Need to shift a few pounds for the Summer?

lose weight

Have you been ‘battling’ to shift a few pounds? I know I have and yes, ladies, it’s definitely harder as you get older! Here’s what’s worked for me … finally!

Working from home, in front of a computer or on the phone for most of the day, it became obvious I definitely need fewer calories than compared to a few years ago. Even when I’m exercising  – running, walking, cycling regularly, classes two or three times a week, I was eating more than I needed, so either the weight crept up or just wouldn’t shift. And then there are the weekends away with friends and family.

Carbs and late evening eating certainly don’t help. Yep, posting pics of cake and mentions of chocolate on social media also show where my treats and temptations lie!

Take note of what you eat and drink

What exercise you do or don’t do on a regular basis. Be really honest! Look at the quick wins you could make – cut out snacks, sweet things – cakes, biscuits, alcohol, grazing during the day, finishing off the children’s meals, eating your main meal late in the evening …

Try eating earlier and smaller portions. Be aware of sugar, salt and fats ‘hidden’ in many ready meals and processed foods. Don’t fill up the fridge or cupboards with tempting snacks in the first place. Eat more fruit and veg, drink more water.

Think 80/20 – 5 days eating healthily and enjoy the weekend or, depending on your lifestyle, at least 2-3 days healthier eating in a week. It’s not all calorie counting and restricting what you eat. I still enjoy a good meal out, I still eat cake – it’s all about the balance.

Make healthy eating choices.

Switch poor food choices for better, healthier options. Fresh not processed. Fad diets or pills don’t work. Not only will you feel deprived but you’re more likely to go back to your old eating habits as soon as you finish the ‘diet’, which isn’t sustainable.

When you get into the habit of eating more healthily, you’re less like to want to over-indulge or reach for sugary or salty snacks, especially once you start seeing results. Get informed about what you’re really eating not the advertising ‘blurb’ which is often misleading at best – ‘healthy’, ‘low fat’ doesn’t mean it’s not full of sugar, preservatives, colourings etc. The fewer ingredients on the label and the more natural and unprocessed the food the better.

For me, being aware of how many calories I’m consuming makes a difference. The occasional biscuit or glass of wine is OK but when you realise just how many (empty) calories it contains or just how long you’d need to exercise to balance it out, you might just have one and not half a packet or a whole bottle!

Yes, if I’m exercising a lot or doing a long cycle ride, I’ll eat more than on a work day but I can’t get away with the – “Oh, I’m exercising so I need to eat more” excuse any more! Weight loss programmes and apps help you focus and will also give you support and accountability. Buddy up with a friend and you can keep each other motivated.

I also juice regularly. A quick blast of juicing for a few days will kick-start the weight loss and healthier eating habits. Combine a healthy meal option with two or three juices for a few days a week – especially after a weekend away and you’ll easily drop a couple of pounds.

Increase the activity in your day. 

Set yourself a challenge and aim for 5000-10000 steps a day, especially if you don’t exercise regularly. If you sedentary you’re probably only doing 1000-3000 steps each day. Start by walking around the block and build up the distance over time. 10000 steps is almost 5 miles (8km). Set yourself a challenge – your first 5k or a charity event to give you a target to aim for.

High Intensity Training (HIT) sessions have shown better results than traditional 30 minute cardio or gym sessions, especially for ladies of a certain age and it works for gents too! Short bursts (30-secs to 1 minute) of very high intensity cardio or weight sessions with a few seconds of recovery, repeated for 10-20 minutes, three times a week. You don’t need much equipment and there are several HIT apps available, so you can do them at home. There are even 7-minute versions!

I’ve noticed a person walking past my house each day. They’ve been doing this for a few months and from what I’ve seen they’re doing this to get fit or lose weight. I can see the difference. They’ve certainly lost weight and part of it is that they’re just walking around the block. Of course I don’t know what other changes they’ve made but regular exercise is certainly part of it.

One of my clients recently lost 1.5 stone and ran her first 4k. She has an eating and exercise plan she can stick to without feeling deprived and she’s fitter than ever. I’m not a diet or fitness coach but it’s all part of the balance and about making changes in whatever area of our life we want to focus on.

When it comes down to it, its still as basic as:

  • fewer calories in (eat less, eat the right things)
  • more calories out (exercise more)

As for me – my daily yoga, mix of other activities through the week, juicing and … being summer, diet of fresh veg, those stubborn few pounds have finally shifted.

If you’re struggling to find the time, juggling work and family and don’t know where or how you can even start, get in touch or add a comment below.