It starts with an affirmation: on the last day of December at 11.59pm, I promise I will focus on getting fit and lose weight. So, I'll splash out on some new gym gear, book 10 sessions with a PT (personal trainer) at £250 and I'm off. What could go wrong?
I know many PTs who tell me their work is very seasonal. Indeed, my friends say that in Britain we spend more than £4 billion a year in unused gym memberships. Even though 23% of us are gym members, only 12% use the facilities. Some years ago, my business was within a fitness centre and I noticed that on the 2nd of January the gym and all the classes were fully booked and, we used to have to queue for equipment to be free. By the 15th of January, it was quiet again.
Why does this happen?
Most people start with the best of intentions but soon lose steam because they are not getting anywhere and so they give up - money down the drain. Unless you get your diet and training absolutely spot on, you are not going to get the desired result.
Like with any other skill, if you are not armed with the right tools you will undoubtedly fail.
Another factor is motivation. Some of us are motivated and some are not. January is by far the coldest and darkest month of the year and it takes willpower to get motivated but, my experience is that as soon as I get into my training gear, I am ready to go and once I am at the gym (when I am not in lockdown), I am happy I made the effort.
The first thing to do is to get your diet right, as, with the right diet, you will have more energy, you will think clearly and your motivation will increase. With the right nutrients, you will feel much more energetic very quickly, will look naturally toned and you will lose weight without even trying.
How do we know which foods we should remove or introduce?
The easiest way to find out is to have a food intolerance test and I can promise you that just by removing the intolerances you will lose weight - I am living proof! Like most, I am intolerant to lactose and other things but what solved the puzzle of my uneasiness with my lower stomach was to learn I was intolerant to brewer’s yeast and yeast is everywhere - because brewer’s and baker’s yeast are related I gave both up. It took a bit of work but, within a week, my kitchen cabinets were fully stocked with yeast-free foods so now I have a very happy flat stomach!
The other is a DNA test. The DNA test will tell you everything from your optimal diet, nutrient and fitness results, to your sleep and stress as well as obesity and BMD (bone mineral density) risk. The food intolerance test looks at what is going on in your body right now while the DNA test will look at your genetics - this means no more guessing, so rather than taking a multivitamin (many of us do), we can supplement with exactly what we need. For example, my DNA report shows that the (VDR) the vitamin D receptor isn’t working very well so it’s a good idea for me to take a supplement but I'm not guessing.
Vitamin D plays an important role in stimulating calcium transport, absorption and bone mineral regulation. Without the DNA test, I would never have known that I have a higher need for all B vitamins - my GP told me that the NHS only offer B12 and folate. I didn’t know that I could become hypertensive due to my salt sensitivity (especially sodium) - or that I have one in 35 chances of developing coeliac disease - if I didn’t take matters into my own hands, I wouldn’t have been able to prevent some of these awful diseases.
So, my question is: why wouldn’t you want to know? These tools are available to everybody, we can now combine nutrition and science and we can all achieve optimum health and fitness as well as stay away from doctors and hospitals.
Remember that prevention is better than cure - always! The other tool is motivation and as I said earlier, some of us find it difficult so why not train with a friend? I remember when I was training for the marathon, I joined a running club and we supported each other, whilst more recently at the gym, I trained with a friend and we had great fun together. At present with gyms closed, I still put my training gear on, find some exercises on YouTube and carry on. Let's not only use technology to purchase goods or for social media but let's also use it to stay fit.
Working with a nutritionist
If your affirmation is to be healthy in 2021, congratulations! If you have never trained and are thinking of losing weight, getting fit and starting to eat healthily but you don't know where to start, don’t be ashamed. Speak to a nutritionist instead of trying to figure out things for yourself and stop wasting money in gym memberships that you are not going to use. We are now doing online consultations so you can be anywhere in the country and we can still help. I am certainly here for my clients. Some coaching sessions will make a big difference.
10 healthy tips
1. Cook one new thing each week. Variety is the spice of life and there are healthy recipes available everywhere.
2. Innercise (these are brain exercises). Read more books, in other words, keep your brain active.
3. Join a club. Sites like Meetup can help you find a group of people with similar interests.
4. Create a cleaning schedule you'll stick to. Keeping your home tidy will tidy up your mind. For example, my housework day is Thursday, this way my weekend is free to do what I want and it's also good exercise.
5. Drink less alcohol. You don't need to drink to have fun - why not make this year the one you cut back and join the sober curious movement? You could improve your mood, sleep, skin, and immune system and save money.
6. Quit smoking. Cigarettes are extremely harmful to your health, particularly your lungs - but tobacco products in general (including vapes!) pose a serious threat. There are many resources to help you ditch the fags.
7. Eat dark green veggies regularly. Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, Brussel sprouts and kale enhance phase-two detox.
8. Take the stairs. Take 10 minutes to run up the stairs in your office or home. 10 minutes gives a bigger energy boost than those who had the caffeine equivalent of a can of soda or half a cup of coffee.
9. Drink up. Drinking good quality water is a must. H is for H2O (water): drink good quality filtered, bottled water (glass bottles preferred), water collected from a spring or best of all, distilled water. A minimum of 1 litre of water per 50lbs of body weight should be drunk every day. You are more likely to be dehydrated the day after a short night's sleep because a hormone that regulates your body’s water conservation is released in later stages of sleep. So down some extra water on those days.
10. Lift weights. If you have already nailed your cardio workouts, why not try incorporating a new routine? A quality set of dumbbells can help elevate your workout, improve your stamina, and build muscle. Plyometric exercises - like burpee push-ups - get you fast results, I like to do a variation of 100 squats.
I don’t ask anyone to do what I don’t do myself. The above works for me and the more you do, the healthier you are. I hope you enjoy this article and I hope you find these tips useful. To your health and success in 2021.
Here for you. Milvia.