Let’s make 2022 the year that we become the best version of ourselves! Why wouldn’t we want that? 😊
So, how do we do that? It’s easier than you think. With a few simple changes, both physically and mentally, you can create new fitness habits and become healthier and fitter than ever before.
Find your motivation
Motivation is probably the biggest block most of the time, when it comes to eating healthily and exercising. However, January is a great time to start incorporating new healthy habits into your lifestyle as motivation is high. It’s a new year, a new start, the first page of a new book! The difficulty comes in keeping that motivation throughout the year!
Ditch the Diets – yes, really!
Here at W Fitness, we don’t promote radical diets or cutting out a particular food group. We need protein, fat and carbohydrates to fuel our bodies so that they can function properly. You wouldn’t dream of filling your car with petrol but not putting oil in the engine. However, there is a difference between eating the right nutrients in the right amounts and overeating. There is no need to cut anything out of your diet so long as you are not having excessive amounts. You know that saying ‘everything in moderation’? Well, it definitely applies here.
The same rule that applies to overeating applies to exercise. Over exercising can be just as bad for you as not exercising at all and can lead to injuries such as stress fractures and tendonitis. It can also suppress your immune system (moderate exercise has been shown to improve the immune system) and lead to stress due to the high levels of cortisol that are released during exercise (moderate exercise has been shown to reduce levels of stress).
I know at the beginning I said it’s easier than you think, and it is but, like anything, it takes patience and effort. You need to put the effort in to reap the rewards.
Make Goals you can stick to
So, instead of making huge New Year resolutions that are unsustainable and leave you feeling like you’ve failed, why not forget the huge goals, and make smaller goals that become part of your lifestyle and are easier to attain. We all like succeeding as it boosts our happiness and makes us feel good about ourselves. Focus on small daily changes that make you happy, things that you enjoy doing on your new healthy path.
Don’t start 2022 depriving yourself of certain foods or starving yourself to lose weight. This doesn’t work. Your body needs a certain number of calories to function properly and cutting calories excessively will certainly lead to weight loss but is totally unsustainable. Your metabolism will slow down (meaning you will actually burn fewer calories per day), your health will suffer, and you will be extremely hungry and irritable! Try changing your lifestyle so that it includes healthy eating and exercise.
Find the time to exercise regularly – this should become part of your lifestyle just the same as brushing your teeth, as it is just as important. You wouldn’t go weeks or months without brushing your teeth (hopefully 😊) as this would be extremely bad for your dental health just the same as not exercising is extremely bad for your health and fitness. This is where the effort part comes into it 😊 It’s so easy to find an excuse not to exercise such as being busy at work, family obligations, no time, being tired and no energy. We’ve heard them all! That’s fine if you don’t want to improve your health but if you do, you need to make the time. Set a designated day and time and you will find that it will quickly become part of your new lifestyle and you will start looking forward to it. A great way to make sure that you allocate the time you need to exercise is to tag it on to something else that you do. Our 30-minute circuit is so easy to tag onto your trip to the supermarket or on your way home from work.
Choose something you’ll enjoy!
It’s very important to pick something that you enjoy doing. If you pick something that you hate doing just because you think it’s good for you then you simply will not do it. Any movement is good, walking, cycling, jogging, the gym, dance fitness classes, Yoga, HIITs, whatever you will look forward to doing and enjoy.
This all takes patience as there are no quick fixes. Social media will tell you otherwise with stories of people losing lots of weight in a short amount of time, amazing body transformations and products to speed things up, in order to get the ‘perfect body’!
What is a perfect body? It is a healthy one. Size is absolutely no indication of health and fitness.
Take your time to make the small changes needed for them to become new habits. Eating healthily for a week and going to the gym is the first step and not the end of the journey. Make sure that your expectations are realistic, setting small goals that are achievable without it seeming like you are climbing a mountain. If you are wanting to lose weight, aim to lose 1lb a week. It might not seem like a lot but 14 weeks down the line you will have lost a stone, and hardly noticed the reduction in calories. It’s a journey that needs baby steps to get there, but every time you enjoy a healthy meal, or go to the gym, you are one step nearer. The more these things become integrated into your lifestyle, the easier this will become.
Small goals which are easy to incorporate into your life include:
- Eating more fruit and vegetables
- Drinking more water
- Cutting down on saturated fats
- Cutting down on sugar
- Meal planning and prepping
- Moving more
- Having a brisk walk for 10 minutes
- Exercising for 30 minutes a day (this can start with just 30 minutes a day once a week and build it up over time)
Make sure that family members and friends know that you are wanting to make healthy changes to your lifestyle so that they can support you, and maybe even make changes for themselves too.
Meal planning is great for healthy eating. You can plan, shop and prepare your meals in advance so that you always have a healthy meal ready to cook and eat which will stop you reaching for the snacks and takeaways when you are hungry.
We can all train ourselves to do new and different things, so introduce new habits slowly and they will become old habits very quickly. If you eat a lot of sugary snacks, try replacing one of these with some fruit or Greek yogurt or lentil curl crisps if you’re after a crunch. Swap sugary drinks for sugar free and try to limit alcohol to a couple of nights a week. Try to incorporate movement and exercise into your day and gradually increase until you are doing 30 minutes. You could start by doing some high knees or squats whilst waiting for the kettle to boil.
For some, keeping track of your food and exercise can be triggering, so always make sure to do what’s right for you. Even as a PT I don’t weigh myself as I can become fixated on the arbitrary numbers on the scale when in reality I’m happy with what my body can do. I’m working towards making my body stronger and fitter, which I can track in other ways: such as watching when I get out of breath doing certain activities. If this sounds like you, make goals to do something for yourself each day, that could just be nourishing your body with healthy foods, making the commitment to move everyday in some way, or allowing yourself that ‘me time’. We can always find other ways to track progress – not everything has to be on the scales.
However, if you won’t become triggered by keeping a more detailed track on your goals, another option is to make yourself accountable by being aware of your exercise and food intake. You can keep track of your progress by measuring yourself. We wouldn’t recommend weighing yourself, as women’s weight can fluctuate by up to 5 lbs in a day so don’t rely solely on this method. The best way to see your progress is the increase in your strength and energy. You could also keep a food diary too so that you can be mindful of what you are eating. Often, we don’t notice the extra couple of biscuits or glasses of wine, but the calories soon add up. Just the process of writing it down can make you think about what you are eating.
Make sure you have little treats along the way and make time for you. This could be a trip to the cinema, a manicure, massage, a night with a book, a long hot bubble bath, whatever you like to do to relax 😊
So, to finish, let’s ditch the quick fix weight loss plans (which, let’s face it, are hard, stressful and don’t work long term) and enjoy a healthier, fitter, more relaxed way of life.
Caroline & Hannah xx