The 'D' Word

With blossoms budding and the subtle smell of springtime in the air, our fitness focus turns to shaping up for the warmer weather.

Anastasia Parikos

Anastasia Parikos

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The many covers of lifestyle magazines suddenly leap out from the shelf, with headlines such as ‘How to Lose 10 pounds in a Week’ and ‘The Fast Track to a Six Pack’ it’s easy to get sucked in by often misleading and sometimes unhealthy information. It’s no wonder we all get a little confused as to the best way to get in shape and stay that way.

I am not a fan of the dreaded D word. Going on a ‘diet’ usually implies a short-term fix, the latest and greatest 6-week plan to shift those pounds before ultimately rewarding ourselves with food at the end of it and going back to old ways. Dieting often has negative connotations associated with it too, it’s certainly not a lot of fun when your left feeling hungry or tired. Most wouldn’t wish that kind of torture on their worst enemy, let alone sustain it for too long themselves.

When looking to lose weight, it’s important that we play the long game. It’s not a quick fix or even an 8 week plan, it’s a lifestyle change. For it to work the aim is to maintain healthy habits with enjoyment and satisfaction included. So how do we go about doing this? Firstly, try setting short term, achievable goals. For many, spending the majority of the day sat down is the norm and to put it simply, we need to move more in order to burn calories.

Things to try at work:

Taking the stairs instead of the lift // On breaks, going for a brisk 10-minute walk to stretch our legs and get some fresh air. // Alternatively, try climbing up and down the stairs a few times to get that heart pumping // Take a break every 15 mins or so from our computers with a stretch or take the longest route to the water machine to fill up our bottles. // Walk to and from work.
Top Tips

Being active outside of work is the best way to get results. Use the weekends to do something enjoyable, get outdoors and explore new places on foot or by bike, maybe try a new sport. Even shopping has it’s great benefits as every step counts in burning fat. A good motivator to get our recommended minimum of 10,000 steps a day in is to buy a pedometer or a fitness watch, giving you an accurate way to reach those goals and feel good about yourself. 

The foods we consume are the key to success. But it’s important that we understand that there are no good or bad foods, a varied and enjoyable diet will make life a lot easier. Banning certain foods or food groups entirely is not a healthy way to exist nor is it sustainable, it is much better simply to moderate the intake of more calorie rich foods and fill up on veg and healthier choices instead.

Portion control is vital

If you enjoy 2-3 biscuits with a cup of tea in the morning, try reducing it to 1 biscuit or look for healthier substitutes. Instead of the old fashioned fried potato crisps, try the baked variety. We all crave something sweet now and then so try a low-calorie protein bar instead of a chocolate bar. There are plenty of healthy alternatives out there, it’s just a case of looking for them. Speaking from personal experience, there is no fast track to the perfect summer body but look more for simple changes with long term benefits and I guarantee you will feel better and see results!  

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