Hopefully you read my last post about clearing out the junk food and familiarising yourself with food labels, how have you been getting on?
A few of you have asked me about how strict this challenge is going to be and the answer honestly is... As strict as YOU want it to be!
There are three different kinds of people when it comes to lifestyle changes, lets use quitting smoking as an example.
For some people, just stopping, without any tapering down or social smoking only rules find this gets the best results. These people tend to work better on a specific plan, no cheat days, no vague rules. They want clear and concise and to just cut to the chase. They accept it won't necessarily be easy, but they're prepared to make the sacrifices to get quicker results. Going cold turkey is often too much of a jump for some people, often leading to failure within just a few days. If you think you'd like to go all in with your diet and exercise you've probably already cut out the bad stuff and are just waiting for more information from me, you're going strong right now and still determined. The results mean more to you than one slice of cake... If this is you, and you like sticking to plan then you'll be choosing to be quite strict with yourself over the challenge, but be aware of keeping a healthy life balance too! I want this challenge to be about making changes that'll stick with you beyond the 11 weeks, that you enjoy and not falling back into unhealthy habits.
I'll be focusing most of my tips at those of you who feel cold turkey is one step too far. I want to ease you into the challenge, getting you to think each week about what you can do to improve your diet/fitness. When most people quit smoking, they find either gradually reducing their cigarettes or moving onto patches/e-cigs the best way. This may well feel the easier option for you with food too, which is why I've suggested as a starting point cutting out as much processed food. alcohol & added sugar as possible (three of the worst things to have in your diet). If you put sugar in your tea or coffee, you can begin by going from 2 teaspoons to 1.75, try this for 3/4 days before dropping to 1.5, and then 1.25. Sure the tea/coffee will taste a bit weird for a while, but you'll get used to it! It takes around 2 weeks for your taste buds to adapt to these changes, so start now, and before you know it, you'll be sugar free! Cut out fizzy drinks too, full sugar or diet varieties, the chemicals used in them help you in no way, shape or form. The one rule I'd like to set you with this method of cutting back, is once you've made the changes - don't be tempted to go back. A smoker doing well, 5 days clear of a cigarette but using patches runs out of patches, they struggle with stress and ask a work colleague for just one cigarette... They'll either go back to smoking or have to start again from day one, possibly "next week", and most likely having more than just the one (and not quitting at all this time)!
Didn't Want It Enough
This might sound harsh, but most people quit because they didn't want "it" enough. You've set your goals? You would like to get into a certain dress/jeans/shirt/swimwear by a certain date? You'd like to be fitter to play football with the kids? You want clearer skin? You NEED more energy? You've been told your weight is detrimental to your health? Whatever your goal is, if you WANT it, you WILL WORK for it! No excuses, everyone has been through bad times in life, and you are still in charge of whether you stay in control, or lose control. Those who stay in control find planning around busy schedules tough but in the long run it will pay off. Those who lose control, only delay further getting their desired results. YOU need to take action. Not me, but YOU! How are you going to do that? I'll be emailing over a diet and exercise planner to each of you enrolled onto the challenge. Your first step is to print it out and fill it in. Your second step is to stick to it. Your third step is to reward yourself (get some stickers for visual progress tracking), congratulate your progress and plan for the following week, make further improvements where you can. Those that give up, didn't want it enough. You've got to WANT those goals, REALLY want them! You will find time, and it will get easier. When people quit smoking, either via cold turkey or cutting back of course they think about their addiction, their mental draw to smoking, the emotional effects it has. They go one of two ways, they continue towards their goal of being smoke free, gradually finding it easier, or they go back to smoking, using stress or lack of time etc etc as an excuse and they'll try again when the time is right. When will the time be right? How do you get around this if you can't usually stick with a plan? Go for smaller goals. It might be that you know, right now, you don't REALLY want to give up sugar (chocolate, sweets, energy drinks), so what CAN you go without? Crisps, microwave meals, bread, pasta, sauces? Do you enjoy exercise and know that you can fit in more? Do something you know you CAN achieve and once you're successful, it's time to set another goal. This may be the slowest way of running your marathon, but eventually you'll cross that line!
*It takes 66 days for a habit change to form, so don't worry if you keep feeling that it's tough and you can't continue. Stick with it, don't quit now!
WHAT TO DO NOW?
- Set your goals
- Print off your exercise and meal planners and fill them in (emailed to those registered)
- Decide which foods you can reduce/go cold turkey with out of the following (for the next four weeks):
- Added Sugar
- Processed Foods
- Gluten (more on this next time)
There are other foods which can be known to cause problems, such as internal inflammation:
I'll go into more detail soon with regards to the above foods, and don't expect you to cut them out of your diet however I would like to help you understand how certain food/drink can effect your body, especially if it turns out you have an intolerance. We'll look into this more as the weeks go by.
- Lean Meat
- Healthy Fats (avocado, eggs, nuts and seeds)
So far, from the measurements I've taken your hydration levels are not where they should be! Women should be between 45-60% water and men 50-60%. Anything below this reading can explain aches and pains such as headaches and back pain, lack of energy, feeling tired, feeling confused/stressed, muscle pain, stomach pain, constipation and much more. It can take around six weeks for your body to replace water, therefore you need to be consistent with your intake. If you guzzle water all in one go, and then rush to the toilet 20 minutes later, the water is just passing straight through you. Try to sip water frequently throughout the day, using your body more too! The more you use your body, the more the water will be sucked up and absorbed by your body.
- If you hate drinking water before bed, don't. Try to drink your 2 litres by 6pm. If you're currently no where near 2 litres, just start upping by 500ml per week.
- Drink out of small cups/glasses - It seems much more doable than a pint glass and also stops you guzzling.
- Use a large bottle to measure how much you've had but keep pouring into your glass
- Eat more foods with a higher water content such as salad and vegetables.
- Try drinking green tea or hot water with lemon (don't use boiling water with green tea).
- Try infusing water with fresh fruit, dropping slices of lemon/lime/berries into a jug in the fridge and pouring into a glass as and when you fancy a change to plain water.
I'd like to leave it there for now, but in my next post I'll be going into a little more detail on types of food and why they're good/bad. Remember at this point (week one) I just really want to encourage clean eating and more exercise, cut out the crap, and ease yourself in.
If you're struggling with ideas for meals, head over to my instagram page. Left overs make great lunches too!
Enjoy planning, and let me know if you need any help!
Exercise challenge will be added tomorrow!
Exercise challenge will be added tomorrow!