Ten steps to get in shape this year

The New Year has just begun, so it is a good time to decide to get in shape for the summer and enjoy a healthy lifestyle.

Ten steps to get in shape during 2019

Whether you have decided to lose some weight, eat better or do more exercise, these ten steps will help you reach your goal!

1. Personal Commitment

It won’t be an easy task to get back in shape, so before you start, you have to be convinced that you will see this through.
Make a commitment to yourself, after all, you are doing this for yourself, to feel better, fitter, healthier.
Make yourself a promise and honor it. You deserve it. It will help you feel motivated.

2. Write down your plan

Yes, put it down in writing. When you write something down, you are actually deciding what’s pertinent and reinforce your commitment to your plan.
All plans must be S.M.A.R.T., so make sure that yours is too!:

S, stands for Specific. You want to add some exercise to your daily activities, for instance walk more. This could be written down as: “walk every day after work”.
M, means Measurable. You have to set a measurable goal, so that you can know if you accomplished it or not. For instance: “walk 3 miles” or “walk for at least 20 minutes”. You could download
a step-counting app to keep track of the distance and time.
A, is Agreed, in this case it is what you have defined as feasible, and written down, so it is clear that you have agreed internally that you can and will do it.
RR stands for Realistic, so, if you have defined that you will walk after work, it means that you have the time to do so or, if you have some committment you can rearrange your
schedule to walk at some other time of the day to compensate. Realistic goals are fundamental.
T means Time-phased, in other words set yourself a time frame, such as “for the next three months”.

The plan will therefore look like this: “I will walk 3 miles every day after work, for the next three months”.

3. Exercise more

Exercise and diet (in step 4) are the two key factors to becoming fitter and losing weight.

Diet will reduce the excess calories that you eat (and improve the quality what you eat), but exercise will burn energy, consume the fat,
strengthen your muscles, and make you feel more energetic and vital.
Follow the link for some tips on how to improve your Energy & Vitality

4. Diet: make healthy changes

Eating a healthy and balanced diet is a must.
Drop the junk food, the sugary empty calories, cut the booze and focus on eating your recommended daily servings of fruits and vegetables.
Aim at nutritious unprocessed foods. Include nuts, whole grains, fiber-rich food in your diet. Eat smaller portions.
Visit our Healthy Eating Plan webpage and learn all about a balanced and nutritious diet.

Cut your calorie intake

Work out how much calories you need based on your weight, gender, age and level of physical activity and then reduce that by about 20% to cut your energy intake. This will force your body to
use its fat reserves to keep on going. You will lose weight (Try our Diet Calorie Calculator).

5. Get more sleep

Sleep is a fundamental part of our lives, it helps you recharge and reset your body and brain for the next day.
Lack of sleep makes you feel tired, fatigued and is a great excuse for not having enough energy to exercise.
Go to bed earlier, keep a constant sleeping schedule, avoid too much artificial light during the evenings (especially the “blue light” from mobiles, TVs, laptops and ipads).
We have some useful tips on How to Sleep Better at our website.
You will be surprised to learn that:

Sleeping less than 7 hours per night on a regular basis is associated with adverse health outcomes, including weight gain and obesity, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and stroke, depression, and increased risk of death.
Sleeping less than 7 hours per night is also associated with impaired immune function, increased pain, impaired performance, increased errors, and greater risk of accidents.

man cycling on bike
cycling is good for your health and fitness

6. Keep Active in your day-to-day life

You can exercise more by trying to be more active in your daily life. By keeping active you burn more calories, keep flexible and build stamina and muscle.
Here are some things that you can do very easily:

  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator
  • Park your car further from wherever you are going: walk more
  • Walk your dog a few extra hundred yards
  • Get up, stand, walk around when you make a phone call. Standing burns more calories than sitting
  • Take a stroll during lunch break
  • Have walking meetings with colleagues
  • Rake leaves, do gardening, play outside with your kids, ride a bike…

7. Keep Track of your Goals – update your plan

Keep tabs on your progress, once you reach a goal, set the bar higher, walk further or faster or more frequently.
Add more S.M.A.R.T. goals, review the plan.
Use a chart to track your progress you can use it to write down your weekly goals and keep track of your daily and weekly progress: Download chart here

A Chart to track your physical activity on a daily basis
chart to track your physical activities on a daily basis. Keep track of your goals with this chart

8. Keep yourself motivated

It will not be easy: extra physical activity, less food, less junk food, no alcohol or sugary foods.
You may have some setbacks (i.e binge eating for instance), but this is natural, we all stumble sometimes. The main thing to remember is to keep on track:

  • Don’t be too hard on yourself, one day doesn’t ruin everything
  • Focus on your weekly weight loss plan
  • Don’t starve yourself or over exercise to compensate
  • Stick to your plan, focus on eating your balanced regular meals
  • Avoid temptations (to avoid making the same mistake in the future)
  • See yourself through the plateaus -when weight loss stabilizes.

Think about the “new” and “fitter” you, and how well you feel now compared to before you started your shape-up program.
And also reward yourself:

9. Reward success

As you accomplish your goals, give yourself a compliment, a pat on the back and a non-food reward.
It could be going shopping to buy clothes to fit your now slimmer body, a night out, a ticket to a play, a nap, a manicure, some gadget.
This will help keep you motivated and go through the rough spots.

10. Don’t relapse. This is a permanent change

A common setback for dieters is that once they have accomplished their goal, after a hard period of extra exercise and food intake restriction,
they fall back on the old bad habits.
Weight gain follows and in no time at all they are their old fat and flabby selves.
But not you!
You must strive to make these changes permanent.
Stay active, exercise regularly, control what you eat, rewrite your goals into a weight and fitness maintenance plan.
Consider an alternate fasting diet on a regular basis.
You worked hard to be the “new” and fitter you. It will be easier to maintain your weight than to go back to the “old” you.

Visit our website to Get Started on your weight loss plan

A. Whittall – Patagonia Wellness

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