One of the biggest killers to motivation is lack of results or failure to maintain those results
I mean, what’s the point when your progress seems so slow or even non existent.
And if you’re anything like the SF Fitness over 40s ladies you probably know what you should be doing.
Everyone knows vegetables are healthier than chocolate
And boiled potatoes are better than chips
Moving is better than sitting on your arse
But knowledge is rarely the problem
It’s the method that can destroy your motivation and your results
Who want’s to cut out all their favourite foods?
Eat bland, boring, tasteless food?
Stop going out?
Exercise 5 days a week?
Having to endure vomit inducing workouts?
For the small hope that this time you might be able to keep the weight off?
What’s wrong with me?
Can you fix me?
Questions I get asked a lot
You may have thought similar about yourself
This assumes it’s your fault.
But it’s not your fault
Because more often than not
It’s the method’s fault
Sure, you are the one who needs to take the steps and make some changes
But if you’re going in the wrong direction, no matter how hard you try
No matter how much discipline or willpower you try to muster
You’ll still end up in the wrong place
And when it comes to fitness and health
The wrong place means you’ve found a way that’s too damn hard to stick to
It may work short term, lose a few pounds or whatever
But long term you’ll end up hating the process
It’ll feel too restrictive to continue
It will be too time consuming
And you’ll end up doing what you’ve always done
I don’t like using the words quit or give up
Because there’s nothing wrong with stopping something that’s taking you in the wrong direction
Something that will never ever give you the desired happiness you want
There is no point in looking better if you have to endure & sacrifice too much
I’ve been there before
Thought I was great with all my discipline and willpower.
Eating ‘clean’ and low carb, only eating meals I had prepared
Never touching take aways or booze
I was a saint and thought anybody that couldn’t do what I did was weak or didn’t want it enough
That was until I realised I wasn’t truly happy
Sure my body looked and felt great but I sacrificed too much for it
My relationship, my friends, my family, my happiness
And it came to a point, in my early 30s, where I decided it wasn’t worth it
Life was for living and I had to find a different way
Sometimes this stuff can fall on deaf ears for young women
But I find women over 40 are in a better place
They’ve tried it all before and are fed up
They may even be at a point doubting themselves
Is it ever going to happen?
But the way to make it happen is to find a way that feels doable
And this means making small changes instead of the drastic overhauls you’re used to
You may have promised to do something about your fitness and body at the start of the year
Started off gung ho, with an all or nothing mentality
Look where that’s got you
Still not happy
Feeling like you’ve failed again
And now summer’s coming
Do you really want to endure another extreme method?
Maybe this time you try something different.
Start right now, make small changes like the ones listed below
And finally find the way to keep those results
These changes won’t sound sexy
They aren’t extreme
You won’t belong to a fitness cult when you do them
And you won’t lose a stone in a week
But they will work for you for the long term
And when combined will not only give you the confident body shape but the ability to keep it
Pick one, do it daily, once you’ve got a handle on it move on to another one
Chew Your Food Slowly – 40-50 bites per swallow
You’ll feel fuller sooner, naturally eat less and it’s better for your digestion.
I know the tendency is to wolf down your food, sometimes meal time gets in the way of what needs to be done. But chewing your food thoroughly activates hormones in your gut in that tell your brain how satisfied you are.
Plan 1 Treat EVERY DAY
Many diets recommend having a cheat meal or even a cheat day, one meal or day a week where you eat whatever you want. I’ve done this before. And it leads to all out binges. You wait the entire week restricting what you can eat and then go completely off the rails on your cheat day. If I had my cheat day on a Saturday Sunday would turn into a cheat day too. That or it would be spent trying to resist the massive cravings created from Saturday’s binge.
When you plan to have a treat, and it can be anything you fancy from chocolate to crisps, it does a few things. One it removes the whole deprivation, can’t have mindset. It removes the guilt associated with I shouldn’t eat this. And it means you will avoid the ‘fuck it binges’. You know those binges after you’ve broken your diet? Where you’ve had one you may as well have the whole pack and now the entire week is ruined and it’s only Tuesday? Planning on having that treat each day means you aren’t breaking your diet when you have it.
They key is to know how much to eat. Generally 10% of your daily intake should be allocated to something you fancy. Counting calories can be a pain in the ass and is very often miscalculated. Which means even though we think we are eating a certain amount we aren’t. But if we count cals for your treat. And take the average 2000 cal a day diet. That means 200 cals a day can be given to that treat. And it doesn’t have to be meticulous a few cals either way won’t change anything.
Record What You Eat
There is only one sure fire way of knowing what works for you. Write it down. Your brain will play tricks on you. You will partake in some form of mindless eating. And you’ll forget what you ate. By writing it down you have a record in black and white. And that means when it comes to improving your results it’s easy to make changes. You can look back on what you ate and make a small change like the next one, eat more veg. Otherwise you’re just guessing, you’re just leaving things up to chance. You may or may not get results.
Eat More Veg
A simple one and no matter how much veg you eat already you can always add more. By adding more you’ll add more fibre and more nutrients. You’ll feel better and fuller which makes staying on track a lot easier. Aim for 4-6 fist size portions a day. So if you are on 3 at the moment aim for 4. When you’ve nailed that for a week or two aim for 5.
Measure Your Results In Multiple Ways
Just hopping on the scales is a sure fire way to piss yourself off. You’re putting in loads of effort and if they don’t move you’re gonna feel frustrated. So take a photo and take one every 4 weeks. Measure your waist and hip circumference every week. Use a pair of jeans that don’t close and try them on every 3-4 weeks until they do.
I know, obvious right. But there’s a lot more to moving than you might think. So I’ll be covering this in a separate post. Including why I recommend to stop walking if you want to change your shape or improve your fitness in any way.
However I do recommend you move more during the day without doing any specific exercise. Get up from your chair more often, set an alarm on your phone every 40 mins and just get up and move. Or park further away from where you need to go, whether that’s in a car park or just down the road. Take the stairs instead of the lift or escalator. You’ve heard this before I’m sure, but the key is in the doing. It works. The more active you are the more you’ll look like you’re active.
Did you know sleep deprivation can reduce daily calories burned by up to 20%, that could be as much as 400 calories a day if you’ve poor sleep patterns.
It has also been shown to increase cravings and hunger so people who are sleep deprived end up eating more unconsciously.
The good news is there’s a lot you can do. And, as someone who has suffered from insomnia, I’ve tried them all. Here’s a few that work best.
There are plenty more options but the key is to try them and find the ones that work best for you.
In the next post I’ll go more indepth about the best kind of exercise including why I recommend you stop walking for exercise.
Or in the meantime if you want to know more about what SF Fitness can do for you click here
John O'Connell is the owner of SF Fitness & Health Centre. He started working in the fitness industry in 2002 after suffering a back injury. He has worked with many professional organisations including Leinster Rugby, An Garda Siochana, New Zealand Rugby, Dublin GAA, Spar and CBRE. He has also appeared muliple times on both RTE & TV3 as a health & fitness expert. John is the co-author of 2 international best selling books - Total Body Breakthroughs and The Fit Formula.