Stay fit and lose weight using these 5 effective strategies

Cyclists on country side roadThis post is written for people who would like help with their motivation to maintain a healthy level of fitness.

I’m writing it from my own experience of being able to maintain and enjoy exercising and losing 24lbs in weight in a relatively easy and simple way. These are some of the strategies I recommend.

1. Find a form of exercise that you absolutely love to do

This might sound obvious but finding a form of exercise that you love is probably the single most effective thing you can do to help you to stick with a regular exercise routine.

When I  joined my local gym my fitness was assessed and I was given a programme to follow.  This  programme was based around the regular gym floor equipment such as the treadmill, cross trainer, rowing machine, and weights.  It was a good, well thought out programme but there was just one problem.  I hated it!  Every 5 minutes on the treadmill felt like an hour of mind numbing boredom. I had to literally force myself to go and before long I was using any excuse to skip a session.  Pretty soon I had stopped going to the gym completely although I was still paying for my gym membership!

And then, I noticed that my gym were offering Nia dance classes.  Nia dance is great fun.  It’s a combination of dance, martial arts, and yoga.  I  absolutely loved it.  I loved being in a group of people, I loved the music, I loved the diversity of it.  At the end of the class I had the biggest smile on my face.  This wasn’t dull and boring exercise – this was exciting and alive and in the moment.  This was pure joy!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you shouldn’t work out on the gym floor.   My husband, for instance will happily run on the treadmill  for 20 -30 minutes listening to his iPod before moving on to his resistance training.  If you love it, great, keep doing it!

My point is, that if you can find a form of exercise that you  love it will become a joy and a pleasure in your life rather than an arduous chore that you have to get through.  It will become a sustainable way of life for you and you are more likely to stick with it and stay fit over the longer term.

Think about the types of activities you enjoy: cycling, walking, swimming, throwing a frisbee?  Do you like exercising on your own or with a group?  Inside or outside in the fresh air.

2. Don’t be afraid to try new forms of exercise – you might just like it!

If you’ve found one form of exercise that you love, why stop there?  Why not find two or three or four?  Mixing things up and trying new things can keep up your interest, help tone different muscle groups and increase stamina.  Helping you to maintain your fitness.

I overheard a girl in my local gym say  that she didn’t want to do any weight training as she didn’t want to bulk up.  The fact is that unless you are training specifically to be a “body builder” and lifting extremely heavy weights, adding light to moderate resistance training to your exercise routine can help you to lose weight faster as muscle burns up more calories than fat even after you have stopped exercising!

I had wanted to go to an aerobics class for weeks before I finally plucked up the courage. I had convinced myself that I wouldn’t be able to keep up. I’m so glad now that I went – yes, I found it challenging to begin with but I was surprised at how the music carried me along and it wasn’t as difficult as I’d told myself in my head.

Is there something you have always wanted to try?  Why not give it a go.  You might be pleasantly surprised.

3.  Suspend your disbelief –  yes you CAN lose weight and have a fit and toned body!

Mental endurance is just as important as physical endurance when it comes to running that extra mile or doing a few more squats.  As I mentioned above we can convince ourselves through negative self-talk that we can’t do something or come up with all sorts of excuses in our minds not to exercise. It can stop you in your tracks and prevent you from taking any action towards getting fit and healthy.  I know, I’ve been there!

I think the moment for me to really commit to getting and staying fit was the day I walked into that aerobics class. I kind of overcame a mental barrier in my mind. It was like stepping into the unknown and was a bit scary but after I’d done it once, that was it – it only took that one step. And I think you just have to do it – suspend all your doubts, fears, negativity, distractions and excuses and just go ahead and do it.

Commit to getting and staying fit. Make looking after yourself a priority.  Don’t give up on yourself!   Find a way to make exercising an enjoyable and sustainable part of your life.  Find a way to make it work for you. I know you can. You will feel so proud of yourself once you do.

Ask yourself  “Who do I need to BE to get fit and healthy?”  I’ve talked about this in my free e-course Motivation Boosters.  When I decided that I needed to do something about my health and fitness I told myself that I needed to BE someone who looked after her body.  I needed to BE someone who was willing to do what it takes to lose weight and get fit. I needed to BE someone who could go that extra mile.

Who do you need to BE?

4. Eat slowly – it takes 20 minutes for your body to feel full

A surprisingly easy way to help with weight loss is to eat slowly.  It takes the body around 20 minutes to start to feel full.  So if you eat slowly you are more likely to eat less.

5. Eat food that helps you to feel fuller for longer.

Another easy way to stave off hunger pangs is to eat food which makes you feel fuller for longer.

Scientists have discovered that eating a simple bowl of blended vegetable soup can help you to feel fuller for longer than if you were to eat the same ingredients separately with a glass of water.  The reason for this is that if you eat vegetables with a glass of water,  the water passes straight through your stomach to your intestines.  However, if you blend the ingredients together the water stays in your stomach making you feel fuller for longer.

I’m not suggesting that you only ever eat vegetable soup but having a bowl once or twice a week can help you in your weight loss.

I hope you have found these tips useful.  If you have any other tips that you would like to pass on then please comment below.

Please share this article on Twitter, Facebook, Stumpleupon or Delicious using the button below if you feel it may benefit others.  Many thanks.

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~ by Sandstorm on August 5, 2009.

3 Responses to “Stay fit and lose weight using these 5 effective strategies”

  1. Hi Janice

    Great article. Love the tip about finding the type of exercise that is right for you.

    Also think it is important to think about whether you need the motivation of a group activity like a class to keep you moving forward.

    Duncan Brodie

  2. I have struggled with exercise and it doesn’t come naturally to me. What has worked is finding the best time for exercise, so it slots easily into my life rather than taking up too much time. I go forst thing in the morning, before work, so it’s over and done with early on. I know that if I decided to go in the evening, by the time that I’d got home, had something to eat, pottered about…going to the gym just would not happen.

    The other benefit for me is that, by going at the same time each day, I’m now part of a regular crowd, so I get more of a social benefit as well.

  3. Hi Duncan, yes, I think what motivates you is key here. For some people the notion of a class environment would make people run a mile (no pun intended! 🙂 ) while I find it stimulating, fun and exciting. I think there is also something to do with values here.

    Hi Maggie, I tend to go to the gym at the same times as well so like you I can slot it into my week. The time is already pre-booked so to speak. I think there is something in this about purposely making time to exercise rather then fitting it in after everything else?

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