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Spring into a healthier you
Step 1: Ditch the weighing scales
There are many reasons why weighing scales can actually be misleading when it comes to progressing towards a healthier you, here are 5 reasons to put the scales away before you start your journey to becoming a healthier you:
- Muscle is denser than fat, so just because your weight may not have changed you may still have lost inches from your waist and other areas of your body.
- If you have committed to a whole week of eating healthier and exercising more just to find out you’ve barely lost a pound it can easily affect your mood, you may want to give up on all the hard work you’ve done if you feel like it’s getting you nowhere.
- The number that shows on the scales can be easily affected by things such as time of day, what you’ve eaten and even hormones.
- If you step on the scales to see that you have in fact lost weight, you may be encouraged to go out and treat yourself to a nice three-course meal to celebrate effectively ruining all the hard work you have put in. Without weighing scales, you will be more motivated to continue with your healthy eating and exercise until you can physically see and feel the results of your hard work.
- A healthy weight for someone else may not be a healthy weight for you. A number on the scales does not take into consideration your height or your proportions.
Step 2: Plan and prepare
As the saying goes, failing to plan is planning to fail so create a meal plan for the week and make sure you stick to it. If you are tempted to go out and buy a chocolate bar from the nearest shop at lunch then why not try leaving your money and bank cards at home, that way you can’t possibly give in to temptation.
Ensure you have all the ingredients you need for your weekly plan. Stock up on essential ingredients that can be easily turned into a healthy meal. Herbs, spices and stock are always great ingredients to have in the cupboard as well as dry pasta and rice.
If you work full time, cooking freshly cooked meals every night can seem like a chore and it can be tempting to simply throw a pizza in the oven. Meals such as Chilli con Carne and Bolognese are great as they can be healthy as long as you use low-fat meat and lots of veg and can also be made in bulk, leaving you with portions that can be stored away in the freezer ready for those nights where you simply can’t be bothered to cook a meal from scratch!
For a quick healthy meal, a stir fry is always a good go-to, experiment with the flavours and throw in lots of fresh veg! And if you are struggling for inspiration, sites such as BBC Good Food have lots of healthy recipes available to use.
Step 3: Keep hydrated
Most of us are guilty of not drinking enough water in the day and often we mistake dehydration for hunger, leading us to consume more food unnecessarily. There are many benefits that you can get from drinking plenty of water, including:
- You will feel more energised
- Promotes weight-loss
- Flushes toxins out of your body
- Improves skin complexion
- Naturally relieves headaches which can be caused by dehydration
- Helps to keep joints lubricated and muscles more elastic
- Boosts your immune system
Step 4: Get moving
According to the NHS, adults aged 19-64 years old should do at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week such as cycling or fast walking but if you take up a more vigorous exercise such as running, the minimum you need to do is 75 minutes. Strength exercises should also be done on two or more days a week.
Getting fit doesn’t mean you have to join a gym or go out running, exercises such as water aerobics, pushing a lawnmower, hiking, volleyball, doubles tennis and basketball all count as a moderate level exercise. More vigorous exercises include fast swimming, football, rugby, hockey, aerobics, gymnastics and martial arts. So if you’re not a fan of exercise then why not take up a hobby and reap all the benefits at the same time?
How you use your time exercising is up to you, a recommendation is to complete 30 minutes of moderate exercise 5 days a week, with 2 days or rest. You don’t have to do the same exercise each day and you can incorporate your housework and, if applicable, dog walking into this, just remember to up the pace and put in a little more effort to really make it count!
Step 5: Your mind is important too
Being healthy doesn’t just include your body. According to Web MD, stress can cause physical symptoms including elevated blood pressure, headaches, upset stomach, chest pains and sleeping problems so it pays to look after your mind.
So how can you beat stress? The National Institution of Clinical Excellence has recommended that you practice mindfulness which is when you learn to focus solely on the present moment and allow yourself to enjoy it. Find out more about mindfulness on the NHS website.
Another great way to allow yourself to let go of stress and to also get fit at the same time is through yoga. Contrary to belief, yoga can be suitable for people of all shapes and sizes and you don’t need to join up to a class to get started. There are plenty of apps available on smartphones that will teach you how to practise yoga from your own home! You can also find tutorials on sites such as YouTube.
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