Today’s guest-post is written by a friend of mine Jess Robinson who is as passionate about health and fitness as I am. It’s got some great advice about how to get started. For most of us who are overweight or have friends or family or a partner who is struggling, it’s getting (us or them) started that’s the hardest part. There is always next week, Monday, next month, next term, next year. Our minds can come up with a million reasons why not to start today, but once you have made the commitment and taken some action it doesn’t take long to reap the rewards. When we eat well and exercise, life is so much more enjoyable than when we eat badly and live a sedentary lifestyle. Focus on getting healthy, and your waist line will reward you. Here are some great tips on how to do just that! I hope you enjoy this great post!
How To Start Living A Healthier Life Today
By Jess Robinson (Lazy Girl Fit)
Whether you’ve got 7kg or 70kg to get rid of, there’s no doubt that losing weight is a daunting task. No wonder it’s so often pushed to the back of your consciousness – a problem for Future You to deal with. But what happens when there’s no more procrastinating, what happens when Future You becomes just You?
The fact is, being overweight is a contributing factor to many chronic illnesses. It can also make it harder to keep up with your kids and more difficult to conceive in the first place, not to mention being downright uncomfortable. I’m sure this is nothing you haven’t heard before, but I say it anyway because I want you to realise that it doesn’t have to be this way – you can stop being overweight, you can feel good about yourself and you can foster healthy habits.
In my opinion, the best way to ensure you get the results you want is to stop focusing on weight loss and start focusing on health gain. Here are a few tips for getting started.
1. Set yourself small, weekly goals.
‘This week I will take five 20-minute walks’; ‘I will eat green, leafy vegetable with dinner each night’; ‘I will workout three times this week’. Make these smaller goals achievable and tick them off the list once they’re done.
2. Set yourself big goals.
In my opinion, these goals shouldn’t be weight related. Think ‘I will be able to run 3km/5km/10km by this particular date’; ‘I will be able to do 5/15/30 toe push ups by this date’; ‘I will finish a fun run by this date’. It doesn’t really matter what the goal is, as long as it’s tangible, and it stretches you outside your comfort zone (but not so far you go running for the hills!)
3. Keep a food diary.
I know – it’s scary. But sometimes you need scary to help you move forward. I would suggest two weeks of diarising all food and drink you consume.
4. Don’t go on a diet; make a lifestyle change.
Spending hours on a treadmill each day and starving yourself for eight weeks will help you lose weight, but it’s not good for your body and chances are you’ll pile the weight back on as soon as you start eating like a normal person (which inevitably you will do).
5. Enlist the help of a professional or two.
Nutritionists, personal trainers, psychologists, doctors – there are plenty of qualified people out there who would relish the idea of helping you. You just need to ask.
6. Drink more water.
Kickstart your metabolism first thing in the morning with a glass of warm water and a squeeze of lemon juice. A glass of water before each meal can also help you to feel satiated.
7. Get the whole family involved.
If you’re trying to make positive changes in your life, it makes sense that your family should be involved. Not only will they benefit from the lifestyle changes you make, it also gives you a live-in support network to discuss any achievements and issues with.
8. Small lapses should not equal large punishments.
Nobody is perfect all the time, and punishing yourself for having ‘bad’ food by binging on more food is not the answer.
The human body is pretty amazing, and being fit, strong and healthy is the best way to show your appreciation for it. To help you kickstart your journey to better health I’ve put together a simple, no-equipment circuit that you can do in the comfort of your own home. I hope you try it out!
At-Home Circuit for Beginners
[30 seconds per exercise]
- Jogging on spot
- Push ups – your choice of wall, incline, knee or regular push ups
- Static lunge – left leg
[Repeat 3-4 times; rest 15-45 seconds between exercises)
Wall Push Ups
About The Author:
Jess Robinson is a certified personal trainer, outdoor fitness instructor, writer and sub-editor, based in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney. She created Lazy Girl Fitness in the hopes of building a positive online community where everyone – from the fitness-crazed to the fitness-phobic – can come together for workout ideas, conversation and empowerment. She also needed somewhere to post pictures of her dog.
You can read more on her blog lazygirlfitness.com.au here, follow her on facebook at facebook.com/lazygirlfitness here or twitter/instagram @LazyGirlFit
Jess Robinson and Lou
Did anyone watch the Australian Biggest Loser Finale on Tuesday night? The contestants blew me away with how much weight they had shed in only 4 months!!! I am not taking away from anyone here, because you don’t lose that amount of weight without making big changes to your diet and lifestyle. Anyone who watched what the contestants were subjected to by their trainers knows that they endured a lot of blood, sweat and tears. So kudos to all of them for their efforts, they deserve to be very proud of themselves. However, the big challenge for them will be to keep that weight off, indefinitely, because let’s face it, the very nature of radical diets means that they are doomed to fail.
Andrew and I get asked all the time ‘are you STILL on your diet?’ as if what we have achieved over the past eight years was only ever meant to be a temporary fix to knock off those extra (um like 60) kilos. I can assure you, that although we often say no to unhealthy foods, we are definitely not on a diet! What we have managed to achieve however, is a complete food and lifestyle overhaul. We consider ourselves clean eaters in that we avoid processed foods and sugar but in saying that, we hardly deprive ourselves. You have probably worked out by now that we eat really delicious food – a lot of it! But we also let our hair down every now and again. We are not the type of people who beat ourselves up (too much) if it is too difficult to eat clean when we are out or on holidays and we do enjoy a drink or 2 – just not with sugary mixers. Life is short so we like to make the most of it! What we have discovered is that by turning our health around, we actually prefer good clean food and happily make healthy choices whenever possible, but again, that choice is not a deprivation, which is what a diet is really designed to do.
Traditional ‘diet’ foods substitute chemical sweeteners for sugar, and low fat rather than full fat, however these are not healthy foods. If you don’t recognise something on the ingredient panel (i.e. because it is a number or specified chemical compound which ‘diet’ foods are full of) – your body isn’t going to recognise it either! And I can guarantee that if your body doesn’t recognise it as food, your whole system is going to be confused as it tries to deal with its disposal. This is where I have a big problem with the way traditional diets treat all calories as equal – just because these chemical concoctions have little or no calories, does not make them a healthy choice. In fact just the opposite!!! I remember years ago being on the Weight Watchers diet where I happily drank a daily diet coke or 3, and indulged in artifically sweetened, low fat yoghurts and ice cream and was rewarded by the programme for doing so. So unhealthy!
And I should probably mention that when I met Andrew in 2001 he had just lost about 25 kilos with Jenny Craig, all of which he put on, with interest, over our early years together. You can read more about his weight loss journey here.
Also most low fat versions of many foods have a higher sugar content to make them more palatable and there is so much information and research out there to show that it is sugar not fat that is our real enemy here. Check out my blog post on good and bad fats here.
Since I started The Shrinking Hubby I have had the pleasure of meeting and chatting to so many people who are following my blog or Facebook page and are genuinely benefiting from our story. Whether they themselves struggle with their weight or their partner or child has this issue. They all want to know how a 150 kg plus man had the discipline to lose 60 kilos through clean eating and exercise (without lap band or similar surgery) and kept it off!
I won’t lie to you, it hasn’t always been easy. Andrew’s success is largely due to the support network he has (and still has). Initially The Food Coach and myself, and then a lot of it was just me. We also have a fantastic trainer, and a great network of people we train with which is very motivating (especially at 6am in the middle of winter!) But having said that, Andrew really needed to commit and it was he who made the decision to embark on this journey and make the changes. He deserves most of the credit for the discipline that he continues to incorporate in his daily life.
You don’t get to 150 kilos simply because you have a love of chocolate or pizza. It is deeper than that. For many overweight people, food is much more than nutrition and enjoyment. It is used as a tool to deal with other issues and it makes changing the diet and getting rid of unhealthy foods really difficult. So it’s important to acknowledge the emotional side of being overweight as well as the diet and exercise front.
Of course initially, there was a lot of hard work to be done by Andrew. His diet was pretty bad, there was a lot of binging on sugar, diet coke, alcohol, fried foods etc … but once we cut out a lot of that stuff, and once he started exercising and feeling really good about himself, he really enjoyed introducing fresh, healthy and new foods into his life.
When you eat well, exercise and generally look after your body the way it deserves to be treated, you reap wonderful benefits and your quality of life improves so much. It’s more than just about your waistline (although that definitely is a pleasant side-effect), it is about that spring in your step and extra energy every day. So, no, we are NOT on a diet – this is for life!!!
Andrew embracing a healthier life in 2013
I hope that you all had/are having a wonderful break and enjoyed yourselves over the holidays – if you celebrate Christmas I hope it was a lovely day!
Writing this blog has given me so much pleasure and I have been overwhelmed by the response I have received from so many of you! I am so passionate about living a healthy lifestyle and am really enjoying sharing everything we’ve learnt on our very long journey.
I would love to hear from you as to what you would like to see next year at The Shrinking Hubby. Would you like more recipes? Sweet or savoury? Exercise motivation? Dietary tips? More about Andrew’s journey? Feel free to comment below (your comments always make my day!) or you can post on my wall at www.facebook.com/theshrinkinghubby or drop me an email at theshrinkinghubby.gmail.com and let me know how you are going and what you want to achieve for you or a loved one.
I wish you and your family and friends a wonderful new years. Don’t be too hard on yourselves if you over-indulged at this time of year – sometimes you have to just relax and enjoy life a little bit! Don’t forget to keep exercising to make up for it and most importantly don’t let a few bad days ruin all your hard work – now is the time to get straight back on track and start getting excited for a great (and healthy) 2013 … Now is the time to set some goals for next year – it REALLY makes a difference if you write them down (and even more so if you share them with a supportive friend/loved one). Here’s to 2013 being a fabulous year for us all!
Seriously one of our favourite dinners. Who doesn’t love a golden schnitzel drizzled with freshly squeezed lemon juice?! But it doesn’t have to be crumbed in bread crumbs and deep fried! I found this recipe from The Healthy Chef using almond meal and arrowroot instead of flour and bread crumbs. I actually think it is yummier than the traditional recipe (and it’s very kid friendly too ..).
Almond Meal Crusted Schnitzel
Serves 2 adults and 3 children
What you will need:
2 Chicken Breasts (sliced in half length wise and beaten with a kitchen mallet if you have one)
About 2 tablespoons Arrowroot
Almond meal (about 1-2 cups depending on how your crumbing goes…)
2 organic free range eggs (beaten)
Lemon to serve
How to make it:
Coat the chicken pieces in the arrowroot, then dip into egg mix followed by almond meal.
Heat your pan and add some coconut oil. Cook the chicken pieces until they are lovely and golden and the chicken is cooked through.
Serve with a big squeeze of lemon juice alongside steamed veggies, a big salad, vegetable ratatouille – whatever you like. This time I served with a big green salad and added some slow roasted mini roma tomatoes, asparagus, feta and avocado. To roast the tomatoes toss halved mini roma tomatoes in some olive oil, salt and pepper. Lay them out skin side down on a tray lined with baking paper and bake for about 35 minutes or until they are cooked to your liking. A delicious way to add flavour to your salads.
Was absolutely delicious!
Quinoa – oh how I love this grain! I had such positive feedback from my chicken quinoa recipe and multiple requests for this porridge so here it is! (adapted from a Michelle Bridges recipe).
Breakfast is absolutely crucial if you want to lose weight and stay healthy and this is one of my favourite breakfasts – especially after a big training session…
Quinoa Porridge (serves 2)
What you will need:
1 cup quinoa
¼ cup craisins
¼ cup sultanas
¼ cup chopped walnuts
1 tbspoon chia seeds (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 ½ cups milk
How to make it:
Bring 1 cup quinoa and 2 cups of water to the boil, lower heat and cover simmering for 10 minutes.
Add the walnuts, craisins, sultanas, vanilla and cinnamon and 1 cup of the milk and cook covered for another 5 minutes.
Stir through remaining milk and serve topped with fruit (e.g. banana, blueberries or strawberries)