Read this once a week to stay on track!
1. Reward yourself
So you’ve been following your training program, working out hard and eating well. It’s time for you to go shopping and treat yourself to those new tight-fitting jeans you had your eye on. Rewarding yourself once a month or when you achieve a new goal is a fantastic way to ensure you stay motivated.
2. Don’t quit just because you’ve had a bad day
Okay, we’ve all done it. Got up and had pancakes for breakfast, a burger for lunch and pizza for dinner. Whatever the reason, days like this happen and often we don’t even realise until after. If you have a bad day, just put it behind you and start your healthy eating plan again tomorrow. After eating all the bad food your body will probably also be craving the healthy stuff!
3. Stock up
Snacking on fruit and healthy biscuits is a great way to ensure you don’t eat junk food, but do lift your metabolism. Fill your top drawer at work with muesli bars, protein bars and always have fresh fruit close by. You never know when you’ll feel like a light snack.
4. Avoid crash diets
This is possibly the worst thing you can do to lose weight as you’ll find when you go off a crash diet, you’ll probably put on more weight than what you started with. Crash diets promote mainly water and muscle loss which is exactly what you want to avoid, because the more muscle you have the higher your metabolism will be.
5. Know why you want to lose weight
If you want to lose weight because your boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife or family are urging you, then it’s simply not going to work. Know why you want to lose weight, and more importantly do it for yourself. It can be anything from toning your body, to wanting to fit into last year’s pants, but always have something to work towards.
6. Cut back on the booze
Not only is alcohol filled with fat, having one or two big drinking sessions can really alter your weekly program. Often after a night out, the next day you either eat junk food or don’t eat at all, and sometimes (most times) you can’t exercise. If you’re going to go out, plan what sort of night you’re having and try to coincide it with a light exercise day – even if you just go for a walk.
7. Indulge (occasionally)
Food is meant to be enjoyed and some of the most delicious foods in the world (I’m thinking chocolate and pavlova) are fattening, but you can’t restrict yourself forever. Having the occasional ice cream, or popcorn when you’re at the movies is fine – just don’t overdo it. You’ll find if you give yourself some leniency with the occasional treat, instead of banning it completely, when you do have a splurge it won’t be disastrous. (Just remember it’s okay to have a few pieces of chocolate, it’s not okay to eat the whole block).
8. Prepare ahead – cook and freeze
How often do you drive to the local KFC or McDonalds because you want something quick to eat? Ensure you always have something healthy in the freezer or cupboard, both at work and at home, that you can cook up with no fuss. Spend a Sunday preparing healthy stir-frys, pastas and mixed vegetables. Freeze, and pull them out when you feel like heading down to the local fast food chain.
9. Don’t blame the weather
You may come up with a million excuses why you can’t exercise but the weather – hot or cold – is not one of them. If it’s a hot day, head down to a gym that’s air-conditioned or even better do some laps at the local pool. If it’s freezing run on the treadmills at the gym, or try the advice of legendary bodybuilding trainer George Tabban – take a raincoat and umbrella while walking!
10. Lift weights
The quickest and most effective way to tone and shape your body is to combine weights with a cardio program. Despite what anyone may tell you there is no possible way a woman can develop huge muscles following a light weights program. Lifting weights increases muscle, and lean muscle burns more kilos than fat.
11. Join a team
It’s often so hard to motivate yourself to go for a run or head to the gym when you’re the only one it’s going to affect. Join a local basketball or netball team, and every week you’ll be required to turn up and exercise. Before long you’ll be having so much fun playing (and socialising!), you’ll forget you’re actually putting yourself through some quality exercise.
12. Go to the gym
Investing in a gym membership is great motivation to ensure you actually use it. Gym memberships aren’t cheap and when you’re forking out your hard-earned cash you’ll be surprised how often you turn up, just so you get your money’s worth.
13. Walk when you can
Walking is the quickest and easiest way to burn fat, and you don’t even have to walk superfast. Grab your walkman, put in your favourite music and off you go. When you finish you’ll be relaxed, in a great mood and have also completed your exercise for the day.
14. Remember the good fats
Our body needs fats to survive, so don’t go restricting everything that contains fat. Mono-unsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats are good for you and found in avocado, olive oil, nuts, fish, seafood and soy just to name a few.
15. Never miss a meal
Skipping meals to lose weight actually works in reverse – you’ll actually put on weight. When you restrict your body of certain foods it goes into overtime and actually hangs onto fat as its energy source. Skipping meals also slows your metabolism and reduces the kilojoules that are burnt.
16. Look at family history
Our weight is often defined by genetics, so take a good look at your parents and family, and you’ll see the similarities. Just because you’re genetically disposed to being larger, doesn’t mean you can’t lose weight by following a low-fat eating plan and regularly exercising. Just remember to be logical and keep your expectations realistic – we would all like to look like Elle McPherson but few of us are six foot and a size eight.
17. Write everything down
Over a weekly period write down everything you put into your mouth – everything, from what you drink to the Lifesaver that was in the bottom of your bag. At the end of the week review your eating habits and see how good or bad they are. Some of us don’t realise what, or more importantly, how much we eat, compared to how much we really need.
18. Learn the importance of sleep
Although some people can survive on less and some people need more, getting at least eight hours of sleep per night is essential not only to be able to function productively, but to have the energy to follow a regular exercise program well.
19. Eat six small meals a day
Eating small meals is the best way not only to ensure you’re never hungry (and then snack on junk), but to keep increasing your metabolism. Often when people change their diets to six small meals a day, they actually realise they are eating less than they usually would, but feel far more satisfied.
20. Set short and long term goals
So you have a holiday on the Gold Coast planned in six months and you want to look great in a bikini. Now that you’ve worked out your final goal, it’s time to set small goals over this time to work towards. Start with improving your diet and following a simple, but healthy eating plan. When you get used to this, concentrate on restricting certain foods and working specific body parts. Make a record of your results and remember changes won’t happen over night, but they will happen.
21. Exercise on your lunch break
You don’t want to get out of bed early to exercise and when you come home you’d rather watch the TV, so why don’t you exercise at lunchtime? Prepare a meal that you can eat at your desk, pack your runners and go for a walk during your lunch break. Convince other staff to do the same – you’ll be surprised how many will join you.
22. Go dancing
Dancing is a fantastic way to burn calories and it’s so much fun you don’t realise you’re actually exercising. Whether you’re spending a few hours on the dance floor of your regular nightclub, or joining in a weekly dance class, it’s a great way to add some extra cardio into your routine.
23. Eat breakfast
We always hear that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but so often people skip it because they believe it will help them lose weight. This can’t be any further from the truth. Eating a healthy breakfast kick-starts and increases your metabolism, and makes you more mentally productive.
Yes, we should all know this one by now. We should do at least 30 minutes of exercise a day to stay healthy and even more if we’re hoping to lose weight. Exercise also releases endorphins which are ‘feel good’ chemicals in the brain. If you’re not convinced remember the last time you did a tough aerobics session, or went for a long jog, and how fantastic you felt afterwards.
25. Drink water
Water is essential to flush out our system and help us avoid dehydration, especially when exercising in hot weather. A cool glass of water is also a great appetite suppressant and will also keep your skin clear on the outside.