Fat to Fit – Secrets to getting fit and feeling great!
Most of us have been there, that pair of jeans has mysteriously shrunk or you find
that your favorite outfit is a bit tight nowadays In the modern world it is all too easy
to eat a little too well and not exercise as much as we should. Long days at work
followed by a tasty takeaway. Sitting down all day at a computer screen and having
a lazy weekend catching up on box sets can all add up. If you feel that you have
become unfit, don’t despair!
Getting fit doesn’t have to be a chore! You don’t have to give up everything you love.
In fact, you may find some new foods and activities to boost your life. So let’s look at
the secrets of how you can give up your couch potato status!
- This is a lifestyle change, not a diet or keep fit plan…
This point may seem obvious, however, your attitude is pivotal. It can dictate f you
are going to succeed or fail. If you have ever met someone who has given up on
dieting or tried keeping exercising but could not continue you will know that it can
be easy to get downhearted and let things slide.
You cannot live on a permanent diet, you will lose interest and it will fail. You will
soon find that the weight goes back on and you feel worse than ever. The same is
true with exercise, you no doubt start with good intentions, but all too often these
fade. What you need to embrace is a change in your life.
You are not dieting – you are going to eat more healthily. This means you will start
to look at what you eat and improve your daily diet. No fads, no quick fix diets, you
need to consider this to be a way forward. The same is true with exercise, this is a
plan to build up a lifestyle where you move more.
If you think this way you will find that you will have a higher success rate and that
you will be able to sustain healthy living far more easily.
- There is no ‘Miracle, get fit in 5 minutes’ solution
Again, I wish I could offer an instant solution. There are plans which promise near-instant results, however, they are generally tied with crash diets which are unsustainable.
This whole process will take time. However, it is a journey where you will start to feel
better. You will start to notice results and getting fitter will make you feel more
healthy. Set yourself some targets but be aware that there is no sustainable ‘quick
- It should start with a trip to the doctors…
Most of us don’t want to go to the doctors. It is important however to have a
check-up before you start any program of exercise or start changing your diet. Your
physician can advise you if there are any health risks you need to be aware of. If
nothing else you can have a starting point with your blood sugar, cholesterol and
other key factors recorded so that you can truly monitor your progress over time.
- Learn the greatest secret to better eating…
Healthy eating does not have to be dropping everything you enjoy from your diet. I
have been there, and when you lose every takeaway, every ‘naughty’ snack straight
away you will become desperate for them… Here are some of the real secrets:
- Cut the crap! – Look at what you are eating. If it is lots of processed food,
takeaways or burgers you need to take stock. Look for healthier alternatives,
do you really need an XXL pizza? Why not buy a large. That is a start and it is
by following small changes that you will make sustainable change. If you go
to a burger shack every day for lunch, cut it down to a few days a week.
Forget the large portions, go for a regular instead. As you progress keep
making these changes. Soon you will find that you may hanker for a burger,
but instead of a half-pound of meat and fries, you will be just as satisfied with
a regular portion.
- Keep a note of what you eat. – A food diary is really helpful. Note down what
you eat and be honest with yourself! If you do lapse and have a chocolate bar
just note it. Don’t beat yourself up about it, just don’t keep doing it! As you
look back, you will want to see that you have started to make more healthy
choices. Soon the healthier alternative will become the norm!
- Eat more fruit and vegetables. – If you don’t eat any more vegetables than the
pickle in your burger you need to look at adding more to your diet. If you
really don’t like veg you can add them to your diet with things like healthy
chili (packed with extra beans and lots of tinned tomatoes – I have added my
own recipe below). Alternatively, try extra sweetcorn and peppers as a
side-dish. Honestly, salad is not a dirty word! You can be creative, just try to
avoid fatty sauces and dressings.
- Portion control is king. – One of the simplest things you can do is to look at
your portion control. Look at your plates, if they are big try to go a size
smaller. Beware of loading on too many carbs, if you have potatoes, for example,
don’t add extra bread on the side. And avoid second helpings! Cara
Stewart a nutritionist stated in “Penn Metabolic & Bariatric News” that it can
take up to 20 minutes for your stomach to tell your brain it is full. So make
sure you don’t rush for more food before you know you are full! If you can
eat just a little less during every meal you will start to notice the benefits!
- Start to exercise… Gently!
Michael R. Bracko , chairman of the American College of Sports Medicine’s
Consumer Information Committee says that “Exercise is the magic pill, it can
literally cure diseases like some forms of heart disease. Exercise has been
implicated in helping people prevent or recover from some forms of cancer.
Exercise helps people with arthritis. Exercise helps people prevent and reverse
So starting to exercise forms a big step in your program of becoming fitter and
more healthy. As you first start to exercise, don’t try to do too much too soon. If you
are unfit, you should start building up your activity gradually. Start with a gentle
walk, and then build it up adding to the duration and intensity over time.
Start by exercising for 20 – 30 minutes, four or five times a week, a brisk walk is a
good way to start. You are looking for an exercise which will raise your heart-rate
slightly. You can then slowly build up your stamina and look to take on more active
exercise such as running, playing sports or going to the gym.
- Exercise has to be something you love!
If you are bored by your exercise routine, you are more likely to give it up… So don’t
just go to the gym and pound the treadmill. Why not instead take up a sport or
activity which you enjoy? This could be football, hockey, whatever you fancy. That
way not only do you get exercise, you also start to make new friends and get a new
Any exercise routine is going to be easier if you have people around you supporting
you. Playing for a team is one way, you will train together and come through the
highs (and lows) together. If sport is not for you, why not look for a running club
where you can find some camaraderie with new found friends.
Rather than exercise being something you ‘have to do’ it can be a social event, a
high point of your week where you can relax and really enjoy something new!
- Track your successes
Tracking what you do can be very useful as it allows you to see how you are
building up exercise. It is also good for those times when you slack to motivate you
to work a little harder!
You can buy a fitness tracker, there are a number on the market or use a
smartphone-based app such as Google Fit. Many health organizations recommend
that you should aim to take 10,000 steps per day. There is a lot of conflicting
evidence as to the relative worth of this, however it is a great way to start moving.
An average person will burn approximately 400 calories if they achieve this target.
Doing this, along with reducing some of your calorie intake is a quick and simple
way to start losing weight.
Think about using the stairs instead of an elevator or walking rather than driving
your car. It is all about a number of small decisions which you make which all build
up to create a healthier you!
- Look after yourself.
Whatever exercise you do there is a risk of injury, especially if you are unused to it.
Ensure that you carry out a warm-up before starting any activity. There are a
number of warm-up’s you can use which include stretches which allow your
muscles to prepare and prevent potential injury.
However, no matter how you prepare, minor injuries can happen. One of the most
likely injuries is a sprained muscle. Sprains occur when you overstretch or tear a
muscle and are common in your back, neck, hamstrings or ankles. A torn muscle
may feel slightly stiff but will still be flexible enough for use. If you have a severe
muscle strain there will be very limited movement and pain. It indicates that the
muscle is severely torn.
If you do have a sprain you should follow the principle of RICE:
- Rest – rest the affected limb
- Ice – use ice to reduce swelling
- Compression – supports circulation
- Elevation – drains the lymphatic nodes
Following these procedures will aid recovery and will allow you to return to exercise
as quickly as possible.
- Agree what is ‘your perfection’.
Forget the images you see in fashion magazines. Even the size zero models are
likely to have undergone an amount of photoshopping before you see them. We
cannot all look the same and you need to put impossible perceptions of perfection
The most important thing for you is to be healthy and to be happy with your body
image. We are all unique and beautiful, so just remember that!
- Don’t give up!
Once you start getting fit, don’t give up. There will be days when you don’t want to
exercise or you will have a few too many drinks or enjoy a bit too much of a buffet,
however this is not a reason to lose your resolve. Just remember that issues like
this are just bumps in the road. Your journey may be a long one but you can cope
When you have a day when you feel like giving up, just remember why you started.
This is not about becoming a body beautiful, however, it is likely that you will
succeed in becoming one anyway!
This is for you and nobody else. Don’t listen to doubters who tell you that you can’t
do it, especially when that doubter is the voice in your head. Take it one day at a
time, slowly moving forward, losing weight, getting fitter, finding new friends and
new activities. The only thing you can do, is win!
Chilli Non Carne
If you struggle to get the right number of vegetables in your diet one of the tricks
you can use is to add loads to dishes like a good hearty chili. I like to go one further
and use a meat-free mince as the base of a delicious chili-non-carne.
- 1 tsp Cumin
- 1 tsp Coriander
- 1 tsp Mild Chili powder
- 1 Cinnamon stick
- 3 Onions
- 3 Red peppers
- 1 Celery stick
- Red wine
- Soy Sauce
- Pack of Meat free mince (I use Quorn but any should do)
- 2 cups Mushrooms
- Can of Kidney Beans
- Can of Baked Beans
- 2 Cans of Chopped Tomatoes
- Vegetable oil
- Soften the onions and peppers in a little oil
- Add the mushrooms and celery until they have cooked down (about five
- Add half the spice mix and fry for two minutes
- On a low heat, add the beans and a glass of red wine
- Add the meat free mince and the remaining spices and another glass of wine
- and a couple of splashes of soy sauce
- Add tomatoes and bring to the boil
- Leave it to simmer for at least an hour
- Serve with rice or tortilla wraps.
This makes a big batch which you can chill and keep in the fridge or you can freeze
off portions as a really quick meal. Customize this as you like, make it hotter or add
anything you like to make it your own! However, this is a filling and tasty dish
packed with good stuff!