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My 10 rules for weight loss and fitness

Today I am half way through my project to get fit, improve my diet and to lose weight!  Yes I have stuck to my plan (with a few minor detours) for a whole six months.

Initially weight loss was the biggest motivator.  I set myself the target of losing 2 stone and 5lbs over the course of the year.  Six months in I have lost 1 stone and 10lbs.  9lbs to go!

However, the importance of weight loss has lessened as I have noticed other benefits :

  • I have dropped two dress sizes.
  • I am fitter and stronger.
  • I have more energy.
  • I am sleeping better.
  • I have far fewer aches and pains.
  • I have fallen in love with exercise again, trying Legs, Bums & Tums and Zumba, both of which are new to me and both of which I love.
  • I have discovered new foods and new recipes.

In short I feel fabulous and am enjoying the whole experience.

I like to be organised and I like to plan.  So, to help me focus, I put together a set of ‘rules’.  These rules are mine and they suit me.  They are based on my health, what I understand to be current guidelines for nutrition and exercise, what my body likes and dislikes, the amount of time I have during the day to focus on my health and well-being and what I enjoy doing.  The most important factor is that this is not a diet, this is a lifestyle, which needs to be sustainable, realistic, fun and enjoyable :

  1. I use Weight Watchers online to give me a framework to control portion sizes and the amount of food I eat.
  2. I drink one pint of water when I wake up and thereafter a minimum of 3 pints of water a day.
  3. I limit caffeine to two cups of tea a day – thereafter only herbal teas. My favourites are Peppermint, Chamomile and a mixed herbal tea to promote relaxation and sleep.
  4. I eat three meals a day – breakfast, lunch and dinner.
  5. The majority of my meals are home cooked using fresh organic produce where available. Meals include 7 portions of fruit and veg a day, several servings of oily fish, nuts and wholegrains during the course of a week.  I love a variety of fish and seafood too and tend to choose organic meat from my local butcher.  One day a week is a vegetarian day – meatless Monday.
  6. The meals I cook are suitable for my family, their nutritional needs and their tastes. I have neither the time or inclination to prepare different meals for people.
  7. I choose fruit as a snack in the late afternoon which is often when I find I am hungry. I tend to opt for a banana, an apple or a handful of berries, depending on what’s available and what I fancy.
  8. If I want a treat I eat or drink it and I don’t feel guilty! I make a point of enjoying it.  Nothing is forbidden.  So yes to chocolate, yes to wine, yes to pudding, yes to chips, yes to whatever I fancy.   I simply offset it with a few days of focusing on eating healthily.  Giving myself permission to eat whatever I want has led to me naturally making healthier choices.  I never feel deprived or that I am missing out.
  9. I exercise every day! I only do exercise that I love – kayaking, aerobics, Zumba, Pilates and golf plus a minimum of 10,000 steps a day.
  10. I only weigh myself once a week and don’t get downhearted when my weight hits a plateau. Instead, I focus on the other benefits, trust the process and know that the weight will come off.

So that’s it.  That’s my magic formula!  Of course there is no magic.  The reality is that I have had to work hard because I am changing my habits and recalibrating my body.  I have to plan.  I have to be organised and I have to set aside the time to exercise and to prepare meals.  However, the rewards are life changing and I am looking forward to the next 6 months to see where this journey takes me.