Top tips for keeping going with exercise and diet

Last month, our resident trainer, Tara Leyden, took us through changing your head in order to change your body. This month she tells us how to keep going!

Too many people exercise for two months and then give up. There are all manner of reasons – time, boredom, disappointing results and for some of us….just preferring to sit down.

But research has indicated that, as we age, we need to do more not less in order to maintain fitness and muscle tone. More than that, exercise alone will be unlikely to give you 100% of your goals – unless you have hours in the day. Real progress will only be achieved by adjusting your diet to fit in with your new exercise regime. So how do you keep going when every cell of your body says ‘give up, sit down, eat!’

The trick is all about making small adjustments, all of which focus your mind on your goals.

  • Use an online calorie tracker...These are great as they take all the hard work out of managing your daily calorie intake. Most foods are already in the database and any new ones you can add yourself. They also help you manage your progress as most will work out your daily calorie intake to help you achieve your goal by taking into account your activity levels and current weight and height. Keep this realistic and aim for a healthy 1-2lb a week loss or if it's muscle you want to gain then a 0.25lb a week will ensure you keep fat gain to a minimum. Use the calorie tracker to plan your meals before your big shop and go shopping with a focus on only buying what is on your healthy eating plan.
  • Get help...although there is plenty of information on the web it can be completely overwhelming. If finance allows invest in a personal trainer or nutritionist that can help you. You may only need a few sessions with them to help get your diet and exercise plan on track but the investment will be worth it. You may have a friend that can help you, someone that has already reached their goal that you can get some tips from. Or find a friend with similar goals to you...putting a plan together can be fun and you will keep each other motivated.
  • Keep yourself occupied...boredom is one of the biggest excuses for overeating. You don't have to tire yourself out with strenuous activities all day long, but maybe reading, pottering about in the garden or try mediation. Whatever it is make sure it's something that you love doing. A love of something tends to put your mind in the present moment, all your focus will be on that activity and not on your stomach.
  • Sleep...is one of the most important factors. Lack of sleep is the cause of so many health problems. You need enough to keep your mind in a positive state to stay focused on your goal, enough to give you the energy to train and enough so that your body can recover from training. 
  • Drink water… If you do not have sufficient hydration, your body will not burn fat. Even worse, many of us cannot tell the difference between thirst and hunger and so will open the fridge instead of a bottle of H2O. Aim at drinking 2 litres a day and more if you are perspiring a lot.
  • Have a treat meal each week...You don't need to go crazy and blow your whole week's work with a binge. Be mindful about what you're eating...when you're dieting all food especially your treat meal seem to taste so much better. You have this new appreciation for food and it's actually a really nice feeling. So slow down your eating, enjoy your treat and actually taste the food.

Self discipline is easily achieved when you're doing what you enjoy. So if things are not going to plan and you feel your enthusiasm waning look at your current actions and make a few small easy adjustments to get back on track. Remember it’s your life, your choice.

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