So you’ve been telling yourself 2016 will be the year you get fit. The year you eat super clean and get your body super lean. Now that the supermarkets stock most health foods, and there are loads of healthy cafes around, it will be easy right? But didn’t you say that about 2015 this time last year? And every year before that as far back as you can remember? I thought so! Well, I have some tips that I hope will help you make 2016 the year you really do get in shape and stay healthy.
1. Plan & Prepare
Preparation is key. Plan your weekly meals and buy your food in advance. This means you’re less likely to pick up a pre-made dinner when you’re tired and hungry on the way home from work. By bringing lunch in to work you’re less likely to be tempted by the sweet treats aisle by avoiding the need to go to a shop/cafe. Making your own meals also means you have greater control over the amount of ‘bad stuff’ (artificial sugars, saturated fats, etc) you consume.
2. Find an eating pattern that works for you
Avoid crash diets and juice cleanses. Find an eating pattern that works for you and your lifestyle. My boyfriend introduced me to intermittent fasting. This is when you push back your eating window as late in the day as you can, and you can sip on black coffee in the meantime. By reducing your eating window you can easily reduce your daily calorie intake. Your body is also thought to be able to burn fat much easier when in a fasted state as your insulin levels are low, allowing people to eat the same foods as they usually would, but loosing weight! Similarly, it has been found to help reduce breakouts as your body spends less time processing and absorbing foods and can spend more time on detoxing processes (read more here). It’s been great for us and I’d definitely recommend trying it. But remember, it is a lifestyle not a crash diet. Fasting for a week every month will not allow you to reap the same benefits. So take the time to figure out the best routine for you to get in to minimise over-eating and unnecessary snacking.
3. Try veganising a meal a day
I’m venturing vegan this year- something I’ll be writing about very soon! I’ve been on-and-off vegan for the last 3-4 months and I’ve found I’ve eaten a lot more vegetables, a lot fewer pre-made meals, and a LOAD less naughty treats. Many store-bought lunches have hidden dairy, as well as added sugars, salt, and saturated fats. Avoiding dairy means I am more motivated to make my own meals from scratch, which tend to be much healthier and more wholesome. It has also help me to stay strict and avoid sugary snacks. That’s not to say store-bought vegan-friendly foods are always better. You can’t eat a pack of Oreos a day and think of yourself as healthy (yes- Oreos are vegan!).
I love pizza and was so worried about missing it, but vegan pizza is actually amazing!
4. Get a gym buddy
Force a friend into fitness (like I did- sorry Rosie!), or make nice with someone you often see working out at the same time as you. Organising an activity with someone else makes you consider it as more of a social (and therefore fun) event. It also means you’re less likely to skip a session last minute as you don’t want to let your partner down.
It can also add a bit of healthy competition as you’ll want to hold plank longer than your friend!
5. Add exercise to your weekly routine
Pick a gym class or exercise time slot you can commit to on a weekly basis. This helps make fitness part of your routine so that it seems normal and natural, and therefore less effort! If you can, schedule this three times a week- for example Monday and Wednesday evenings, and once at the weekend. If you really want to get fit, once a week is not enough. You need to work out 3-4 times a week to see a real change. And no, your 15 minute walk down to the train station doesn’t count- good try though!
6. Ethical Activewear
If you, like me, love a coordinated gym outfit, you may get motivation from sustainable sportswear. Carefully select activewear that you’ll want to show off from ethical and environmentally-conscious brands. Choose items that you have a genuine love for that will motivate you to get moving. Key brands include Puma, Adidas, Patagonia and Stella McCartney for Adidas. But don’t go crazy- remember to stick to the 30 wears rule, and only purchase what you actually need. Read my festive fitness post for more information on eco-friendly fitness brands.
I’d love to know your own top tips for staying fit and healthy so share them in the comments box below!