Building an achievable fitness plan

The most important first step to becoming fit is making a workable fitness plan, otherwise it’s too easy to lose focus. Try asking yourself these five questions below and make sure you answer them completely honestly:

Building an achievable fitness plan

1. What are my bad health habits?

Your answers might be poor eating, having too many snacks or sitting down for too many hours…

2. Where do you rate yourself on a scale of 1-10?

One being completely out of shape – breathing heavily while doing daily tasks – and 10 being perfect fitness.

3. How much time do you currently dedicate to exercise or activity each week?

And is it enough?  Would you like to be more fit and do you want to have more energy?

4. What three fitness activities do you most enjoy? 

Be honest – do you like walking, exercise classes or simply playing outdoors with your kids?  Don’t hold back from putting something more adventurous down as a bonus answer  – you can work up to high-powered activities as you build your fitness.

5.  What roadblocks have caused you to lose focus in the past?

Maybe you’ve stopped exercising because you’ve become busy at work, or your routine was interrupted and you didn’t get back into fitness.  Put down anything that derailed your plans.

Now let’s use your answers to make a fitness plan

You can decide to fix just one thing at a time so that you don’t overwhelm yourself.  Let’s go through your answers and build a fitness plan you can stick to all year.  You don’t need to aim too high – right now, we just want to improve on where you are now.

Overcoming bad habits

If you eat unhealthily then you should focus on making your next meal more healthy because you can’t change what you’ve eaten in the past but you can make sure your next meal meets all your nutritional needs.  Approach fitness in the same way: focus on your current or next workout and do the best you can. Decide right now when you are going to do an activity… or even go and grab your running shoes and prepare for an activity session as soon as you finish reading this!

Your fitness rating

It’s good to know where you are – but you also need to think about where you want to be.  I’d like you to aim for two points higher than your current number.  So,  if you rate a five then your fitness plan should slowly take you up to a seven. And, if you’re already at level 10 then I know you’re ready for any challenge but maybe you could diversify?  Think about whether there are any areas you could further develop or learn to love more?

Your exercise routine

If you want to give more time in your life to exercise then try to increase your exercise habits by 10 minutes per week until you reach at least 30 minutes of activity a day.  Exercise doesn’t have to be daunting: if you currently sit down in an office for long periods then promise yourself that you’ll go and visit a colleague instead of emailing at least twice each day.  Or, plan a walk straight after work – even if you only go around the block then at least you’re out and about.  As you build your fitness plan, you’ll soon see that adding 10 minutes of activity here and there can make your day more fun and that has to be better than thinking of exercise as a chore.

Choosing an activity

You can start out by only doing the activities on your list – the ones you listed in answer to question four. The start of your fitness plan is not a good time to try new types of exercise, so focus on your favorites – they’ll help you feel confident and comfortable for the first few weeks.  Activities like walking, jogging and body-weight exercises are a great way to start out. I love the phrase: “don’t run before you can walk” because a slow and steady approach builds results that will last.

Avoiding roadblocks

If you find yourself always stumbling because of one particular obstacle then avoid it!  It sounds simple I know, but if you always plan early morning workouts but you can’t get out of bed then consider lunchtime or evening sessions.  You know yourself and your fitness plan needs to be tailored to who you are so, don’t pledge to do something that you won’t enjoy because then you’re less likely to succeed.

Finalizing your fitness plan

Now you should have everything you need to create a fitness plan that meets your needs.  You know what you want to achieve, how you what to achieve it and why.  You even know what might knock you off course.  With your fitness plan, be kind to yourself and choose an easier route that you know you will be happy navigating over the long term.

Once you have gathered all your thoughts, why not write them out clearly? For me, transferring my thoughts to paper helps to make them concrete – and if I have my goals written down, I know I can’t ignore them. Place your fitness plan somewhere prominent to remind you of your starting point and your aims.  I recommend sticking it on the fridge because keeping it visible will help to keep you motivated.  I also always keep an exercise journal because it’s a great way to track my progress and, when it works, you want to be able to remember how you did it.

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Are You Facing A Weight loss plateau?

Have you hit a weight loss plateau? Has your fitness plan stalled and you don’t feel you’ll reach your goals?  Don’t worry, you’re not alone. I can help you power back up and start seeing results again.

Weight loss plateau

 

If you ever feel that you are doing everything just right with your fitness and nutrition plan but your results don’t seem to represent all of your hard work then I have a simple but effective piece of advice. Hitting a fitness or weight loss plateau is a very common problem in the world of sports performance and general weight loss. There are many theories on why our bodies sometimes hit a temporary yet frustrating roadblock but, by thinking outside the box, you can power through the frustration and start seeing results again. Keep on reading and you may be surprised at just how easy it can be to jump-start your flat-lined results.

All you need to do is take a few days rest in order to kick start your results.  Honestly – I’m not crazy or cracking one of my usual jokes – you need to do something really different to put body back on track and move past your fitness or weight loss plateau. I believe that if you’re ready to break free from a weight loss plateau or prevent yourself from hitting a future roadblock then a good rest may just be the magic ingredient you need.

Being consistent with your activity level and nutrition plan is an important strategy when it comes to sports performance, weight loss and fitness but have you ever heard the old saying that “too much of a good thing can be a bad thing”?  In my opinion this saying is especially true when it comes to overexerting your body. Pushing your body to the point of exhaustion can spell disaster for your fitness level and weight loss goals. A plateau can happen at any point if you don’t schedule some quality down time into your program.

Three great reasons to rest your body

Here are my good reasons why a rest is sometimes more beneficial than a training session.

  • Avoid fatigue

Your body needs to re-generate, restore and repair itself often. The most effective way for your body to naturally heal itself is for you to rest. Overworked muscles and over-stressed joints just don’t perform as well and luckily our body lets us know when our muscles are overworked.  Your pain receptors will make movements uncomfortable and your joints can become tender when you push your body too hard. The nervous system also needs time to rest in order to adapt and improve from training.

Always listen to your body and rest if you are sore.

  • Natural Cycle

Athletes train in cycles for a reason, the timing of training may vary from athlete to athlete but one common factor in every athlete’s training program are pre-planned rest days. One of the main reasons athletes rest is to avoid fatigue, but resting the body also helps athletes avoid common overuse or stress injuries. Many athletes notice an improved general performance after taking time off from training.

A well-rested body will get better results than a tired one.

  • Spark Excitement

If you are putting your body through the motions day after day, you can become complacent and your exercise intensity is likely to drop without you even realizing.

Have you ever seen a dog that hasn’t been walked for a few days? As soon as the dog goes out, it’s like a whole new world and they are just so excited. Well, it can be the same for humans when we’re working out.Taking a day or two off from your current workout routine can make you come back to the gym with a renewed commitment and excited approach.

 ***

There could be many factors that impact your results but if over-training is one of them it is easy to fix with a simple day or two of rest. My goal is to help you discover ways to improve your current fitness level and emphasize that you should to listen to your body. We are all individuals and our bodies adapt at our own personal rate: giving your body adequate rest so it can be strong for your next workout is a smart approach to achieving sustainable results.

You only have one body so use it wisely.

Although I am encouraging you to add a few rest days into your intense training weeks, this is not an excuse for you to sit on the couch and do nothing all the time! A simple change of routine or incorporating activities that are at a lower intensity such as a gentle walk or swim are acceptable rest day activities.  Occasionally my family enjoys a ‘duvet day’ where we sit back, relax and read or watch movies.  We’re usually active and we like getting out and about but now and then it’s good for everyone to recharge.

I know that taking a rest definitely improves my performance and helps me reach the next fitness level.  So, aim for one or two rest days a week but keep your completely inactive couch days to a few times a year!

Getting Active …

So often when people hear the term ‘active’ it brings on a feeling of dread!

People imagine having to dedicate hours to insane workouts or worse, they might think of extreme sports that they’d hate like, perhaps, skateboarding and skydiving. I think this is because the term ‘active’ can have so many meanings.  We hear the word being used in commercials with a visual of a man diving off a building and the tag line “Active men use this deodorant” and it sets an expectation about what ‘active’ really means.

Some people think you have to be skinny to be active. Again this is because the media often uses the term ‘active’ while showing incredibly toned bodies with 6 pack abs. Subconsciously, this can make us associate an active lifestyle with too much hard work and danger. So if you, like so many others, find yourself saying “I’m not cut out for this active lifestyle thing” let me try and change your mind.

The perils of our modern lifestyle

The modern world of technology and advanced transport has changed the way we live. We often spend far too much time sitting at a desk staring at a screen. And, it’s a sign of the times that many people go straight from front door, to car, to parking lot.  Then they ride the elevator up to their offices, often with no fresh air in between leaving the house and arriving in the office.

Being active doesn’t take much; adding a walk around the block or even to a colleague’s desk can at least get you up and out of your chair.  I always like see how people mix up their commutes by adding a walk, climbing the stairs or even cycling if they’re feeling courageous.

Talking of bikes, have you seen the ’push bikes’ that now have engines on the back?  Or the little motorized scooters?  I bet that no one dreamed how popular these would become back in the 1990s…

Technology is wonderful but it has made us a little lazy. Just because you can sit on a bike and let it propel you to your destination, it may not be the best choice for your body especially if you want to stay healthy.

Find your own ‘active’

Find your own ‘active’, Samantha Clayton, Discover Good Fitness

The truth is that if you are not sleeping or sitting still, then you are being active.  Even fidgeting counts as activity and helps you burn calories!

Finding the level of activity that is right for your body is the best piece of advice I can give you.  Increasing your activity level can be as simple as taking a midday stroll or as dramatic as training for a marathon. Once you make a commitment to increasing your activity level, guess what? Every few weeks your body will adapt and you may be inspired to take it to the next level.

In my world the meaning of ‘active’ changes every day.  Some days it’s riding real bikes around the yard with my kids and other days it’s an extreme mountain trail adventure… Both are active, both are enjoyable and both are fun!

 ***

Getting on the activity ladder is often the biggest step of all, but now that you know that being active does not have to mean skydiving and high intensity workouts, you may be ready to start climbing up your ladder to a more active life.

Good Nutrition & Convenience Can Go Hand-In-Hand

Focus on good nutrition while making use of pre-prepared foods and you’ll find that healthy eating is easy.

Good nutrition & convenience can go hand-in-hand

One of the biggest complaints people have about eating healthily is the perception that it requires more hours in the kitchen to prepare nutritious meals.  But there are so many convenience items available now that preparing healthy meals is a snap.

For protein, you can buy fish or poultry that’s already seasoned and ready for quick grilling or frozen pre-cooked prawns that can be tossed with some pasta and veggies for a quick dish.  And don’t overlook canned tuna, salmon or chicken breast that can be added to salad greens, rice dishes or soups.

You can also boost the nutritional value of condensed soups by mixing them with non-fat milk or soy milk instead of water.  As the soup is heating, toss in some frozen mixed vegetables, or some loose pack spinach to add nutrition, flavor and bulk.  Frozen-loose pack vegetables allow you to use only what you need and are ready to eat in minutes.

Salad preparation can also be quick thanks to pre-washed salad greens, all sorts of pre-sliced and chopped veggies and baby carrots.  Add a splash of low-fat bottled dressing and some pre-cooked chicken or shrimp and you’ve got a quick and healthy meal.

Fresh, pre-washed and cut veggies are available in the produce section, and if your market has a salad bar you can often find them there, too.  Pop them in the steamer, toss with some pre-chopped garlic or onions when they’re crisp/tender, and you’ve got a gourmet dish in minutes.

Master Your Diet Demons With A Food Journal

Think keeping a food journal is a waste of time?  You might want to think again.  Study after study consistently tells us that self-monitoring – that is, keeping track of what you eat, how much exercise you get, and how much you weigh – is one of the key components to successful weight loss. 

food journal

In a recent reviews on the subject, the conclusion across the board was there was “a significant association between self-monitoring and weight loss.”

What the studies tell us is that when you’re accountable to someone – not just to yourself, but also to a healthcare provider, a life partner or a friend – you greatly improve your chances of losing weight and keeping it off.  And, the more often you keep track, the more successful you’re likely to be. In one study involving nearly 1700 people, those who kept food journals six days a week lost double the weight of those who kept food diaries only once a week or less.

Why does this work?  Because a food journal’s one of the best tools around for helping you to monitor – and change – your behavior.  You can’t change your behavior until you analyze – and acknowledge – what you’re currently doing.  Once you’ve got a clear picture of how much you’re eating and  how much (or how little) you’re exercising, you’re in a much better position to figure out what you need to work on.

And there’s more to it than simply writing it down in your food journal.  What’s even better is to record not only what and how much you’re eating – it’s also good to note why.  Were you hungry?  Or was your eating was triggered by fatigue, boredom, anger or stress?  This honest self-appraisal will help you see where you’re eating appropriately – and where a little behavior modification is called for.

There are all sorts of ways to keep track – anything from low tech paper diaries to high tech apps for your phone – but no matter how you keep tabs on yourself, there are a few things that will help ensure your success:

·     Be honest

Just keeping track of your ‘good’ days isn’t going to help you.  You need to come face-to-face with your behavior – the good, the bad and the ugly – before you can make positive changes.  Write it all down, and give yourself a pat on the back when you’re good.  But don’t beat yourself up when you’re not.  Tomorrow is another day.

·     Log your eating as you go, or even beforehand

Some people like to write down what they plan to eat and how much exercise they plan to do each day, and use their food journal like a checklist.  If you can’t do that, at least keep track as you go.  For one thing, if you pull out your journal each time you eat – or get the urge to eat – that little delay might make you think twice before you indulge.  And, if you wait until the end of the day,you’re unlikely to remember everything you ate – and by then it’s too late to change it.

·     Hone your skills when it comes to calorie counting and estimating portion size

  Your food journal is a great tool, as long as the information you’re logging is accurate.  So practice, practice, practice!  Weighing and measuring your foods at home will help you better estimate what you’re eating in restaurants, too.

·     Don’t forget the details

The cream in your coffee, the butter on your toast, the dressing on your salad and the mayo on your sandwich – all those calories add up.  Analyze your food carefully, to make sure you don’t forget any of those ‘extras’.

·     Where do I start?

If you need any help setting up your food journal ask your Patient Care Manager or contact me directly Sara@SecretSurgery.co.uk

 

Help My Weight Loss Surgery Tool Has Stopped Working!

sabotage your diet

It doesn’t matter whether you have 10lbs, 20lbs, or 90lbs to lose, the truth is your current weight is perceived by your body as it’s ideal ‘STATE’ it knows no numbers! You’ll lose weight at the rate that your body allows not your mind nor your ego expects/perceives.

Weight loss is about biology and you can not and will not outsmart your body. If you think you can, then wait until the ‘snap back effect’ or the ‘rebound weight gain’ occurs.

The harder you push, the harder the body will push back!

That’s why most people don’t maintain their weight loss and opt to have weight loss surgery to assist in the reduction and maintenance of weight loss – remember though the weight loss surgery is a tool that works with the body and not on it or against it!

If you’re feeling out of control with your eating, feeling like you’ve failed at weight loss surgery and/or have stopped losing or started gaining since your bariatric procedure, then immediate action is necessary.

Establish a regular pattern of eating

If you’ve started gaining or stopped losing weight after weight loss surgery, chances are you’ve fallen into chaotic, random eating.

That’s eating whatever you want, whenever you want. Sure, you may only be able to eat small portions since having your lap band, gastric bypass, gastric sleeve, or duodenal switch, or gastric wrap, but eating small portions, too frequently, adds up to too many calories!

That’s why you should establish a planned pattern of eating. This will provide you little “stepping stones” to get through the day.

Ideally, eat within 1 hour of waking and plan to eat little meals every 3-4 hours thereafter.

A sample schedule might look like this:

7am Breakfast
10am Snack
1pm Lunch
4pm Snack
7pm Dinner

Get back to the basics

If it’s been months or even years since your bariatric procedure, you may have forgotten about the basics:

  • Protein first
  • Avoid drinking and eating at the same time
  • Eat slowly and chew thoroughly
  • Exercise

It’s easy to get away from doing any one of these, but if you forget them all…

…hello extra weight!

Keep a food log

The best weight loss tool is not a treadmill! It’s a pen.

According to research, if you write down everything you eat each day, you’ll lose twice as much as if you didn’t.

It just makes sense, because food journaling makes you accountable for every lick, nibble and sip you take, and it’s likely mindless eating has played a part in slowed weight loss or weight re-gain after weight loss surgery.

Get back on track. You can do it!

I’ll even help you if necessary.  Contact me directly at Sara@SecretSurgery.co.uk or speak with your Patient Care Manager.

 

14 Ways You’re Sabotaging Your Diet

If you’re eating right and exercising, but still not seeing results on the scale, it could be due to a little accidental self-sabotage. Find out if you’re damaging your diet with these common mistakes.

 

sabotage your diet

 

Weight loss comes down to more than just eating your veggies. But if you really feel like you’re doing all the right things, and still not seeing results, it can be a frustrating process. Unfortunately, the reason behind your stalled weight loss could be anything from overestimating your calories burned at the gym to not getting enough sleep.

Eating Too Few Calories

celery

Many dieters make the mistake of thinking that if they cut more calories, they’ll lose weight faster. Experts warn that the opposite is almost always true. Trying to maintain a diet that is very low in calories leads to sabotage in the form of binging and, ultimately, giving up. Plus, cutting too many calories stalls your metabolism — possibly for the long-term.

Forbidding Foods and Binging

forbidden foods

Tell yourself you can’t eat a certain food, and you may end up seeing it wherever you look. Making things forbidden can always cause trouble. But one recent Spanish study found that including some forbidden foods in a weight-loss diet can provide real benefits. In the study, researchers found that women who ate bread as part of theirlow-calorie diets still lost weight and felt more full and satisfied after meals than women who cut out all bread.

Skipping Breakfast and Slowing Metabolism

skip breakfast

healthy breakfast isn’t just a tasty way to start the day, it can actually help you maintain your diet and weight-loss commitments. Study after study has confirmed that eating a breakfast that contains both protein and carbohydrates helps overweight people lose weight and normal-weight people maintain weight over time. So the next time you have a wild night out, resist the urge to skip breakfast the next day as a way to “make up” from the night before. Instead, consistently aim for balanced nutrition: wheat toast, an egg, and a serving of fruit should do the trick.

Guesstimating Portions and Overeating

guesstimating portions

If you’ve lost a few pounds by tightening up on your diet, it can be easy to get a bit lax about portion sizes — and that’s the perfect opportunity for those extra calories to creep back in. Even if you’re eating healthier overall than you were pre-diet, too-large meals can easily push you off-track.

Binging on Weekends

weekend binge

Your weekends may mean time off from work, but it’s not time off from your diet. After all, the weekend does make up more than a quarter of your month — and that’s way too much time to spend being lax about your eating habits. While we’re all for enjoying yourself on the weekends, if your habit is to indulge a little (or more) Friday evening through Sunday night every week, that’s diet sabotage. Stay on top of portion sizes Friday through Sunday while also taking advantage of additional time of the weekends to try new healthy recipes and squeeze in more calorie-burning activity.

Grazing and Eating More Calories

grazing

Many dieters are successful with frequent, small meals. But mini-meals aren’t quite the same thing as grazing throughout the day — a bite of pastry in the break room, a nibble of your co-worker’s candy bowl offerings, a handful of peanuts at happy hour, and a taste of cookie dough while baking can really throw your calorie count and nutrition out of balance. Go back to carefully measured snacks and meals for consistent weight loss.

Overeating After Workouts

eating after workout

The No. 1 commandment of weight loss is calories in vs. calories out, right? But if you’re allowing yourself to end each workout with a high-calorie sports drink or a huge meal, you’re almost instantly eating away the calories you just burned.Sugary sports drinks may be the biggest culprit in this regard. Your best bet is to stick to water to rehydrate after exercise. Keep post-workout snacks small — a stick of low-fat cheese, reduced fat chocolate milk, or half of meal bar that has both protein and carbohydrates, such as a Protein Bar, will do the trick.

Sleeping Too Short or Too Long

sleep

Sleep might not feel like it adds much to your diet and exercise strategy, but studies show that proper sleeping habits are essential for maintaining a healthy weight. Although it’s not totally clear why a lack of sleep can cause weight gain, one recent study found that sleep-deprived people eat more — about 550 calories more — throughout the day than those who are well-rested. If you’re trying to sleep yourself slim, aim for seven to nine hours of quality ZZZs every night.

Adding Extra Calories by Eating Late

late night eating

Some people eat an extra meal late at night. This can happen when you stay up, get a bit antsy, and raid the pantry, or start to get the munchies while watching your favorite primetime show. The resulting “snack” can be just as calorie-laden as your dinner was earlier in the night. And these calories count, just like all the others in your diet. Change it up by either going to bed before that urge kicks in (and get weight-loss-boosting sleep) or saving calories in your daily budget for a late-night snack that’s high on taste, but low in calories.

If night eating is a habitual problem for you, try to eat more during the day, so that you don’t find yourself starving at night. If you feel like you can’t control your night-eating, it may be time to seek professional help.

Caring Less About Weight Loss

careless

If you care less about your weight loss now than when you started your diet plan, you might be willingly turning a blind eye to sneaky calories. Remember how hopeful and energetic you were those first days and weeks, with your charts, nutrition books, food logs, and athletic gear? Over time, that enthusiasm can turn to apathy and undermine your diet. Find your way back to weight-loss success by redefining your motivations and goals.

If you need an extra kick to get you going, set up nonfood rewards for yourself every time you reach a small milestone, such as a manicure if you make all of your scheduled workouts for two weeks running.

Exercising Less Effectively

effective exercise

It’s easy to get too busy to exercise. But if you consistently skip exercise or cut back on your workout to save time, you’re harming your weight-loss strategy. Get back on track by recommitting to the exercise plan that worked for you at the start of your diet. If you suspect boredom is causing the sabotage, you might need to rev up a stale workout by rotating in new moves, athletic goals, or group classes.

Miscalculating Workout Calories

calculate caloriesMany people overestimate the calories they burn in a workout, leading to diet sabotage. This may be related to perceiving the effort as being greater than it actually is. Rather than count calories, think time and intensity. If you plan to walk, walk briskly for 30 to 45 minutes. Also, don’t underestimate your fitness abilities. I see many women who use 2-pound dumbbells but routinely lift an 8-pound purse.

Yo-Yo-ing and Crashing

yoyo dieting

Last year you lost the weight, and this year much of it is back. Story of your life, right? Yo-yo and crash diets lead to a rebound of weight gain called “weight cycling.” Successful long-term weight loss is rooted in a commitment to healthy diet and exercise that you can live with, rather than in fad diets or short-term deprivation. Your best bet might be working with a dietitian to figure out which long-term habits will stick with you.

Ignoring Liquid Calories

liquid calories

Many people ignore the full calorie content of their drinks, commonly making costly diet mistakes like drinking too much alcohol or sugary drinks (sweet tea, sodas, and juices). You can fill up on liquids but still need to eat, so you’ve consumed a lot more calories than you intended. Stick with water, unsweetened tea, sugar-free drinks, and no- or low-fat milk (which also adds nutrition to your meals).

Tried everything and nothing works?  Your not defeated … maybe you need a helping hand … thousands of people turn to Weight Loss Surgery for a helping hand on their weight loss journey.  Contact Secret Surgery Ltd today to find out more about the WLS procedures we can offer to help you.