When creating new years resolutions the hardest part is always sticking to them despite having the best intentions. Often people fall short because they have no foundations and habits in place in order to start achieving these goals. The goals feel harder and harder to maintain, and before we know it, it’s March and we can’t even remember what we promised ourselves.
Often a big goal clients have is surrounding fitness. I often hear after the “silly season” I want to lose 5 kilo’s” “I want to do a fun run this year” “i want to be able to do 10 chin ups”.
This can become super frustrating and stressful when you consistently are aiming for a goal that doesn’t seem able to be reached. As humans when we find something is unsustainable, this is when we need to fall back onto a plan, take a deep breath and look at things we can control. Three topics we will briefly touch on are:
- How to burn more calories with less exercise
- Reduce Stress
- Maintain motivation
Having these in mind will help us stay ahead of the game, and hopefully allow us to dig a little deeper in order to finally reach that summit!
Okay..let’s get into it
1. How to burn more calories with less exercise
“Burning calories” refers to the amount of energy expenditure we are using. In order to lose weight we need to be “burning more calories” than we are eating. It’s quite simple = calories in must be less than calories out.
Besides reducing what we are eating in order to lose weight -as long term this is unsustainable, we can burn calories by moving more! The amount of movement we are doing uses those calories we have eaten as a source of energy. Using that food we eat as a direct source for the amount of energy we need, rather than having it stored in our body “for later use” means we will be using up those calories that we ate, and therefore balancing our the calories in versus calories out.
Now that we have balanced what we are eating for the amount of exercise we are doing, to burn even more we can focus on our Non-exercise activity thermogensis “NEAT”. This is how much energy we use throughout the day to walk/sit/breathe/eat/sleep etc. without exercise. This will vary for every person pending on how much movement someone does at work, typing versus walking around all day, fidgeting and other tasks. Our NEAT can be quite low for desk workers/sedentary people making it super hard to make our exercise directly balance what we are eating.
Thinking about marching our feet 40 times under a desk every hour, or standing up and sitting down 5 times to get the body moving. This will help increase the amount of energy your body uses and therefore burns those calories!
Think about ways you can move more in your daily life without having to formally exercise (go for a run/swim/go to gym etc) to improve your daily energy consumption!
2. Reduce Stress
Stress is an automatic response of the body in response to threats and danger. During stressful events the body release cortisol, increases pain sensitivity and inflammation. Cortisol is also a key hormone in regulating our blood glucose levels. Cortisol causes the liver to release more glucose from its storage causing high blood sugar in order to give us more energy. However if this is not used insulin is then secreted into the blood to reduce these levels once again. If this continues to happen – the body becomes inefficient in being able to managing the glucose and insulin levels in our blood. Adding to this stress eating food causes an even bigger rise of the glucose and the body is unsure at whether it needs to store it or use it. Therefore this cycle continues making it difficult to lose weight as any food we are consuming is often inappropriately used or stored.
Ways we can easily reduce stress are:
- Moving more
- Getting outside
These particular three things cause the release of our “happy hormones” endorphins into our body helping to reduce the levels of cortisol that are being released.
3. Maintaining Motivation
These easiest way to maintain motivation is to set a goal that you are passionate about, and knowing exactly WHY it is that you want to achieve it. For example we me know WHAT our goal is: “to lose 5 kilo’s”. We may know how to do this “eat less and move more” but understanding exactly WHY this is important will help us drive forward and achieve that desired result.
A great little video on understanding you why was explained in a talk by Simon Sinek https://www.ted.com/talks/simon_sinek_how_great_leaders_inspire_action?language=en (long version)
Just like the saying goes – how would you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
If you know your why, how and what you want to achieve you just need a plan in place to get there. here is where SMART goals come into play. SMART goals stand for:
Making a plan on the little steps we need to achieve for this big goal will make things happen. Specific means putting in exactly what you want to achieve in bite size pieces. e.g. Go for a walk 5km walk. Measurable – can we say we have completed this task 4 days a week, I can now walk for 30 minutes without fatigue or can we say we have lost 1 kilogram, we need a specific value to know we are improving. Next is asking yourself is this really attainable – do I have time for 40 minute walks 4 days a week? Then, is this relevant to the big why and picture? I want to be more active, I want to lose 5 kilograms etc – then Yes/No. Lastly Time it will take to achieve this goal – you may need to walk for 10 minutes every day to practice and train your body to withstand walking for certain distances which may take 6 weeks to reach you goal.
Use the table below to help sort out your plan
Specific & Measurable
Able to walk 1 km no fatigue
I want to lose 2 kilograms
I want to be more active to lose 5kg
I want to be more active to lose 5kgs
It will take me 2 weeks to achieve 1km walking distance
It will take me 1 month
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