Since my last post here about how I use Triggers to help keep me fitter and slimmer, people have been asking me how they can actually start using them.
To me, getting fitter and slimmer is all about your mindset – how much you really want to change things about your life (we’re not talking about major changes here, we’re talking about minor adjustments). If you want to get slimmer and fitter because a friend or relation has made a comment, or you’ve been reading the numerous reports that COVID-19 tends to prey on people who are overweight, but actually you don’t REALLY want to make any changes – then you won’t!
So, Rule number 1 is – you’ve really got to want to make some changes!
The second key point is to ensure that any changes you make are EASY.
Doing online workouts, going out for a jog or starting a calorie restricted diet are great – if you can motivate yourself – but many of us (after a few enthusiastic sessions or days) just can’t be bothered to set aside a set block of time – and that’s where using triggers is so effective.
The third key thing is to remember that you won’t make a huge difference overnight – and that’s why it’s crucial to make small but permanent changes to your eating and activity habits rather than start a drastic diet or exercise regime. Think “this is for life” NOT “this is going to make a huge difference in a few weeks”.
With these points in mind, then the next thing to do is actually start a process!
And that’s where triggers come in.
The key thing is to connect up little things you do everyday with an exercise, a new healthy eating habit or, conversely, to STOP a bad eating habit!
Remember though – start small!
So, a favourite of mine, teeth cleaning. When you next clean your teeth, lean against a wall with your feet placed firmly between 1 and 2 feet away. Now slowly slide down the wall as far as you feel comfortable and stop (this could be only a few inches, or it could be all the way down so that your thighs are parallel to the ground).
Now clean your teeth and hold that position as long as you can. You’ll start to feel a burn in your thighs fairly quickly and that’s fine.
So, from now on, adopt this position every time you clean your teeth. You’ll find you can hold the pose and bend lower for longer each day – which is a sure sign your legs are getting stronger. Doing this will also make bending down and getting out of chairs much easier.
Getting dressed and undressed is another great trigger because most of us have to do it everyday.
Next time you get dressed, do a press up. Just one. If you can’t do a full one, then start off on your knees as shown.
Then, when you get undressed at night, do 2 press ups!
You’ll find you can very quickly do several in a row and make them harder.
Another great example of a “negative” trigger is, say, a mid-morning coffee. If you tend to have this, together with a couple of biscuits or a pastry, then make your coffee and find a step – any step – and go up and down 10 times. Then go back to your coffee but without the snack to go with it.
Try and pair up as many daily triggers as you can with an exercise or negative active – but remember, don’t try and do too many to start and make them really easy.
By the end of the week, you’ll have found you’ve done the equivalent of a good gym workout, but without the sweat or the inconvenience of having to set a special time aside. And, more crucially, you’ll have started your lifestyle change which is the long-term objective here.
In my next article, I’ll be listing at least 10 great triggers and what activity to link them with.
Sue, one of the New In 90 team.