I’ve been a personal trainer in London for over twenty years now, and my clients have got fitter, stronger, more toned, and more full of vitality as a result of following these tips:
Set some goals
The brain loves a specific goal to pursue, so set some health & fitness goals to get stuck into. For instance: “I will lose six kg of body fat in the next three months.” Step one is to weigh yourself to see what your starting-point is, then map out your weight-loss plan over the next three months. Stick up your goal somewhere visible – on the fridge is a good place.
Ditch the junk
Any junk food in your fridge or in your cupboards? Chuck it out! Have a good old spring-clean of all the junk that’s only going to clog up your arteries and end up as fat on your belly. That includes biscuits, cakes, sweets, sugary drinks. If it’s not in your kitchen, you’re not going to be tempted to eat it. Junk food is full of sugar, the cocaine of the nutrition world. Sugar is an anti-nutrient, it saps your body of vitamins and minerals, it messes up your insulin system, and excess sugar in the body converts very easily into body fat once your glycogen stores are full, as well as preventing existing body fat being broken down and burned as energy. Too much refined sugar in your diet over time can lead to type 2 diabetes, something you should go to great lengths to avoid.
Replace negative thoughts with positive thoughts
We limit ourselves by our negative thoughts. Now that you’ve ditched the junk food & drink, it’s time to ditch the junk thoughts that are sabotaging your progress.
“I don’t have time to get fit and lose weight” is a common self-sabotaging thought. If you do an honest assessment of how much time you spend checking social media (Facebook and Instagram are real time-bandits), and how much time you spend watching Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube and TV, I bet that adds up to a few hours a week. Here’s an empowering replacement thought which has helped many of my clients: “I’ll exercise while I watch Netflix” – best of both worlds!
Another common negative thought is “I’m too old to get fit”. Truth is, there are millions of people all over the world in their seventies and eighties who live healthy and active lives. The older you get, the more important it is to get fit and healthy, to reduce your risk of illness and disease and injury. Here’s your new empowering thought: “I’m never too old to get fit and healthy.”
Reduce your portion sizes and chew thoroughly
Do you tend to wolf down your food without thinking? Do you overload your plate and eat it all, even though you feel too full afterwards? Get in the habit of eating smaller portions, particularly cut down on the carbs, and eat mindfully, enjoy each mouthful and chew thoroughly. The more you chew, the better you’ll digest your food and the more nutrients you’ll absorb. The more slowly you eat, the more time your brain gets to register when you’re full. Most people overeat before the “full stomach” message gets to your brain.
Eat more vegetables
Most people don’t eat nearly enough veg, and some people none at all. Fresh veg is rich in vitamins and minerals, phytonutrients (plant-based nutrients) and enzymes. Vegetables have a detox effect on your blood and your organs, and helps keep your gut healthy too. Don’t freak out, but your intestinal tract is approximately 30 feet long. That’s a lot of intestines to keep healthy.
Replace junk drinks with healthy smoothies
There’s no limit to the healthy and tasty varieties of smoothies you can make. Pop these in your blender: a handful of blueberries, a dessert-spoon of honey, a few dollops of natural live plain yoghurt, a scoop of protein powder, topped up with milk. Other ingredients you can try: lemon or lime juice, avocados, young leaf spinach, banana, raspberries.
(Dominic Londesborough is a personal trainer in London and online nutrition coach)