I always advise my clients to start small. That may sound strange as someone who coaches and motivates for a living, but small steps make a big task more manageable. People often fail when it comes to a diet plan or fitness programme because they set themselves unrealistic goals, and when the task at hand seems too great then quitting can become the only option, leaving us back where we started, only more demotivated. So I always advise making one or two small changes at a time, then once these start to become a way of life a couple more changes and so on – that way within a few weeks not only have you successfully met your initial goals, but started to add more and more changes gradually, meaning they are much more likely to become habits, rather than quick fixes (which very rarely last).
But what kind of small changes am I talking? Firstly I always advise looking at your daily routine and working out how you can be more active and fit exercise seamlessly into your life. Do you always stand on the right of the tube escalators, waiting to get to the top? Well why not start walking up them? Same goes for the lift in your office building or hotels on business trips – start taking the stairs instead of the lift and watch your daily step count soar. Get the bus to work? Why not get off a stop early, or walk to the next bus stop along in the morning before starting your journey? There’s even sneaky ways to get moving when sedentary – why not try a few tricep dips using the edge of your sofa when you’re watching TV in the evening? If you’ve got the perk of a private office you can do this at work too. Same goes for chair squats – as soon as your glutes touch your seat stand back up again to really work that butt with no equipment necessary. You could also squat or do some calf raises whilst waiting for the kettle to boil at home or in the office – if you were to incorporate all of these seemingly small changes into your daily life think how much they would add up over a week – and even better a month?
It is true what they say, exercise is addictive, especially when you start to see results, so trust me when I say that once your body starts to change and you start to feel fitter you’ll want to keep going and start to do more and suddenly those little changes don’t seem so small after all.
Same goes for your diet – rather than drastically cutting calories or excluding entire food groups why not make changes a little at a time? If you essentially starve yourself, or feel like you’re being deprived chances are you’ll actually end up falling off the wagon in a quite spectacular way by binging, and then no doubt feeling horribly guilty about it. So once again, make a couple of small changes every week which within a month will add up to a big overall change. Take sugar in your tea or coffee or on top of your porridge? Swap it for Stevia or maple syrup for a much less calorific sweet kick, with the aim of cutting out the sweet addition entirely.
Swap white rice for cauliflower rice (you don’t even have to be an amateur chef to create it – most supermarkets are now selling ready made cauli rice) and swap pasta for courgetti (again available ready made) or our Diet Noodles to cut calories and carbs without sacrificing taste – but still feeling full. Like a latte or macchiato to wake you up in the morning? Skip the cream and syrup, and even better swap your creamy morning coffee for an americano – the same amount of caffeine, the same satisfying coffee taste but with (in some cases) several hundred less calories.
Make the calories you do eat work for you – don’t be scared of fat – just so long as it comes from natural sources. Avocados, nuts, oily fish and coconut oil can actually help speed up your metabolism but still leave you feeling full and satisfied – something low fat or “skinny” diet products don’t as they are usually chock full of chemicals that mess with your metabolism and often leave you feeling hungry and therefore more likely to overeat.
Again, small changes will add up – even if you cut 100 calories a day – that’s 700 calories a week…. enough to make a difference to the way you look and feel.
Think big, but start small and set yourself up for weight loss success that can continue all year long.
About the Author
Lisa-Jane, owner of Wildcat Fitness, is a Personal Trainer, Fitness Instructor and Fitness Model based in West London.