How to get fit and lose weight for 2019
After several days of parties and eating plenty of food, many of us will have put on a little bit of weight over the festive break. So how do you shed the pounds following an over-indulgent yuletide? West Suffolk-based personal trainer and mother-of-two Kelly Mepham has a few tips.
■ Start as you mean to go on
This may come a little too late if you’ve already piled food on your plate over Christmas, but Kelly’s advice for those planning any more large meals is “a bit of everything in moderation”.
She added: “I think a lot of people have this mentality of: ‘I’m going to eat what I like over Christmas, it’s going to be bad and I’m going to put on weight but I’ll find a way of shifting it.’
“Christmas Day is probably the exception for me - I go whole hog and one day doesn’t really make a lot of difference.
“But if I know I’m going to be eating out in the evening, I make sure my breakfasts are really healthy so I’m not eating a lot more calories.
“If you’re going to go out for a family walk, then you can afford that extra piece of cake - but my one piece of advice if you’re struggling to lose weight is just keep it in moderation and don’t get silly.”
■ Set realistic targets
Many of us will make a New Year’s resolution on January 1 to lose a certain amount of weight - but Kelly says: “The key thing is to make the target achievable.
“Some people try to lose too much too soon. If they do manage to achieve it, they feel completely awful - which leads to them falling off the wagon later.
Kelly advises that people set SMART goals - specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely.
“Without a proper goal, you can’t keep motivated,” she said.
“You need to have a proper plan in place.”
■ Pick an exercise you enjoy
Kelly says that exercise is sometimes seen as a “dirty word” - but she says: “It should be an enjoyable hobby you keep up for life.”
However some people prefer certain ways of exercising to others. Kelly, for example, doesn’t enjoy team sports as much as some people - but for others, football and rugby are the most fun ways for them to keep fit.
“The key is to pick something you enjoy,” she said.
“How many people go to a class they don’t enjoy? You’ve got to find something you really like.”
■ Buddy up
Kelly encourages those trying to lose weight or reach a fitness goal to “buddy up with friends and do lots of sessions in twos and threes”.
But she even encourages people to go beyond that by telling family, friends and work colleagues what they are doing.
“It’s really important a lot of people know what you’re trying to achieve,” she said.
“If you’re trying to get fit, you will have weeks and days when you feel demotivated. It’s really important to have a support network.”
And it might mean work colleagues who have a tendency to pass round the cakes will be more considerate of your goals.
■ Build a habit
One of the most important things when getting fit is to make exercise and healthy eating a habit that becomes almost second nature, said Kelly.
“When I get a client that hasn’t exercised for a while, I aim to get them moving three times a week.
“Once it becomes the norm, you can build on that and make it harder.”
She said that studies show that if someone has been following a regular routine for six weeks, it usually becomes the norm - and means people are more likely to stick to it.
■ Healthy and balanced diet
Kelly believes it is possible to over-complicate diet and calorie counting, but that it is worth keeping in mind some basic tips.
She advises people eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day and make the switch to wholegrain bread to “feel fuller for longer”, as well as eat plenty of carbohydrates.
She also says people should eat more fish, cut the fat off meat and reduce their added sugar intake.
But Kelly said: “It’s not necessarily about how many calories you’re eating but how you’re distributing them during the day.”
She recalls one client of hers who changed from eating three meals a day to six smaller ones - and lost weight as a result.
Many also skip breakfast but Kelly says this is one of the most important meals of the day for your metabolism.
■ Get some sleep
It may surprise some people, but Kelly says: “If you’re sleep deprived, your body doesn’t metabolise fat as well as it would do otherwise.”
That means that if you’re not getting enough sleep, you’re likely to put on weight - so getting a full night’s sleep can not only make you feel fresher the next day, but will also help your waistline.
■ Feel good about yourself
Kelly says: “I come across so many people who are so hard on themselves. They expect things to happen quickly.”
But she said people should look more at the positives of their size and shape, instead of the negatives.
“There is a lot of pressure to look a certain way,” she said.
“People aren’t kind enough to themselves. There aren’t many people who look in the mirror and like what they see.
“In the world in general, we’re just too hard on ourselves. People need to appreciate their bodies more.”