Making a drastic lifestyle change - like giving up smoking, cutting out junk food and starting an exercise regime - is a great way to get healthy quickly, but how easy is it to keep up?
A few weeks into your strict new 'no-pudding, 6am gym' policy and you'll probably be ready to do just about anything for a slab of cake and a lie-in.
The trick to getting fit and staying healthy is not to throw out the cookie jar and order a lorry-load of gym equipment in a fit of enthusiasm. Chances are that enthusiasm will begin to ebb away as soon as you realise it takes more than 20 minutes on a treadmill to look like a model.
Getting fit and healthy is a slow, on-going journey that should be a way of life, not a new-year's resolution.
It may be a slow process, but getting healthy doesn't have to be difficult. Here are a few minor changes you could make that, in a few years time, will make a massive difference to your waist-line and your health. Consider this an investment...
1. Don't even think about going on a diet
. Abstaining from your favourite foods is no way to live. One or two food swaps is all it takes to budge those pounds. It's simple: at the beginning of every week, prepare some snack pots. Keep mixed berries in one Tupperware box, mixed nuts in another, one with a few dollops of fat-free fruit yoghurt, and one with a few crackers and tub of hummus. This way, the moment you get a craving you can race to the fridge and pick what you fancy from a healthy selection - preventing you from heading to the nearest shop for a chocolate bar or packet of crisps. Honestly, the moment you quell those hunger pangs, the craving for bad food will go.
2. Swap oil for water.
When you cook vegetables, don't smother them with oil - simmer them in water with plenty of seasoning. It's a small change, hardly makes a difference to taste but will reduce your daily fat consumption significantly.
3. Don't skip breakfast.
Many people think skipping breakfast saves on calories, but research shows that people who miss breakfast feel more hungry during the day - leading them to snack more. Choose slow-releasing energy foods, such as poached egg on whole-wheat toast, or porridge with a spoonful of honey.
4. Increase exercise.
No, this doesn't have to mean getting a gym membership, or joining a running club (although these are great ideas). All you need to do to burn a few extra calories a day is incorporate a little extra movement into your usual routine. For example - park a little further away from the place you need to be so you can walk further, or take the stairs two at a time, or at a jogging pace to raise your heart rate. If you work in an office all day, take an opportunity in the loos to do some press ups against the wall. You might feel you look mad but if you do 10 wall press-ups three times a day, you'll tone up your arms in no time at all.
Everything counts when it comes to getting fit and healthy. Don't overhaul your life, just incorporate some new, barely noticeable habits into your routine. This time next year you'll be glad of it! To find out how a life coach could get you motivated and keep you on track, head over to our Health page.
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