I posted something on Facebook earlier in the week about the importance of setting short-term and long-term goals. I find that setting small, achievable goals is not only good at keeping you on top of your fitness, but it also makes you feel satisfied more regularly.For example, this week my goal was to find one new recipe to try and commit to memory so that I can add it to my weekly meals. I met this goal today by browsing the delicious recipes at fitterlondon.com. YUM! My LONG-TERM goal is to get a sub 4 hour officially recorded marathon time. Having completed a 6 mile training run today and seeing my average pace was 8.06 minutes per mile, I can see how this goal CAN be achieved as long as I keep pushing myself.
We can all set goals. But do we actually TRAIN for them? For example, if your goal is to lose body fat do you make the effort to follow the right plan so that your calories are in check? Or do you just move around a bit more in the hope that this will burn the extra calories you are not checking and wonder why the scales are not moving in the direction they hoped? You can quote me on this: YOU CANNOT OUTRUN YOUR FORK. Think about this statement. In other words if you are eating in excess to your calorific needs REGARDLESS of the exercise you do, it will be virtually impossible to shift the weight you wish to.
At this point I could go into the science of how body fat is lost but I think we all know the basics of this: If you eat more calories than you need, you will in time but on weight. So how do we fix this?
Track, track and TRACK!
When someone comes to me for help with losing weight one of the first things I do is ask them to complete a food diary for me. Firstly, if they complete this I know they are serious about making the changes to their lifestyle. This normally separates the people who are serious and the people who want the quick fix. The ones who are serious actually send me their diaries, the ones who are not I don’t generally hear from again. Secondly, I will have no idea how to help them if I don’t know how much of what they are eating! I also ask them to write down their food and drink straight after they have eaten it. This means I get to see all the “secret” calories that get eaten (the left over half fish finger here, handful of raisins there, a swig of the kids coke later….) and you can normally account for about 200-300 calories you don’t even think about! I cannot express how important tracking your food intake is when starting on your weight loss journey. There are plenty of apps you can use. My Fitness Pal is my particular favourite but Lifesum looks prettier…!
I have said this before, if you plan your meals in advance it is so much harder to deviate away from them. No matter how busy you are, most people will know what they are up to a couple of days ahead of time. Generally you eat breakfast and dinner at home, so it will only be lunch to plan for. If you make this the night before VOILA! You have a nice lunch ready for you and you will not be tempted by the snack machines or pub lunches that look VERY tempting when you are starving hungry and have nothing on you. Planning also helps when you are trying to track your calories. Are you going out for a meal where you KNOW that you will have that extra glass of wine and a pudding? Then make sure you incorporate the rest of your meals to save room. Which brings me onto my next point….
Earn your calories
Earning money is the norm. If you want nice things you have to work at it. You work longer hours and overtime in order to get a nice car/clothes/holidays/all of these so apply the same principles to diet and fitness. If you want the nice body to put the nice clothes on then you have to earn it. If you want the glass of wine HAVE it. But earn it. Check the calorie content of the treat you want and incorporate exercise to that value into your day, or make the cut backs elsewhere. BUDGET your calories and EARN your treats with exercise. You will soon get into the swing of things.
Follow the principles above and you will soon be on your way to a healthier lifestyle. But if you do need any help, remember I am just an email away so just ask!