12 Nov 2019 | By admin
You decide you want to get in shape. So you pay for a membership at the gym. You show up a couple of times in your new trainers, protein shake in hand, and within a few weeks you have the body you always wanted. Simple, right?
Well, not really. But that’s how I thought it worked, and I got frustrated because I wasn’t seeing results.
I’m not gonna lie, it’s not that easy and it’s not that quick. Fitness and weight loss is a journey. It is a complete change in mindset. However, there are some tips for weight loss success that make the process quicker and ensure it is a lasting change for the better.
If I could give ten pieces of advice to my younger self, they would be:
- Don’t blame genetics
It is not your destiny to be soft and flabby. If you are not happy with part of your body, do something to change it! Often, it is to do with our habits or environments (if you are in a family that are used to binge eating every day or comfort eating for example, it might be hard to say ‘no’ and stick to your healthy routine). The first thing you need to convince is your mind: define what you want to achieve, make a plan and stick to it.
- Prepare your meals
I can’t emphasise enough how important it is to prepare in advance. Of all of my tips for weight loss success, this is one of the top ones. Know exactly what you are going to eat during the day and prepare your meals at home (yes, at home – because then you know exactly what you are putting into it. Don’t trust the ‘healthy’ restaurant around the corner). Then take your meals with you and eat them all and on time (do not skip meals). We all overestimate the importance of exercising for, say, one hour a day and underestimate how active we are and what we eat for the remaining 23 hours of the day!
- Drink more water
Drink water, not soft drinks or juices. I used to drink litres of fruit juice and almost no water because I found it ‘boring’. I didn’t know that they come packed with sugar (natural sugar is still sugar). Keeping your body well hydrated is crucial for your health and the sense of fullness will prevent you from overeating. To make sure you’re consuming enough, a good idea is to keep a 1L bottle next to you and drink at least 2 bottles by the end of the day.
- Create a routine
We are wired to stick to routines. The quicker you get into automatic mode of having a time for your meals and a time for your exercise, the quicker your body will learn not to skip meals. Treat this as something essential and non-negotiable unless it is something extremely urgent. If you don’t feel like doing it on a certain day, do it anyway. I guarantee you’ll feel amazing, more energised and also proud of yourself at the end of the day.
- Get to know yourself and your body
What works for the supremely fit celebrity in the magazine might not work for you. Working with your lifestyle and preferences plays a huge role in keeping you on track. You might hate lifting weights but love playing sports. So you may only incorporate resistance training once a week, You may love eating fat so much that you can’t see your life without it – so you could consider the ketogenic diet instead of a low fat one. As well as tailoring your routine, also take photos and measure yourself regularly (do not trust the scales only) to see if what you are doing is bringing the results you expect. If not, make some small adjustments along the way to fine tune and keep your metabolism burning fat.
- Mix strength and cardio
A cardio session typically burns more calories than a weight training workout. But weight training will improve your metabolism over time and make you burn more calories – even while you are resting. Incorporating both into your routine might be a good idea as cardio will help to lose fat and strength training will give you that toned looking body. This is one of the best tips for weight loss success.
We have all seen that person that sits on the exercycle at the gym and spends half an hour checking their phone, or even exercises while chatting with someone else. If you are there, be all there and get it done. Make sure you focus on what you are working on. If you are performing a squat don’t just go up and down, but really know which muscles you should be working and keep your concentration on them until the end of the exercise. I usually close my eyes and visualise my muscles working. Your brain plays a huge role in making your workout effective and targeted.
- Create balance
Think about your body as a whole – not just as individual parts. If you want to grow your biceps, don’t ignore your triceps. If you want to develop your legs, don’t ignore your arms (if you are a woman, don’t think this will make you look like a man – I assure you, it won’t!) Think about incorporating compound, functional exercises that involve multiple muscle groups and are used in everyday situations, for example squats. Remember that muscles depend on each other in order to perform properly. Strength training, among other benefits, will help to reduce the risk of injury, will encourage stronger bones and help you keep a healthy body weight.
- Be patient
Changes don’t happen overnight as your body wants to hold on that fat storage (because it thinks it is good for you, to keep you alive in case you get lost on a desert island!). Exercise and nourish it with nutritious food and it will understand that you are in a safe environment with plenty of nutrients and it is ok to let the fat go. If you are consistent, you’ll notice small changes very soon. Use this as a motivation to keep going.
- Celebrate small wins
Your body is amazing. Whatever it is doing, it is doing because it was best for your survival, from an evolutionary perspective. Celebrate the small wins, knowing that you are now a step ahead from where you started. Even a tiny bit of progress is still progress. Enjoy the process, be kind to your body and the results will follow.