Many of the clients who come to me are interested in exercise as a means to become lean and toned. Without fail, this means that they are required to combine strength training, cardio and healthy eating. In simplest terms, strength training creates the lean muscle mass which is necessary to boost metabolism and create a firm, toned, healthy look, cardio burns calories, and healthy eating makes sure the body receives the nutrients it needs for recovery and energy, while also ensuring that more calories are being burnt than consumed. Voila! For the average, healthy person, fat loss is not a very complicated affair.
What does get a little more complicated is the human part of the equation. As a personal trainer, I may see people for a few hours a week, but what they do in the mean-time – especially in terms of adhering to a healthy diet – is pivotal to their success. What I most often have to do is talk to people about behaviours, rather than facts.
One example of this when it comes to healthy eating is simply having a plan. A person may know in simple terms what they need to eat in order to reduce their body-fat. However, when it’s been hours since your last meal, you’re hungry, have a limited time between appointments and desperately need to eat something right now, knowledge takes a back seat. Hunger and convenience become greater factors in your decision, and before you know it you’ve had a ham and cheese croissant and are feeling terrible about breaking your diet. You blame yourself for lacking in self-control, perhaps for being weak-minded or for being a failure.
In fact, you are none of these things, you simply put yourself in a position where breaking your diet was almost inevitable.
One small change in your behaviour which can help you to overcome situations like this is to plan ahead. Know exactly what you’re going to be eating and at what time, and make sure that you have either pre-prepared that food and brought it with you, or you know exactly where you can get it from. It sounds simple and even tedious and – guess what? – it is! but it works. It completely eliminates the need to even make a decision during the day about what you are going to eat. You have made it easy for yourself to be successful with your diet by having all the food you need on-hand.
Not sure what to eat, or need some ideas for healthy recipes? Check out my online nutrition program. For less than the cost of dinner for two, you have access to a calorie controlled eating plan in a fully-interactive program which allows you to generate meal-plans, recipes and shopping lists based on your own weight-loss goals and activity levels.