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Two months down the line, on my journey to better health and fitness, and I've been thinking about how it certainly shouldn't all be hard work and somewhat painful. Whilst sometimes it has been those things, it's also been fun.
When embarking on a new diet plan or fitness regime, it should become a way of life; otherwise, it's nothing but a short fix. So if you are revamping your lifestyle to achieve a fitter and healthier you, be sure to still have fun along the way, to stop yourself becoming completely miserable, and possibly going a little mad! Here are my top tips:
Accept and embrace your new lifestyle
You're going to have a pretty rough time, if you're being stubborn about the fact you need to make some changes in your life. You might make them begrudgingly, and try to struggle through, but this is only going to end up in you feeling unhappy.
Things will be easier if you take a positive (and fun) approach to your new, healthier lifestyle. Any time you're feeling grumpy about it, remind yourself just how much good you are doing your body. Any time you feel like giving up, remember all the hurdles you've already overcome. Make sure you take progress photos as you go, to look back on and remind yourself why you're doing this; and how much better you feel about yourself now, after all the hard work you've put in. I have a weight loss chart, on my bathroom wall, adorned with pictures of fit bodies I aspire to, as well as some awesome fitness motivational quotes (what did we do before Pinterest)? So, each week when I record my weight loss, I feel I’m moving closer to my goals (I also record it Bridget Jones style in my diary).
Fitness doesn't have to mean hours being spent pounding away on a treadmill. A few gym sessions are great, but what's even better is to keep challenging your body and mind in new ways. If we repeat the same activity, over and over, we are bound to become bored of it, and our bodies can get used to it, too.
Try fun new ways to get fit, like horse riding, fitness boot camps, park runs (Frances Mckee), dance classes and any other sports you're yet to try out. Get your friends involved and make it a weekly thing that you go and try a new activity or class, working out will never seem dull again. Best of all, you won't even feel like you're 'working out', but you'll certainly reap the rewards.
For me it’s been tennis. I’ve always loved playing, but I’ve never been any good (more enthusiastic than skilled). So, last year some friends (thank you Maria & David) bought me coaching sessions with a pro at David Lloyd’s - now I’m hooked. I’ve played every week since. But, when I embarked on this weight loss campaign, my coach, Glen Maitland, decided to crank up the activity and really get me moving. So, for the last few weeks we’ve been working on tennis ‘footwork’ training (nightmare). This involves sprinting, drill work and saying on your toes for the whole of the session, which basically means I come off the court dripping, having burned about 700 calories – but I love it and it’s fun.
When it comes to healthy eating, it's so easy to get bogged down and in a habit of eating the same foods, over and over, that you know are 'safe' on your diet (boiled eggs for breakfast anyone?). This repetition can become incredibly boring, and leave you craving the foods you know are bad for you.
Mix things up and make your diet fun. There are loads of great healthy eating blogs around for inspiration. A particular favourite of mine is Joe Wicks The Body Coach (the best new thing to happen to Instagram, abs like an ironing board #Leanin15, #teamlean) whose 'lean in 15' recipes are made from scratch, super healthy and designed to aid weight loss; and, best of all, they can be made in 15 minutes or less. Check him out on twitter and Instagram – he’s such fun, makes health and fitness look a breeze, and his foodie videos will split your sides (see bottom of this blog).
Get your friends round to experiment with The Body Coach recipes, or host a healthy dinner party and prove to your friends that healthy eating can be fun and tasty!