“As we get older, it gets much harder to keep fit and stop the creeping weight gain…
but here’s a great place to start the 2021 fightback!”
Jean Ann Marnoch, health and fitness expert and founder of the New In 90 Programs
Do you want to lose some weight and get fitter?
Once you hit the big 50, there’s lots of reasons why it’s difficult to stay fit and not put on weight.
But if COVID and the last few months tell us anything, staying as fit and healthy as possible is really, really important.
Most of us probably know this so why don’t we do something about it?
Because it’s hard!
And even harder for us ‘older’ people as our metabolism slows and our daily routines become more and more entrenched – even with the disruption of lock downs.
But here’s the good news!
Whatever your age, it’s never too late to start and whatever you do – even if it’s only a tiny amount – will be beneficial.
But first, follow these simple rules:
– Take it slowly. Never set yourself an objective that’s too hard because you’ll fall at the first hurdle.
– Think long term. You won’t see or feel instant change because that’s impossible to achieve – whatever those glossy adverts tell you! Think ‘this is for life’ and you’ll be a big leap closer to where you want to be.
So, what’s the next step?
To achieve the objective (to be slimmer and fitter) we need to focus on two things:
Getting more active (many benefits – improved sleep, stronger muscles, mental well being, less stress, better health, helps to control weight).
Achieving your ‘optimum’ weight (the one that’s about right for your height and age and the one that makes you feel good).
And here’s 11 really effective ways to get started.
1 Decide you REALLY want to start.
It may seem so obvious, but if you’re only making changes to please someone else, you don’t really think you need to make changes or you can’t really be bothered, then everything will be much harder if not impossible.
You, and only you, can take the decision to make a change.
If you find this Guide useful and want to know more about getting permanent control of your eating and fitness habits, then one of the New In 90 Programs will show you exactly what you need to do (and why).
They’ve been specially designed for people who want to lose some weight and exercise more AT HOME to get in better shape (both physically AND mentally) for the LONG TERM.
No diets, no gyms, no monthly subs – just long term results.
2 Set an objective and a timescale
Make them realistic and achievable (no point in saying “I’m going to run a marathon in one months time” or “I’m going to lose three stone in three weeks”).
If you hit your objective easily, then you can always set a new one. If you fail, then you may well give up.
Instead, set an overall long term objective and then lots of smaller, short term ones. For instance;
Long term (name an actual day/month into the future and put it into your calendar – remember, this is for the long term) – ‘In a year, I’m going to look at my reflection and be really satisfied with what I see!’
Short term, week 1 – “I’m going to eat 10% less food this week” or “I’m going to skip a mid-morning snack this week” and;
“I’m going to do 5 slow squats each time I brush my teeth” or “I’m going to do a press up every night before getting into bed.”
You can even set yourself hourly objectives and then give yourself big pat on the back when you achieve them!
The absolute key is never to set yourself up to fail.
3 Start walking more
One of the best exercises around, particularly in a lock down, and it’s free! Aim to go for a long walk every day – or several short ones (even a quick 10 minute walk has benefits if done often enough) if that works better. But don’t dawdle! Walk briskly to get the heart going a bit faster and a light sweat on.
The overall message here is to get moving more, not only to help physical well-being, but also to increase the body’s metabolic rate which will utilise more energy.
Remember, to lose weight your body has to use more energy over a sustained period of time than it takes in via food and drink. And moving around more is the easiest way of increasing the metabolic rate – walking alone will increase it by 200-300%.
You don’t only have to walk – doing anything that makes you move around more is great for your well-being.
So throughout your day, keep asking yourself “how can I move around more?”
And walking is the best way, bar none.
4 Eat less at meal times
It’s the most obvious statement in the world but everyone eats too much! And one of the reasons for this is that we don’t regulate our portion size enough – in fact, we often let other people serve up food for us.
Combine this with our ingrained belief that we should ‘finish everything on our plate’ and it’s no wonder over 65% of the UK population is overweight!
So, as one of your short term objectives, reduce your portion size.
Serve yourself a usual portion and then remove half. Slowly eat what you have and wait a few minutes. If you want some more, then have a quarter of what’s left. Chances are you’ll feel full and you won’t have any more – which means you’ve reduced your portion size by a minimum of 25%. Do this for each meal (or snack) and you’ll have cut your energy intake by the same amount – without really much effort!
Try it just once and see what happens.
5 If you drink alcohol, only drink three days a week and don’t binge.
Many people say that “drinking more” is one of the biggest causes of weight gain, particularly during the lockdown.
Whilst many of us really enjoy a tipple, alcoholic drinks are both very fattening and are normally ‘over and above’ all the other food and drink we take in during the day.
And, of course, having more than the weekly recommended amounts can lead to many other health issues, so it’s not good to go there.
So, go on enjoying alcoholic drinks but reduce the amount you have – and that probably means limiting the days rather than the actual amount on any particular day (most people find it very hard to have just one or two drinks at a time). Aim for three days drinking and a minimum four days off each week.
If you don’t drink alcohol, then you might have soft drinks instead. From a calorific point of view, these are just as bad, so follow the same 3 on/4 off rule if you can.
6 Start doing tiny amounts of exercise throughout the day – the importance of triggers.
Because us humans lose muscle mass as we get older, it’s really important to do as many strengthening exercises as possible. Doing this will have many benefits and will ensure we stay fit and mobile well into old age.
However, a lot of people perceive that this means spending hours in the gym or in front of online videos – but that’s just not the case. One NHS study found that older adults can build muscle mass with as little as forty minutes of strength training twice a week.
So saying, even two long training sessions sound daunting so that’s why we advocate lots of small sessions spread throughout every day.
And this is where the triggers come in.
Triggers are little moments throughout the day that provide an opportunity to do a strengthening exercise.
The key is to connect a specific exercise with a trigger – so cleaning your teeth will trigger 5 squats, or walking up the stairs will trigger you walking up and down 2 or 3 times more, or undressing will trigger some tummy strengthening exercises.
The amazing thing about triggers is that after a very short while, you will automatically connect the exercise with the trigger, so it will become second nature to do them.
In fact, after a while, you won’t not be able to do them – and that’s when you’ll really start to notice the difference!
7 Start meditating
The last few months and the isolation in your home, either by yourself or with family, can be really stressful so it’s even more important to look after your mental as well as your physical state – and, as we emerge from lockdown, there will inevitably be many issues and problems.
So, the advice to everyone is to take one form of exercise each day – but what about your mind?
Taking some time out to sit down and ‘turn off’ is a great way to de-stress and relax, and it only needs to take 10 minutes (although if you can manage a bit longer, you will notice even more positive effects).
8 Get the support of those around you.
Making any sort of change to one’s life, however small can be stressful, particularly as we get older.
And many people find it very difficult to adapt eating or activity habits because of pressure from those around them (“Come on, let’s have a takeaway”; “Go on, have another drink”; “You do a press up? You’re joking aren’t you?”) that makes it very hard.
So once you’ve decided to make a change, get those in your bubble on board and ask for their support. As soon as you have that, hitting your objectives will be so much easier.
9 Change daily routines and habits.
The majority of diets concentrate only on what we put into our mouths but what we need to change to obtain a better and fitter lifestyle are our habits and routines – many of which are not particularly good when it comes to eating and drinking!
Many will be really ingrained but the good news is that it’s relatively easy to change and adapt them so they start working for us instead of against us.
Imagine how effective that will be!
10 Get rid of barriers standing in your way.
“I want to lose some weight and get fitter but…”
So many people want of improve their lifestyle but something is stopping them. If that’s you, then we need to identify what comes after the ‘but’ and take steps to remove whatever is standing in your way.
Many people think this is very hard or impossible to do but it’s not.
Using several simple techniques, you can break down the thing (or things) that are stopping you achieving your weight loss and fitness goals.
11 Don’t deprive yourself of treats or snacks.
If you enjoy treats and snacks (and most of us do!), then the last thing you should do is to stop having them.
No one gets overweight eating chocolate, ice cream, biscuits, crisps or an Indian take away. The problem comes if you eat too much of them.
So, as part of your new lifestyle, you’ll still have your favourite treat but it will become pure enjoyment rather than a guilty pleasure.
If you’ve got to here, then you’ll be wanting to know what the next best step is!
How can you start leading a fitter lifestyle – one that will stay with you FOR GOOD?
Well, there’s lots of good information out on the internet (the NHS site is a good place to start), or you can find out about New In 90 and the Programs we offer.