KEEP FOCUSED: Liz Costigan says planning is key to a fitter you
Heading into week two of your 2013 plans to get fit and lose weight, I hope you are feeling fitter and more energetic. In my experience, the first couple of weeks in January tend to be the easiest. Having overdone it for the past few weeks, motivation is high, everyone is skipping the fries and pounding the pavements.
Unfortunately, old habits can creep in as the weeks go by. Work gets busier, life gets more demanding and that voice in your head tells you that you deserve a break. No way!
You deserve a fit and healthy body, so when things start to get difficult, remain focused and keep your eye on your goal.
Break the chains that bind
Rather than trying to eliminate bad habits in one fell swoop, make healthier ones instead. For instance, if you love crisps with your sambo have popcorn instead or baked crisps.
Try to cook the dish you usually order from the takeaway on a Friday evening, this will hugely slash the calorie and fat content. Getting fit is going to take some sacrifice and discipline. You will have to step out your comfort zone and feel a little out of sorts until the new, healthier habits are created.
Plan, plan, plan
Fitness is my passion and even after all these years of working out, I still plan my week's workouts. Life can be busy, especially if you work, have a family or travel a lot, but if getting healthy is a priority you need to find the time to exercise.
Schedule your workouts in your diary; don't assume it will just happen. Arrange to meet friends for a run or sign up to a class; you're less likely to cancel if you've made plans.
Same goes for meals
Make a list of what you plan to eat for the week and do your weekly shop accordingly. Don't buy the foods that tempt you, if they aren't in the cupboard, you can't eat them!
If time allows, make your food the day before or identify places that sell healthy convenience foods. Bring healthy snacks if you are on the go, eg fruit, nuts, rice cakes.
Facebook or fitness?
All of my clients complain at the beginning that they just don't have the time, but if you really want to get fit, time won't be an obstacle.
Learn to do it wisely. How often have you wasted an hour on Facebook or channel hopping? You could instead be out walking, taking a class or doing a fitness DVD! The time is there, you just need to be organised. Let's face it, "I don't have time" is the grown-up version of "the dog ate my homework!"
Fit it in
If you're really struggling to find large chunks of time, break it up! Doing 10 minutes in the morning, at lunch and in the evening is better than nothing.
If you can, exercise before work or squeeze in a lunchtime workout. Weekends are perfect for family activities, so go for a walk or cycle with your partner or take your kids to play at the park while you run around nearby.
I have a client who runs around the rugby pitch while his son trains. It may sound silly, but it can be done! Everyone has 24 hours in a day, don't you deserve just one for yourself?
Ready, set, go!
Make sure you're ready for tomorrow by packing your bag the night before.
Waking up and psyching yourself up for work can be hard enough without having to rummage for gear. No excuses! You are in control so take responsibility and make exercising a priority.
Liz Costigan is a personal trainer. For info see www.facebook.com/positivefitnesspt