A little of what you fancy key to health, happiness and wellbeing
So you’re back from your summer holiday and that beach body has become, well, a post-holiday, loved-all-that-food-and-wine body.
On top of that, you’re back at work, the weather is rubbish, the nights are drawing in, and how many shopping days are there until Christmas?
It’s enough to make anyone reach for that comforting packet of chocolate digestives.
It’s tough. Your mind recognises all the signs. You know you should get back into fitness, eat healthily and be happy. But it all just seems too hard, an Everest staring mockingly straight at you.
So how do you stare right back and crank that motivation up? Well, as the saying goes, the longest journey begins with one step. That’s right, focus on the small steps, the little things that you know you can do and before you know it you’ll be well on your way to health, fitness and happiness.
Let’s look at food. We’ve all seen, and maybe tried, the crash and magic diets, the two-weeks-to-trim-your-tummy fixes that turn out to be two weeks of hell, never to be repeated. Maybe you’ve tried missing out a meal then, overcome with hunger, wolfed down that chocolate bar. The problem is these so-called solutions are quick and not so successful fixes for most of us. What happens at the end?
The solution lies in maths. For the majority of people, maintaining a healthy weight is a simple equation involving calories consumed against calories expended. If you want to lose weight, use more calories than you eat. It sounds like a statement of the obvious, but most people completely underestimate how many calories they eat – as well as the units of alcohol they drink.
There are plenty of good apps, many of them free, that will help you keep track and with barcode reading it couldn’t be easier.
Of course it’s not just about calorie counting. A balanced diet is important too. But here again, don’t deprive yourself. You need to enjoy food for long-term health and wellbeing. Sunday Roast? Fish and chips? Of course! They’re both balanced meals. Just don’t have them every day. Balance those fruits, vegetables, proteins and carbs and find yourself feeling great.
By all means try kick starting this. Peer pressure in a social environment is a great motivator, so if you want, seek out a reputable weight loss group. But remember, the long term is down to you so make sure you’re happy with what you’re doing.
So that’s your diet sorted. What about fitness? You’re probably thinking you should make more use of that gym membership you bought on January 2nd. Don’t forget though, there’s a reason you haven’t used it. Instead, try out a few activities to find one that you enjoy. After all, exercise shouldn’t be torture. The easiest thing in the world is to step outside your front door and just walk. Buy a guide to local walks and not only get fit but enjoy exploring where you live. If you have a nearby pool, swimming is a fabulous all round exercise. There are so many options.
Remember to build exercise into your daily life. Walk to the local shops instead of driving, take the stairs not the lift, do some gardening. It all counts. Do what makes you happy. Speaking of which… People often speak of whole life changes in pursuit of happiness – career moves or living abroad. But it’s the small things that can have a big impact. Make time in your life for things that make you happy. Family days out, lunch with your partner, playing an instrument or reading a book. Even finishing that job in the house that’s been waiting. Whatever you do, immerse yourself in it, live in and love that moment. Because that moment is your life.
Music hall songstress Marie Lloyd was right all those years ago. A little of what you fancy does do you good. It’s all those little things, taken together, that bring health, happiness and wellbeing.