Last week we looked at ‘just jumping’, taking the plunge and throwing yourself off that cliff edge into your new lifestyle.
If you have done just that, then congratulations, you have finally made the commitment to live your life for you, for your families and friends, and be the best version of yourself. That’s not to say there was anything wrong with the other version of you, but we can’t tell you enough, how you will definitely feel happier being healthier and fitter, and if your aim is to lose weight, then that will take care of itself!
But… we all know that you aren’t going to wake up and be healthier and fitter overnight, just like you didn’t wake up one morning, suddenly feeling unhealthy and maybe a little bit unhappy. So, the first part of this journey to the new version of you is to accept that this isn’t going to happen immediately, and all you need to do is just start to make small incremental changes to get you on the right path, eating less, moving more and living differently.
Software and Apps
If you think about software, and apps – how often do our phones have to update over night – sometimes its daily. There’s always another version, and the software companies never stop changing things to make the next version better than the last – and this is the same as us.
We should never stop improving and finding ways to be the best version of ourselves. Don’t be happy with just good enough – be the best you can be!
Take each change one day at a time, wait for that change to bed in, test the software, see if it works
for you, see if you can maintain it forever, and if you can keep going. Then work out how you can
improve on that, and make another change and so on and so on. Trial and error – there isn’t a one size fits all for this, you have to find what works for you!
Find the Quick Wins
We know that most people find that moving more is relatively easy to do, especially at this time of the year, the weather is a bit nicer we have lighter evenings, all motivating you to get outside and go for a walk or a jog, or just doing something a bit more active. And right now, this is perhaps all we can do to keep sane, and get some form of exercise.
We also know that people come to us and say, I can’t understand why I haven’t lost weight this week, because I’ve done so much exercise… and we definitely know that in these circumstances it will be because they haven’t eaten to their calories.
Remember the stats – if you are eating to the point that you are currently gaining weight, to get to the point where are you losing weight you will probably need to eat 7000 less calories a week. This equates to 1000 calories less a day – which is the equivalent of 5 HIIT sessions each day, 2 hours of spinning, a 7-10 mile run or 5 hours of strength training… so take your pick!
The biggest window of opportunity is definitely the food!
When we started losing weight, we looked for those opportunities to get the biggest calorie deficits – for Rick it was ditching custard creams, milk, and cheese, for Rachel it was bread, garlic bread, and pasta.
Rachel swapped sandwiches and crisps at lunch for salad or soups with no bread, started weighing
pasta, to make sure she was only using what she should, and stopped having garlic bread as an
accompaniment to her evening meals. Simple things, but could probably have saved 5 or 600
calories a day.
Prior to starting to eat healthier she had got into the habit of buying chocolate bars, and eating
multiple chocolate biscuits a day – that simply had to stop – so no more chocolate bars at the
checkouts in the supermarket, no more kit-kats or Rocky bars with a brew.
Rick cut out cheese completely, and never bought a pack of custard creams again!
This is also about making smart choices – resist the marketing of those diet products, specially
formulated (actually read ‘marketed’) to help you lose weight. If you read the nutrition label you will see that they
aren’t particularly that much better for you after all.
- Go ahead yogurt breaks – only 72 calories a slice – but they come in packs of 2 – so that’s nearly 150
calories – compared with a kit kat at 107 calories.
- Muller light chocolate yogurts – fat free and 95 calories or a Rolo Chocolate Mousse – 80
- Special K Milk Chocolate Chewy delight bar – 96 calories or 4 small squares of dark chocolate (depending on brand)- 88 calories.
We know which we would rather have! This is behaviour change not marketing tricks!
Obsessing over the wrong things
We used to work with a lady who obsesses over losing weight and telling everyone how many calories and syns she is consuming but insists upon buying these ‘special’, diet, treat foods, and guess what? She isn’t losing weight. Because eating these foods isn’t necessarily changing her behaviour around food. It’s just replacing one bad food with a slightly less bad food. To really change your behaviour, and therefore your lifestyle, you need to remove these types of foods altogether.
We aren’t saying don’t have treats at all, maybe reduce it once or twice a week, or make it fit in you calories once a day. This is about choosing to eat healthy and clean for most of the time. Eating foods packed with sweeteners and chemicals that are put in to trick your body into thinking you have had a treat are most definitely not clean.
Clean eating sounds faddy but it isn’t. It’s just about keeping things simple, and we like simple! Clean eating is just the term that’s been applied to eating food that’s fresh and natural and easy for the body to process. Clean eating is likely to help you on your way to hitting your calorie target, because clean eating foods are lower in calorie, nutritious and most of all filling.
Be Strong Golden Rules
When we first set Be Strong up, we came up with some golden rules. And these golden rules implement the clean eating ethos….
- Get your five a day every day (and more if you can) – 80g of fruit or vegetables counts as one of your five a day
Fruit juice can only count once (150ml) – due to its high sugar content – high sugar = more calories
Potatoes do not count as one of your five a day
- Drink plenty of water – fruit juices and fizzy drinks are full of sugar and therefore additional calories!
- Make sure your plate looks like the eat well plate, when you have a meal
- Choose wholemeal/grain bread, rice and pasta
- Choose skinless, lean white meats and fish
- If you feel peckish eat a piece of fruit or raw veg pieces – carry a couple of pieces of fruit in your bag, in case you get peckish when you’re out and about
- Cut down on alcohol – try to have at least 5 alcohol free days a week
- Drink a pint of water half an hour before every meal
- Take your time with your meals, eat slowly, sip water with your meal, and stop eating when you are full
- Choose healthier cooking practices – grilling instead of frying, cutting visible fat off meats, poaching, boiling and steaming are all fat free methods of cooking
You can use these as rules to eat by, and you can’t go far wrong, and will get you a long way down the line of being the best version of you on the nutrition front.
Take the pressure off!
Don’t put pressure on yourself to be perfect from the get go. We aren’t perfect, no one is. What we need to do is just focus on being the best we can be, each day. The best version of us. And that includes looking after all aspects of our health. Think back to that software, all the time the developers are learning, what their customers want, and what will look better on apps, phones, tablets, they work out glitches and issues, so that things function more smoothly. And this is what we have to do. Focus on making small improvements that last, and if they don’t work, try something else. But always keep in mind, that you are being the best version of you, and if something doesn’t align with that, then don’t do it.
Keep being you! But be the best version of you. Times are hard, and we are all struggling in our own ways, so be kind to yourself and look after yourself . Nourish you body and soul with good wholesome food, exercise and sleep. The end is potentially in sight, with some big announcements coming from the government this week. Keep looking after yourself inside and out, and keep healthy!