Everybody wants to lose weight and get ripped but let’s face it, dieting sucks and there’s much better places you’d rather spend your evenings at than the gym.
Fad noun – An intense and widely shared enthusiasm for something, especially one that is short-lived; a craze.
First of all it is important to understand the difference between a fad and a diet. A diet isn’t just “something you go on for a few weeks”, your diet is your pattern of eating and the foods you choose in the long term. It needs to be sustainable so any changes need to be ones you can keep to and not ditch after a couple of weeks. The goal here is simple – you need to find a number of changes that you can stick to long term which will make you exercise more and eat healthier and you’ll be in much better shape in no time.
Rather than present you with the next diet craze, here instead is ten life changes you can make which will help you lose weight without turning you into a Kale eating, depressed mess. Enjoy!
Table of Contents
1. Remember the motto “Out of sight, out of mind”
When you quit smoking the first tip anyone will tell you is to get rid of lighters, ash trays, and papers etc. Basically anything which will trigger a craving upon sight. The same can apply quite well to healthy eating. Instead of cutting things like chocolate and crisps out of your diet altogether, simply hide these kinds of foods away so that they aren’t visible every time you open the cupboard or the fridge door.
Does anybody else find themselves browsing the kitchen out of boredom, then next thing you know you’ve got a chocolate bar in your mouth??
2. Sack off the gym and start a new class or fitness hobby
Let’s face it going to the gym sucks. The reason most people don’t bother going to the gym is because at the end of the day lifting weights by yourself just isn’t fun. The good news though there’s plenty of other ways to get fit, have fun, and most importantly stay focused and not give up after a couple of weeks, you’ve just got to find something that’s right for you (*cough* Calisthenics).
When picking a new hobby the trick is to find something you enjoy doing, so don’t be afraid to try a few different classes or hobbies until you find what works for you. Even better find a new fitness interest or class that has a weekly structure to it, that way it’s much easier to commit too. Many people will say “I’ll go to the gym after work”, however it’s too easy to get occupied elsewhere and not end up committing. If you’ve got a weekly class at a set time each week you’ll find it much easier to get your kit together, avoid conflicting plans, and actually turn up in good time week-in week-out without fail. If you’re lucky you may even find a great class where the other regulars give you a grilling if you miss a week!
3. Understand sugar consumption from off-the-shelf drinks
Oooooh Juicy Water, you sneaky little devil!
4. Use 2 different litre size bottles to ensure you’re getting enough water
Failing to drink the recommenced 8 glasses of water a day? Try this: Buy 2 litre size bottles of water and always keep one at work and one at home. Make it your mission to drink each bottle per day and when you leave work or home, refill the bottle you’ve just drunk and return it to the fridge (or your desk) ready for the next day. By doing this not only will you constantly have a bottle of water to hand, but you’ll also find it much easier to measure how much water you’re drinking each. An actual bottle waiting for you should help act as a good reminder too.
Don’t forget: thirst can often be disguised as hunger cravings, so if you don’t drink enough water then you may find yourself unnecessarily snacking.
5. Make small unnoticeable changes to your diet which don’t feel like large sacrifices
To me this one’s the lowest hanging fruit of the diet world. Instead of cutting out chocolate and alcohol (which coincidentally both taste fantastic), make substitutions for the hidden culprits which you’ll barely notice.
A few personal favourites:
- Swap cooking oil for Coconut oil. Tip: Buy this much cheaper from an Asian supermarket rather than somewhere like Tesco’s.
- Use light or low fat Mayonnaise instead of full fat versions. This applies to all condiments.
- Try sweetener in your tea or coffee rather than sugar.
- Cut excess fat off of Bacon or other fatty meats before cooking them.
True, Diet Coke really does taste like rubbish compared to full fat Coke, but do you really notice if someone uses light Mayonnaise in your sandwich??
6. Sign-up for a challenging event with at least one friend later in the year
There’s nothing that gets you into shape faster than signing up to an event which is completely out of your comfort zone. Convince a friend or two to join you and get signed up and paid before any of you have the chance to change your mind.
7. Love the gym? Swap the personal trainer for a friend
There’s certainly perks to having a personal trainer but at the end of the day you can’t put a price on a good gym buddy who keeps you motivated and drags you out of the house when you most need it. If you find yourself a gym buddy who will literally drag you out of the house if they have to then don’t underestimate how valuable they are.
Not only will you find that they’re often the difference between actually going or not going to the gym, but you’ll also find that working out with a partner means you can push each other harder and ensure you get the most out of your sessions.
8. Go hard at breakfast to avoid a lunch time binge
The saying goes ““Eat Breakfast like a King, Lunch like a Prince, and Dinner like a Pauper” and it sure is some solid advice. Do you ever have those days where you skip breakfast, then come lunch time all you can think of is how appealing a massive, disgustingly fatty meal looks? Make sure you eat a good breakfast and come lunch time you won’t find yourself susceptible to those dirty cravings.
9. Don’t set unreasonable goals
“I’m going to give up chocolate”, “I’m not drinking this month”, or “I’m going to get up at 5am to start going to the gym before work” are just a few of the things I hear people say which simply aren’t going to work. When it comes to lifestyle changes it’s all about making smaller sustainable changes rather than huge changes which you’re never going to stick to.
Instead make smaller changes which are much more likely to stick. The gains may not be as fast with smaller changes but you’ll find they are much easier to keep up, providing better results in the longer term. What you change is completely up to you; just make sure it’s a positive change which won’t leave you feeling miserable.
If signing up for a Tough Mudder doesn’t take your fancy then how about something smaller, such as learning 10 new challenging push-up variations?
10. Keep “easy access” foods in stock
When you fancy a snack it’s too easy to turn to the biscuit tin when supplies are low. Instead try to keep some of your favourite foods in stock which keep for a while and aren’t unhealthy, that way you can snack when necessary without the guilt.
A few favourites:
- Frozen fruit stored in single portion bags for quick smoothies
- Couscous or Noodles (both can be cooked in boiling water within a matter of minutes and simple vegetables can be added to bulk out)
Have you got any brilliant tips which aren’t listed here?
Leave a comment below with any tips that you’d like to share!
Founder of calisthenics-101.co.uk. Training calisthenics since 2012.
Currently working on: 30 second one-arm handstand, muscle-up 360, straddle planche.