Quite honestly it’s actually not that difficult eating pretty well wherever you are, whatever the circumstances, IF you know how.
I know personally I wouldn’t be fazed by a restaurant, take away, buffet or even going to someone’s home for dinner they’ve cooked themselves.
This knowledge has empowered me to have control over my health and my body, and have the ability and choice to feel and look pretty good year round.
That’s not to say I don’t occasionally choose to eat an ice cream, or finish kids leftovers, or blob in front of the sofa for an afternoon instead of going for a walk, but it’s a conscious choice and not because I’m not able to do things any other way, which is a massive difference.
There’s mindset and motivational work to be done with every single Mum I see, that’s true. There’s an incredible amount of knowing a lot of what’s got to be done, jut not being able to make yourself do it. It’s never laziness, there’s always a reason for this mental block so we work on unsticking that, for sure.
In fact it’s all of these plus one more – the ability to consistently troubleshoot what’s going wrong, why this is happening, and making little changes to correct these trouble spots.
It’s not drastic overhauls or deciding outright something ‘isn’t working’. It’s starting with a blueprint then optimising it to work for you, your body and your lifestyle.
Then when you know how to do this, you can change, and adapt so that it still works no matter what’s going on in your life.
The result? Being able to maintain good health, a healthy weight, strong body and good relationship with food for life.
No one pillar works in isolation.
You can’t out train a bad diet. You can’t just keep eating less to compensate for no physical activity. No matter how ‘perfect’ the system, you won’t stick at it if your head isn’t in the right place. And wasn’t it Einstein who said doing the same thing over and over is insanity?
TFMF also stands for The Fit Mum Formula. You know me, and this, so if you can’t remember the pillars you need to be working on, remember me, and my coaching system (TFMF), and that will remind you.
So with that we kick of with the first of the four pillars:
Work, studies, children, parents, significant others, family life……..it’s no wonder we don’t have all the time we’d like to dedicate to exercise. It’s seems pretty reasonable to put your lack of fitness or being a little larger than you’d like to not being able to work out enough to get results.
Or perhaps you are pounding the pavements every day – jogging before work, group class after work, long cycle rides every weekend, yet no matter how many miles or minutes you add you still can’t seem to make progress!
Work SMARTER Not Harder
Well I’m going to let you in on a little secret that will change your approach to exercise, and save you a load of time and effort while we’re at it.
You need to stop doing more, and start doing it better.
You need to work out smarter, not harder.
You see, when it comes to getting results, quality or exercise can matter as much and often more than quantity.
For one, this takes more time. Time most of us don’t have, and that enough is a big enough problem to discount any other factors, since if you can’t do the exercise needed, you definitely won’t get results.
Secondly out bodies can only cope with so much stress, and believe it or not exercise is definitely stressful on your body.
Cortisol is released, and the longer you work out, the more cortisol there is to wreak havoc on your body, being linked to everything from mental health problems to adrenal fatigue, diabetes, heart disease and more.
Hunger also increases with more exercise, so if 50 lengths of the pool leads to consume a latte and a piece of carrot cake the size of your head in the café afterwards, you’ll most likely be undoing any calorie burning you’ve just achieved.
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) fast becoming the go-to method for people wanting maximum results in minimum time. The so-called intervals consist of a few seconds (up to 90 but can be as little as 10 seconds) of difficult exercises where you put maximum all-out effort in, followed by a few seconds or even minutes rest or very low intensity work, before launching into the next ‘intense’ work round, and so the cycle repeats for your chosen duration to complete the workout.
The sheer effort you’ll be putting into your bouts of exercise during each work interval means that workouts will only be on average around 20 minutes long, sometimes as short as 10 minutes. If you’re managing to keep going like this for longer than 45 minutes then quite frankly you’re not putting enough effort into it.
And that’s the other beauty of this method – the fitter and stronger you get, the more effort you put in, the more reps you can do in your work time, or the more weight you can use if you choose to. You can make regressions or progressions to exercises depending on your level, and adjust the work and rest times to suit you too.
For example someone very new to fitness might do 30 seconds of box push ups followed by 60 seconds rest, then repeat. A more advanced exerciser could do 60 seconds of decline push ups followed by 30 seconds rest.
HIIT training has been shown to improve aerobic and anaerobic fitness, blood pressure, cardiovascular health, insulin sensitivity (which helps the exercising muscles more readily use glucose for fuel to make energy), cholesterol profiles, abdominal fat and body weight while maintaining muscle mass. It can be used for all sport and fitness goals, can be progressed or regressed to suit the person doing it, and it really does yield impressive results in very in very little time.
The type of exercise you do also appears to affect hunger levels and therefore the amount of calories consumes following working out.
An Australian study involving overweight men in their 20s and early 30s found that the men ate fewer calories after doing very high-intensity workouts (594 calories) than after moderate exercise. Fewer calories were also consumed the following day; 2,000 after HIIT compared to 2,300 after a session of moderate intensity exercise.
There are two ways to implement interval training.
The first is set, timed intervals that are predetermined, so you decide from the outset that you would exercise for 60 seconds followed by 60 seconds rest, or whatever you decide is appropriate. This is the way most people do interval training and so long as the exercise choices, levels, and interval times are appropriate to your needs and fitness level, it can work well.
The issue is that it can be tricky to figure out the perfect system for you without a lot of trial and error.
I prefer a method called rest-based training, whereby the person working out is trusted to define their own rest intervals judging on how they feel while working out. In essence, you work as hard as you can with maximum effort and good technical form, but when you’re feeling too tired to go all out or your technique starts to get sloppy, you rest, then pick up where you left off when you feel capable of putting in maximum effort once more.
For the very unfit, overweight, or people with medical conditions working out at this intensity may not be possible at first. If you are extremely unfit it would be wise to have a medical check-up before starting any form of exercise.
However ‘Intense’ is a relative term and if walking briskly for 20 seconds followed by standing still for 30 seconds and repeating that pattern a few times is intense, then that’s a starting point and you can work towards more difficult exercises. Studies of nearly 5,000 patients with a history of heart conditions and strokes have found HIIT to be perfectly safe.
In the second of our four TFMF Pillars we’re going to talk about food. Because while no one exact diet will suit everyone perfectly, there are some principals we need to adhere to, namely the food you need to eat needs to make you feel good, fit your lifestyle, and be aligned with your goals (lose weight, run a marathon, gain muscle etc; probably mostly weight loss in this group).
The best foods for weight loss just happen to be the ones that also allow you to feel satisfied and bouncing with energy whilst giving you sparkling eyes, glowing skin and glossy hair. I don’t prescribe meal plans as most people find them too complicated to stick to when life is busy enough, however following this set of guidelines 90% of the time (leaving 10% for treats) is a pretty reliable way to improve your waistline as well as your health in almost every way.
Here are the fundamentals of a healthy weight loss diet:
Here’s are a couple of examples of a Sunday roast my Mum cooked – lamb, celeriac gratin (using stock rather than cream, so a vegetable dish) and veg, and pork, a little sweet potato & apple sauce, and veg. Any meal can be made healthier simply by adjusting the portions of each food group.
If you need a template to take the stress of decision making away to get you started then my 21 Days Plan here would be perfect for you. Click Here to learn more.
SWAP ‘WHY’ AND ‘WHEN’ FOR ‘WHAT’ AND ‘HOW’
Call me stubborn, overambitious, idealistic, if you like. But my motto in life has always been that it’s not about IF you can do something, only a matter of HOW. If you really want something, you will go to the ends of the earth to get it. If I held a gun to your head or told you that to get the kidney donor your sick child badly needed, would you get results? Of course you would.
But before you tell me “But I really can’t get to the gym – I get home at 8pm and have to put my kids to bed” etc. etc., I’m not talking about trying to do things you can’t do.
I’m talking about finding a way around this problem, finding a solution to the barriers, so that you can still achieve the same results.
If you loved exercise enough to have it high on your priority list you would find a way to fit it in, believe me you would. It’s ok if you don’t like exercise. You probably have negative memories and emotions attached to those memories.
Did I ever tell you about my experiences at boarding school? I’ve always thrived in creative, agility sports – gymnastics, trampolining, ice skating, dancing. But running? Let’s just say I figured out that if I just made it round the field during cross country I could sit in the woods for 20 minutes before running back, for a realistically timed finish. Turns out I had undiagnosed asthma all my life which no doubt didn’t help, which is triggered by damp air – dewy Cotswold fields & woodland come to mind. To this day running (by which I mean jogging, sprinting I love, sometimes) is a mental barrier for me, even though I have an inhaler on standby and the knowledge that I am, in fact, very fit. The answer? I don’t run. I do other stuff.
On the other hand some people will never seem to like any sort of exercise. It’s rare, but it happens. In this situation you have to evaluate what you really want.
Sometimes we have to do things we don’t want to do to get the things we do want, or to avoid the things you don’t want.
You go to work because you want to treat you family to a holiday. You brush your teeth because you don’t want bad breath and rotten teeth. You do it for the end result, not just the process.
20 STEPS TO STAY MOTIVATED
Which one if your fave? I like no. 15. I’m a creature of routine and habit – good habits for the most part!
Come and meet some of my Mums and hear how they’ve not only lost weight but are feeling confident, energetic and fir the first time in ages happy about their body and their relationship with food. Click here to meet them.
The solution to weight loss is simple, but not easy. It’s simple because all you have to do is eat fewer calories than you burn. Unfortunately hunger and cravings tend to go up when we do this, and energy levels can go down, along with out willpower and ability to stick to the diet. Ultimately the best diet is the one you can stick to but is has to fit the following criteria:
What is required to do this varies from person to person. Some people may need more fibre and protein, more or fewer starchy carbohydrates or fat, or can go for longer or shorter periods between eating.
Pay attention to your hunger, food cravings, energy levels and mood as well as weight loss and measurements – write them alongside a food diary so you can see what affects you in different ways. This will help you decide if you need to make changes anywhere to help you continue and make progress.
How you adjust your plan depends on how you are feeling (hunger, energy and cravings) and how your body is responding (fat or weight loss or gain). How you feel can change from day to day, so it really pays to stop and ask yourself how you’re feeling and let your diet adapt accordingly.
In my free Quickstart Fatloss Guide here is a daily diary for you to fill in to keep track of your food and activity levels as well as how much you drink, and how much sleep you get – all important factors when looking after yourself mentally and physically.
Print off or photocopy seven copies at a time (a weeks’ worth) – hint: set your printer to black & white and draft mode to save ink, and I usually print onto the back of scrap paper too! Or draw a copy or write the information in a notepad.
Get a free copy of the guide that contains the printable diary here
It’s up to you how you go about recording your behaviours, but if you’re not where you want to be in terms of your body and health, then you won’t know how to improve your behaviours if you don’t know what you’re currently doing or where you’re going wrong. This is where writing it down becomes really useful. These days I don’t need to do it so often but I certainly have in the past.
It’s a tactic not just useful for weight loss. When I saw some (rather expensive) private natural health doctors about terrible IBS (that once had me in A&E on morphine) they had me writing down every crumb that passed my lips for weeks. Nobody is ever 100% perfect (I’d argue anyone who is has ‘issues’), but I amazed myself how many times I was finishing rejected Weetabix, licking the spoon while baking cakes, and having a bite of pizza. These little things (we’re talking a small mouthful) won’t add up much in terms of calories, but when you’re looking for IBS triggers and food intolerances, that was dairy, wheat, and nightshades I was consuming all the time, even when I was supposed to be temporarily cutting them out!
My point is that as Mums we are so busy we do things without realising, so by writing it all down it’s much easier to see where you’re going wrong.
Are you wondering if I am the right person to help you? To be honest I don’t know that either until I know more about you. Let’s start with scheduling in a quick informal chat, you can tell me more about your situation, and we can go from there.