As I stepped off of the scales during my gym induction, I tried to work out where it had all gone so wrong. I’m a vegetarian and I can’t stand meat substitutes so my diet consists of a lot of vegetable based meals including at least one daily dose of vegetarian sushi. When I mentioned this to the personal trainer at my gym he asked me how much alcohol I drink.
Erm. A lot?
The nail was firmly hit on the head. Despite the fact that I live on vegetables and walk from Fenchurch St to Bank and back every single day, I was unwittingly drinking about 5000 extra calories a week. You really don’t need to be a big drinker to fall into this trap. Even that one glass of wine a night adds up to about 2100 calories if you do it every day. I know how shoddy my willpower is. If I were to say I’ll only drink now and again, now and again will become more and more often until I fall back into my old habits.
So I overhauled my life. I gave up alcohol, joined the gym and downloaded MyFitness Pal to track my calories. It’s now been six weeks and these small changes have worked in a big way – I have so far lost half a stone. It can seem super, super daunting when you start your weightless journey so here are some tips on how to be successful.
Think about giving up alcohol
If the thought of giving up alcohol absolutely horrifies you – then you are probably one of the people that could benefit from a break the most. You don’t need to give up alcohol forever, but having a clean break from it when you start your weight loss journey will changes your relationship with it enough to help you to make more sensible choices in the future. If you really are intent on losing weight then feeling headachy and hungover on weekend mornings is not going to help you motivate yourself to go to the gym and the junk food you will be tempted to eat certainly won’t help either. You could even change your mind about it so much that you decide drinking just isn’t for you now that you lead a more healthy lifestyle.
Make small changes to your daily routine
As Miranda Hart says, the simplest key to losing weight is to eat a bit less and do a bit more. The ‘do a bit more’ part is actually achieved quite easily. So you may not have time to go to the gym as often as you would like to, but there are definitely ways you can up your physical activity. Get off the bus a stop before you need to. Go on a walk for your lunch break. Take a trip to the toilets on the other side of the building. It all adds up.
Treat yourself when it comes to joining a gym
There are plenty of inexpensive gyms around nowadays but if I have learned one lesson it is that you really do get what you pay for. My gym cost’s me £50 a month but it has a swimming pool, a sauna and a steam room and the staff create a personal fitness plan and help you track your journey. For one thing the lure of a sauna and steam room after my workout really gives me a push to exercise harder and also I don’t track my swimming as exercise on my calorie counter so it all adds up as a little bit extra. If you cannot afford to join a gym that has the little extra’s take your time and ask for a tour of all of your local ones in your price range. You don’t need to jump into a decision just because the first gym you look at is nice and affordable.
Have a cheat now and again
I would absolutely go crazy if I couldn’t ever eat crisps again. The same with pizza. Sometimes you just need a little bit of junk food and that’s more than ok. I have found my main triggers for wanting to eat food that I know is terrible for me is when I am anxious or when I am ill. Luckily neither of these things occur very often – so when they do I treat myself and eat whatever I want. It is near on impossible to put on weight in one day so if you do have a day where you feel a bit rubbish and want to eat everything in sight just get back on the wagon the next day. Obviously you can’t let a little cheat day outweigh the diet days but you would go crazy if you didn’t eat a little bit of what you fancy every now and again.
Find an exercise you like
Just because you don’t like Yoga it doesn’t mean that you are not going to be successful with exercise. There are so many fad exercise plans around like high intensity work outs but not every single thing works for every single person. Find a routine that you like and won’t get bored of that mixes up a bit of cardio and weights. I actually don’t mind spending 40 minutes on the treadmill for the pure fact that my gym’s treadmills have Netflix and it’s an episode of Gossip Girl. After that I do a few weights circuits and it works out perfect for me.
Don’t Skip Meals
I’m terrible for eating breakfast. It takes me so long to be hungry I literally forget. Unfortunately this isn’t a good weight loss plan. Your metabolism needs to keep working to keep working, if that makes sense. So because lunch is usually my first meal of the day, I’ll eat dinner and then snack afterwards on something healthy. This way I’m still getting my three meals – I’m just having them all later. Eating little and often is a proven method to keep your body healthy and happy.
Monitor your portion sizes
My worst habit is inadvertently making enough food for 387 people. Although we save a lot for lunches etc it is still massively tempting to pile my plate really high when I overcook. the worst offender for me is mashed potato. I literally love mashed potato so much I’ll easily get through a serving fit for 2 people. When I realised this I actually realised that all of my portion sizes were on the large side. The thing is – as humans we will just literally eat what is put in front of us without question. This means that no matter how small or large your portion size is you will put it away without thinking, so decrease it by a bit and see how it goes.