I would like to introduce Vanessa from A Happy Healthy Mummy. Today she is sharing some fitness tips that has really helped her.
Vanessa’s top 5 tips for getting into shape
About two years ago I felt increasingly depressed and annoyed every time I went clothes shopping. Nothing ever seemed to fit properly or flatter. I had the same experience every time I saw a photo of myself too – how could it be that I looked so awful in these shots? Perhaps I was being a bit stupid, or perhaps I was just totally worn out from raising two children, but the sad and sorry truth was that somehow I had put on at least a stone and a half in weight over the period of a few years.
Now I have always been fairly active and health conscious. I’m no angel, but I cook most of my meals from scratch, don’t ‘do’ junk food and work out. In the past, I have mostly eaten as I pleased and not really had to worry about what I looked like (I mean I’m no Victoria Secret model but I feel/felt generally okay about myself). But I am short and a bit past 40, so any spare calories and fat grams are going to be plainly visible. And indeed they were!
Looking back, I can see where I was going wrong – and feel so much better now that I’m in better shape, my weight is down and my muscle tone is improved. I have more energy to deal with the stresses of everyday life and positively relish a new dress and the opportunity to wear it. I’m not going to lie; it took determination to change the bad habits that I had picked up, and day-in day-out consistency in my eating and exercise routines, but it was worth it! And to save you falling into the same traps that I did, I’d like to share my best advice for getting into shape, dropping weight and living healthily before it’s too late!
Set a goal
Sometimes it is not enough to have a vague idea in your head about what you want to achieve. It’s all too easy to repeat old patterns of behavior and listen to the negative voices in your head that prevent you from attaining goals. It helps to put down on paper what you actually want to achieve and list the ways that you will reach that goal. This is a time for positive thinking, perhaps breaking down your targets into manageable steps and making a plan of action for getting into shape. I recently wrote about a life coaching session. I attended, which is a great way to approach making successful changes in your life. For me, my initial goal was to get back to a weight of 8½ stone (as I progressed in my healthier lifestyle I set newer goals too – such as running a half marathon, something I had never envisaged).
Image courtesy of Andy Newson / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
As awkward as it is, you need to tell people you are planning on getting healthier. It’s important that your partner accepts you need time out of the day to work out, particularly if you have children. An exhausted, depressed mummy is no good – or fun – for anyone. Telling people your plans can also help pre-empt social situations where you may be expected to over indulge on birthday cake and booze. Truly supportive friends and family will respect your decision to take better care of yourself and getting into shape – and those that don’t probably wish they had your resolve. Vocalising your plans also sends a message to yourself that you are serious – and should help you stick to your guns when someone is insisting you have one more biscuit…
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Give up ‘fake’ food and drinks
I was a big fan of diet cola, but like any kind of man-made product, it’s not all it’s made out to be. While diet soda can be low in calories, it still gives your body an artificial ‘high’ and a ‘low’, maybe sending you off to the cupboard seeking your next lift. And this is true of most food or drink that has been prepared and prepackaged. Many ready meals will be full of salt to bulk out the weight, making you thirsty (which you may confuse for hunger), loads of snacks have high levels of sugar or flavor enhancers such as MSG, again sending you off on a second hunt for something more long-lasting and satisfying. Soda, junk food, and even eating out at places you might think are healthy, is the fast track to fat club. You need to put in the effort in the kitchen if you want to get into shape, stay healthy, strong and the right side of the BMI index.
Image courtesy of Grant Cochrane / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Eat a healthy breakfast
For me, in the throes of the school run, it was all too easy to skip breakfast. By 10.30am I was virtually shaking with hunger – and desperate to eat – ANYTHING!! And so I did, biscuits at the toddler club, a slice of cake round a friend’s house, food left over from my kid’s lunch, yep, pretty much anything! But forcing yourself to eat a healthy breakfast (including drinking some water) is the key to successful weight loss. On a practical level, many believe eating within an hour of waking kick starts your metabolism, so everything you eat will be burnt off more effectively during that day (if you don’t eat your body starts to panic and stores any fuel it gets hold off – eek!). It will also regulate your blood sugar so you can resist the temptation to feed your face with anything that passes by. And on a psychological level, starting off the day on the right track can strengthen your resolve to succeed.
Image courtesy of Serge Bertasius Photography / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Buy decent trainers or work out gear to encourage yourself to get active. The way I look at it is if you’ve made the investment then you have to do the work. A bit of guilt tripping over joining fees never hurt if it makes you get to the gym! It might not even have to cost that much if you can pick up a second-hand healthy cookery book or exercise DVD – and people often sell on the treadmill they bought with good intentions but never used as anything more than a clothes rail (their loss is your gain). I had to buy weighing scales – since I’d never had a set before and it really is the only way you can tell if you have lost (or gained!) weight. A little investment in the right tools for the trade is an investment in yourself – and your goal.
Image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
I hope my advice helps you to set and achieve your health goals and getting into shape – looking back I can’t believe I didn’t realise some of my habits were so unhealthy. If you’d like to keep motivated and inspired, please pop by my blog, it’s there to encourage everyone to think about their general well being.
A great blog. I think the suggestions are great. I feel that one of the most important things is to actually want to do something about it. I have been steadily putting on weight the last year, and quite a few times I have thought I needed to do something about it…and I have even put a goal here and there, but I never really wanted to do anything about it. Now I do, and I am doing so well. I am eating a million times better (although still have a diet coke addiction!!) and doing a lot more exercise (and enjoying it too!)
Good luck to all wanting to get into shape!