For many January means a new year and a new start and I am one of those people. I think the dawn of a new year is the perfect opportunity to change things that you’re not happy with and to look ahead with hopes of success and determination. For even more people it’s the time to shake up your diet and exercise regime in the hope of getting that summer bod in time for your holiday, but for me I see getting in shape and getting fit as a complete lifestyle change, and I think it’s really important you think of it that way too.
|I’m very much looking forward to heading out for beach runs again this summer.|
Getting healthy does not mean you’re on a diet or you’re exercising into oblivion, it’s a complete overhaul of your life and means changing habits that you may have had for years. Believe me, I’ve been there. I put on a lot of weight whilst in my first two years of university and was honestly very unhappy. I remember looking at photographs of myself and feeling so gutted at how much damage I had done to my body. Late nights of drinking shots at Revs, followed by hungover days stuffing my face with anything I could find had obviously done a lot more harm than good.
From there I started to make positive, healthy changes to my lifestyle such as swapping foods for healthier alternatives and using fitness as a way to motivate, inspire and de-stress. I’m in no way an expert but these are the tips and tricks I’ve used to get healthy and I will be using them again to get back in shape after over-indulging over the holidays. One thing I think is really important to remember is that it’s not all about vanity and looking good. Living healthily makes you feel good too. It gives self-confidence, motivation and inspiration, and I think that’s something we should all aspire to. So for today’s post I thought I would share with you my tips and tricks to living healthy and getting lean in 2016:
1. Cut the crap
It really is that simple. Cutting junk food out of your diet can make such a huge difference to your body and the results are seriously quick too. I’ve eaten healthily for the past ten days and already my stomach is flatter and that horrid bloated feeling has vanished after overeating throughout the festive period. Junk food makes you feel sluggish, it’s full of “empty” calories with virtually no nutritional value, it causes acne, high blood pressure and an array of health issues, and causes weight gain, of course. Stick to lots of fresh fruit and veggies with meat and complex carbs like brown rice, oatmeal and starchy vegetables, like sweet potatoes, to give you energy. After all, abs are made in the kitchen and no matter how often you work out if you’re eating unhealthily you won’t see a huge difference.
Here are three easy steps to cutting the crap out of your diet:
1. Don’t buy it – if it’s not in your cupboard/fridge then you’re not going to eat it.
2. Plan your meals – don’t grab something naughty whilst on your work break and take a healthy packed lunch instead.
3. Keep a food diary – writing down each and every thing you eat each day will soon motivate you to keep it clean.
2. Find a workout you enjoy
So, it’s January. It’s time to get fit and healthy. The gym membership has been bought, you have all the sports gear (but maybe no idea) and you’re determined to get up at 5am to do a killer workout before work. Fast-forward to February and you’re back in your pjs, bingewatching Netflix with a box of chocolates and a glass of wine for company. Let’s be honest, going to the gym can be rather boring. This is why it’s so important to find a workout or exercise regime that you enjoy.
Whether it’s shaking your booty in a Zumba class, lifting weights in Body Pump, going running on the beach with your dog or rolling out a mat in your bedroom for some Pilatés or Yoga stretching, find what works for you. I find that gym classes are really beneficial as they motivate you to keep going and, with the help of the instructor, you can utilise their expert advice and get a full body workout. Try to schedule at least three hours of workouts into your week that incorporate both cardio vascular exercises, such as running, walking, skipping or even dancing, and weight and core training to help you tone up.
Here are three easy steps to getting your butt moving:
1. Join classes – working out with a group of people and an instructor helps you keep focused.
2. Schedule workouts into your life – I like to workout 5 times a week and choose on a Sunday what days I will workout and rest.
3. Walk instead of taking transport/the elevator – simple steps that can really go a long way.
3. Avoid alcohol
There’s been a lot of talk in the UK press lately about the dangers of alcohol, with experts saying we should all cut down on the amount we drink. My family doesn’t really drink if I’m honest, unless going out to a party or event, so I’ve never really understood the hype around getting home from work and having a large glass of red to relax you after a busy day, though I have had my fair share of drunken nights out whilst at university. But did you know just how many calories are in a glass of wine or a bottle of cider? Live Well by the NHS states that a pint of cider has around 215 calories, while a bottle of alcopop has 200 kcal. These empty calories go straight into your gut and with seven calories per gram in alcohol, you’re drinking the calorific equivalent of almost a gram of full fat!
What’s more, the next day you’ll be craving all things sugary to feed off the effects of the night before. Fatty foods and sugary snacks will be at the top of your hunger priorities; I mean, who wants to eat a salad on a hangover day? This post is not here to preach about why alcohol is bad, and I’m not trying to tell you to give up alcohol forever, but avoiding the stuff will really help you if you’re looking to get lean in 2016! It’s all about keeping everything in moderation, after all. If you want to see how much you’re drinking, you can use the NHS’ Drinks Checker here.
4. Get more sleep
Ahh.. Here’s a little tip that we can all enjoy! It’s so important to get enough sleep anyway, but if you’re looking to shed a few pounds then it’s essential. Late nights and early mornings can often leave us feeing sluggish and grouchy, but the benefits to getting more sleep stretch way beyond that! Did you know that getting your recommended 7-9 hours of sleep helps you to burn more calories the next day, even when you’re resting? It also keeps your mind energised and focused to keep you on track with your diet and exercise regime, so snuggle up and go to bed extra early this evening.
|Image Credit: InspireMeThin/Tumblr|
5. Have a healthy mindset and focus on you
This reiterates what I said in the introduction to this post but I think having a healthy mindset is probably the most important part to getting yourself in shape, and it involves positive thinking and a little self-love. It’s so easy to start obsessing over how you look and comparing yourself to fitness models and bloggers on Instagram, but you need to remember that you are doing this for yourself. You’re making the conscious decision to change up your lifestyle and your body and mind will reap the rewards. If you’re starting to feel as though your hard work isn’t paying off, and that little gremlin of self-doubt is rearing its ugly head in your mind, then look back at how far you’ve come. Whether it’s being able to run 5k when you could barely run two minute before, or if you’ve avoided eating sweet snacks for a week when you were so dependent on them previously, you’re doing well and you can totally do it guuuurl! Keep going!!
I hope you all enjoyed reading this post and if you would like to see more fitness based posts, including exercise regimes and healthy foods then please let me know in the comments. Like I said previously, I’m no expert at all but I have been living this healthy lifestyle for the best part of a year and a half now and I have seen such a tremendous change in both my body and the way I think about exercising and food – it’s like it’s a part of me, it’s become second nature. That’s not to say I don’t ever eat anything bad (I’m obsessed with chocolate fudge cake and pizza) but I try to limit it to special occasions and opt for healthier choices when possible.
I also want to say that if you’re ever in need of a little confidence boost or want a chat then do not hesitate to get in touch via e-mail or on Twitter. I know a lot of blogging girls who are currently on a mission to live a healthier lifestyle and we’re all in this together. What’s more there’s also a Fitness Chat (@fitbunnieschat) that takes place on Twitter every Sunday at 6pm GMT, which you can join to share advice and your own tips and tricks. I’ll be joining in this evening for sure!
What are your top tips for getting in shape?
Lots of love,