Your fitness program is sorted, now to work out your eating plan. Yes exercise can help promote weight loss and a change in your body shape, but only alongside a healthy balanced eating plan which is based upon using the right portion sizes something the majority of people struggle with.
As my children are still at primary school age, I have come into contact with a few women who want to lose the weight so decide to start one of the popular diet plans, such as slimming world to name only one as there are plenty more out there! So they pay their weekly subs and turn up to get weighed every week, but never stay for the exercise class and don’t start any fitness program at all. Yes they lose weight as their portion sizes shrink, and they’re eating healthier but they don’t tone up, change their body shape or improve their overall general health and wellbeing as much as they would using a fitness program alongside the healthy eating plan.
Bringing fitness into the equation could also help them keep the weight off in the future. As if they stop their weekly visits to slimming world they will have hopefully built the habit that could reinforce and motivate them to carry on improving their fitness, increasing their confidence and energy levels along with changing their body shape by building more lean muscle which will in turn burn more calories.
So having an exercise plan that works together with your healthy eating plan is important. The next suggestion would be to look at whether you want to count calories OR try looking at your macronutrients. Macronutrients are the nutrients that your body needs to run smoothly, there are 3 really important macros - carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats. These are the macros that you count, there’s no calorie counting you just make sure you are eating the correct amount of the 3 macros, to find this out you weigh your portions of food. I use this way to keep my weight in check as I need and want to be at a specific weight so I can compete as a lightweight in indoor rowing competitions. I am not really strict all the time, there are days and weeks when I give myself a bit of a break but I do count my macros instead of counting calories and you will be surprised about how much I can eat by doing this too!
If you do decide to try counting your macros MyFitnessPal is a great way to start, yes it counts calories but it will also break down the 3 main macronutrients so you can begin to recognise what foods you need to eat more of to get the right balance of nutrients. If you want to delve deeper into macronutrients there are apps available where you can input your details and how much activity you do and they will calculate the amount of macros you need to keep you healthy.
The main point I would like to make though is that it's not a ‘one size fits all’ choice, I would recommend trying it you might think it suits you but, on the other hand, calorie counting may be the way to go. I had one client who told me she’d spent a month following Joe Wick’s expensive food plan where he uses macros, she did this without much success, so decided to just eat healthy and tweak her portion sizes and lost 3 lb in a week! This is a perfect example of how one size doesn’t fit all. You have to try and persevere with a healthy eating plan but there is definitely no quick fix, its also NOT rocket science either we all know that eating too much saturated fats, sugar, processed food and drinking alcohol will sabotage all your good work but like I have written before in one of my earlier blogs if you totally stop all of your ‘treats’ resentment will creep in and this may begin to demotivate you too.
If you want to change your body shape, lose weight, gain more energy, feel more confident, improve your quality of life in the present and the future then you HAVE to exercise and eat a healthy, balanced diet. Quick fixes such as these plans where you drink shakes for the morning and lunch and eat a meal at night will not provide you with the proper nutrients your body needs to be able to perform and keep healthy in the long term, once you stop these plans the weight will come back on they may also slow your metabolism down which will not help you manage your weight in the long-term. Look at the macros and see if it works for you, it may work it may not but the important point to remember is a fitness program can ONLY work in your favour if there is a healthy eating plan working alongside it.