio when it comes to their training. Weight training is the only form of exercise that is going to transform your body shape.
The feedback I get is that many women find taking their first steps into weight training is intimidating (it’s a guy’s domain at the gym) or they are worried about developing huge muscles. Firstly you will not develop huge muscles as a woman’s body does not produce enough testosterone to do this and if you feel intimidated see if you can book in a personal trainer at your gym for one or two half hour sessions to write you a program and take you through it.
I cannot emphasize enough the benefits of weight training, it will help with improving your strength, your shape, boost your metabolism and will increase your fat burning potential throughout the day. Classes that incorporate weights are good but a solid weights session is better. After a while you will notice your muscles pop whilst you are training but they will return to normal a few hours after your session. I think people seriously underestimate the contribution weight training can have to weight loss, it is an important and critical part of my 8 week programs.
In my book ‘BeachFit’ I wrote extensively about having the right mindset and approach to weight loss and setting yourself up for success rather than failure. Whatever your goals you need to be kind to yourself (how easy is it to be critical of yourself) and have realistic expectations of how long it is going to take and what needs to be done to achieve your goals.
Transforming your shape does not have a start and an end date and there is no ‘on or off’ switch. Set yourself achievable goals and give yourself enough time to achieve them. Don’t beat yourself up if you have a bad day and please don’t think “you have to start again!” (this drives me insane!).
Yes you are going to have days when things go a little off plan but you are also going to have a lot of good days along the way and it’s about celebrating the successes rather than beating yourself up about the occasional day that wasn’t great!
I hope that all of this make sense to you and offers some ideas and guidance if weight loss is your goal for 2018!