The countdown is on!
Winter is nearly over, glimpses of warmer days are ahead, and it will soon be time to cast off those winter layers. This time of year often sees people setting new health and fitness goals.
It’s kind of like, ‘New Year, New You’, except it’s after your Christmas in July celebrations!
As with any new health and fitness journey, success begins with great planning. Planning ahead is the only way to ensure you don’t get led astray swapping the workout for the sofa, or beat yourself up with guilt after grabbing takeaway when you get home late from work and need a fast meal.
Put these tips in place now, and you’ll be set up to hit the ground running come spring.
Tell your friends: success in any lifestyle change is all down to the support we have from those around us, especially in the early days. Tell those closest to you that you plan to take on this new goal, and that it is important to you.
You can find the people closest to you are your biggest influence on the success or failure of your goal. Surround yourself with friends that encourage you, inspire you, and who knows… may even join you in your quest for greatness!
Clear out the nasties lurking in your cupboards: the packaged, processed, high sugar, low nutrition stuff. Give it away, burn it…do whatever you need to say good bye to it forever! Otherwise you will give into their siren call from the cupboards on days when you are tired and short of time.
Write a shopping list: Fill your kitchen with easy to cook items that are fresh and that you can easily throw together yourself for yummy, healthy meals (it helps to have a few simple recipes in mind).
Make a list before you shop so you don’t forget anything – and only buy from your list!
Look for food in its natural form. Tinned and frozen veggies are fine, just read the labels. In fact, you should get into the habit of reading the labels of everything you buy from now on. Even the most innocent looking packaged foods can be laced with sugar and other yuckys. Remember, if you can’t pronounce it then it’s not a food, and your body won’t be able to process it to its fullest potential for energy.
Plan your schedule: create your own little training plan, and book those exercise times into your calendar.
Space your sessions out evenly throughout the week with nothing too big back to back, especially if you are taking on something new.
The biggest reason for people giving up on a new exercise regime is that they go at it too hard. After cramming in training every day for two months, you get ‘over it’. Your body starts to fatigue, your workouts become less frequent, and you end up paying gym membership for nothing but the plastic membership card in your wallet!
Remember to book in down time for yourself as well. Listen to your body so you can hear what it’s telling you. If you feel tired, rest and recover – sleep is the best way of doing this.
Plan rewards that AREN’T food based, you are not a dog! For example booking a massage, date nights, watching a new movie release or snuggling up with a book by your favourite author – special time that’s just for you.
Finally, don’t forget to make time to shop for food so you don’t get caught out.
Eating out and being social: this shouldn’t stop, don’t become a hermit! Plan ahead for any social engagements so you can mentally get ready for limiting alcohol, and make the best food choices you can when you are out. For example, research the great food stores near work for a healthy group lunch option, or choose the lighter and less saucy option on any menu when you’re out for dinner.
Usually, alcohol consumption will lead to bad food choices (as well as being a calorie whack in and of itself). So if you know your will power just isn’t quite there yet, be the designated driver for the night or keep to one or two drinks when socialising.
Final thoughts: Relish the new challenge ahead, and take time to look at the ‘big picture’ – where you want to get to.
Don’t get too bogged down in the details as you can sometimes miss the fabulous journey you are on, and the amazing changes you are making. Oh, and those compliments from friend and loved ones….. LAP THOSE PUPPIES UP! You are indeed making changes for the better and DAMN you look good for it.