Tuesday, 22 March 2016

How to diet successfully (and easily)

Ok, so most people reading this have probably, at some point, followed a diet. You may be following one now?

But is it too much? Are you struggling to stick to it?

Most people when starting a new diet aim for perfection.

On a scale of 1-10 (1 being terrible, 10 being “perfect”), people aim for 9 or 10 when they start a diet. Cut out ALL of this, don’t have ANY of that, cut 1000 calories a day… then after a week, it all goes out the window. The weekend binge of 6000 calories on Friday and Saturday undoes all of the calories you’ve saved in the week, and does more damage than if you’d not bothered in the first place; and you went through 5 days of hell to get there.

If your diet is currently a “2 out of 10” – what do you need to do to improve and see a change…?

3 out of 10. It’s that simple.

If you normally have a large pizza on a Friday night – would your diet be better, would you be eating less calories, and would you see a change if you swapped that large pizza for a shish kebab or a burger?


You’ve swapped one “bad” food, for something slightly better. Do you need to change it for a bean salad? Probably not right now.

Is this change more acceptable to you? And are you more likely to succeed?

Find compromises that you’re happy with (salad may not be one of them right now) and are confident that you can do, and implement them.

If you swap the pizza for a lower calorie, healthier option, you’re on the right track.

If you can eat what you want, as usual, but just skip dessert – you’ve improved your diet and reduced calories. All without giving up the foods you love.

Like chocolate and can’t imagine not having any? Swap it for dark chocolate. You’ve just jumped from a 2 to a 3 out of 10.

The point is, you need to implement small changes that you can actually see yourself being able to stick to, without draining your self-discipline to the point that when someone offers you a piece of cake you want to bite their hand off or punch them in the face.

Take the guilt out of the foods you love, and just work on a slight calorie reduction through small changes. Trying to cut out bread? How about go for thin sliced wholegrain instead of thick sliced white? Another simple improvement that doesn’t leave you wondering what the hell you can eat for lunch.

Make small, easy changes for the better and gradually your diet will improve more and more. You only need to get from a 2 to a 3, then 3 to 4, and so on…

There are so many little changes and swaps you can make to improve your diet, don’t try to make them all at once or go straight for the big ones. Steady weight loss, without the stress, hunger and cravings is far better than rapid weight loss, feeling like s*** and inevitably failing a week or two down the line. And no-one wants to give up the foods they love for lettuce leaves!

You CAN have your cake and eat it, just a little bit less :)

A quick note on calorie reduction:

While it’s not quite as simple as it seems, the bottom line is you DO need to burn more calories than you eat to lose weight. But the clue there is “burn”.

Don’t drop too many calories out of your diet or you’ll cause a number of other problems that will be far worse in the long run, as well as being constantly hungry (which will chip away at your discipline and diet adherence).

If you drop 200 calories from your diet (a modest reduction and easily achievable for almost anyone), but also BURN 200 extra calories per day (again, a perfectly achievable amount), then you’ve just created a 400-calorie-a-day deficit – more than enough to see changes in body composition and weight loss.

This could be as simple as skipping dessert, having one biscuit instead of 3, taking 1 less sugar in your tea/coffee, having a square of dark chocolate instead of a bar of milk chocolate…

…and adding a 20-minute workout into your daily routine (or if you already workout, tweak your routine to burn more calories – switch from running on a treadmill to lifting some weights or circuit training for example).

Sit and have a think about how you can “improve” your diet, without trying to eat like a vegan supermodel, and find a form of exercise you’d be happy to spend 20 minutes of your day doing.

Then make those changes!

If you need more help, I offer one-to-one and group training out of Crayford gym. Visit www.DartfordBootcamps.com for more information on this, Nutrition Coaching, and Bootcamp classes.

And follow us on Facebook and Twitter (do it now……) for extra tips, advice and motivation.

Monday, 14 March 2016

The Importance of Guidance

If you’re reading this then the likelihood is that you’re either trying to lose weight (and searching for more ideas since the ones you’ve already tried haven’t worked), or you’re just into health and fitness and after more information.

Either way, you are probably lacking in a few things that will be holding back your results.
Many people question the value of Personal Training, and it’s easily done – it’s not particularly cheap (and if it is then you need to question it), and there are many, many bad trainers out there giving the rest of us a bad name.

But if you can find a good trainer (look for qualifications and experience over cost – “nothing is more expensive than paying for something that doesn’t work”), then they can be worth their weight in gold.
If you’re buying “workouts” and paying them to count your reps – then get out! (You’ll be better off finding a good workout online and training with a friend).

If you’re paying them for a personalised (hence “Personal” Training) workout plan and nutritional guidance based on your current circumstances (not a printout they hand to everyone) then you could be onto something good. Otherwise save your money and go to some classes!

If you can’t afford the trainer you’d like to work with, maybe find out if they offer group training options and split the cost with a friend or two, or your partner…

Guidance is what most people lack in their routines; both diet and exercise. The more is better approach just isn’t correct and quality over quantity is very much more accurate. Doing the right things, at the right times is far more effective and efficient than simply burning yourself out doing random workouts that look good.

With a structured plan, specific to you and your goals, you will achieve more, faster. Not just in terms of fat loss or muscle gain, but also in health – an often overlooked factor in the quest for better body composition.

Without someone to guide you through your plan, you’ll be left to try all the fad diets that come and go, leaving a trail of disappointed, disheartened people in their wake. The yo-yo dieters, following plans that worked for a friend (who has since put all the weight back on again), or got sucked in by clever marketing to buy someone’s products, or are trusting the magazines who use clever headings to attract your attention and tell you what the latest “trend” in fitness is this month.

You need someone to trust and listen to, who can tell you what plan is right for you (because NO plan is right for everyone).

Diet is specific to YOU. 

What you’ve been eating up until now; what you’ve tried in the past; sleeping patterns; work; stress; time available for workouts; time available for cooking; medication; injuries or medical conditions; whether you were overweight or skinny as a child… all of these play a part in determining your diet and exercise plan. Someone recommending a diet or supplement to you because it worked for someone else is ridiculous.

Find someone to listen to and do as they tell you. By all means question it! If they can’t tell you why they’re telling you what they are, then find someone else. But if they can justify their instructions, and it makes sense, follow their guidance.

It won’t be as simple as letting your chosen mentor do all the work – you will have to follow instruction, monitor progress and feedback to them in order for them to make the necessary adjustments. But if you do this you’ll be constantly narrowing in on what works best for you at this current time (nutritional requirements will change as you do so it’s never static).

So filter through all of the information you have and decide who speaks the most sense and resonates with you, and follow their guidance.

If you need more help, I offer one-to-one and group training out of Crayford gym. Visit www.DartfordBootcamps.com for more information on this, Nutrition Coaching, and Bootcamp classes.

And follow us on Facebook and Twitter (do it now……) for extra tips, advice and motivation.