You’ve gobbled the turkey, downed the booze and devoured the mince pies. Right now you feel a bit sluggish and are shouting about how your jeans have shrunk. Getting (back) into shape isn’t that difficult nor expensive, and there doesn’t need to be a horrendous gym in sight. Here are some tricks that I’ve been using over the past few months which will help you.
You should know I’m not a health freak by any stretch of the imagination so this will probably work for everyone with a bit of willpower.
Food & Drink
1. How to Get in Shape – Ditch the Fizz
Fizzy drinks are killers, quite literally. You’re looking at around 140 calories per can of Coke/Fanta/7-Up. Not great if you’re wanting to get in shape. Try dropping the amount you drink week by week, and over three weeks see if you can ditch them completely. Your pocket and gnashers will be better off, too, as you won’t be forking out £54 for fillings.
2. How to Get in Shape – Water it Down
Yeah, I know, it’s not the most exciting drink in the world, but water is your bessie mate when trying to get in shape. I’m a water-fiend, I drink 2-3 litres a day (I’m the cheapest date!) but I know that not everyone will delight at that thought. So pop some flavour into it. I sometimes put supergreen powder into it (try Bioglan Superfood or check supermarket shelves) which has green veggie goodness, too. Or simply chop fresh ginger up and throw it in.
3. How to Get in Shape – Drink Fruit Smoothies
Fruit salad doesn’t really fill me up yet fruit smoothies do (for longer, anyway). Chop your fave fruit up, add some water or milk depending on your preference, blend it, add some supergreen powder if you like, and you’ve got something far more interesting than water, more filling than any other drink and your five-in-one. Make extra and chill it if you’re pressed for time, although bananas might go a bit funny in the fridge.
4. How to Get in Shape – Go Nuts
I’m the biggest chocolate fiend I know. I hoover the stuff up faster than you can say Cadbury’s so this has been the biggest challenge for me. I’ve swapped it for peanut butter (you can buy it in sachets here which means it isn’t heavy and you can take it to work/on a walk) or packets of nuts or sunflower seeds. The fat content is still high in nuts but they’re full of protein so I don’t pay much attention to calories. It’s better than milk chocolate (and I hate dark chocolate!).
Alternatively, eat pure fruit bars like Aldi’s Raw Fruit designed for sweet-toothed but healthy peeps trying to get in shape.
5. How to Get in Shape – Snack on Porridge
My go-to food is actually cereal, Shredded Wheat, but it does have sugar in it (a content of 0.3g in two biscuits). So a healthier option is porridge sprinkled with cinnamon and/or nutmeg and a few slices of apple for even more flavour.
6. How to Get in Shape – Don’t Buy It
I have heaps of willpower with some things and absolutely none with others. Eating sweet food is my nemesis and the only thing that I can do is not buy it. If I do, I guarantee I’ll go through an entire packet of biscuits, all the chocolate and anything else sweet in the shopping bag within the first evening it’s in the house. I treat myself once or twice a week with something sweet, otherwise it’s fruit, cereal, peanut butter.
I can’t give you any tips on healthy meals as I despise cooking. I just whack ingredients together in a wok/pan and magically hope it will transform into something edible in about 5 minutes. It normally doesn’t! (But see the user comments below for ideas.)
7. How to Get in Shape – Refuse the Booze
I’m not saying go tee-total, though if you want to… Instead just cut down on the amount you drink. Try limiting to one or two weekend evenings and special occasions. The biggest bonus from cutting down on alcohol is the money you’ll save.
**Get an empty jar and for every bottle of wine/beer etc you DON’T buy, pop the amount you’ve just saved in to it. At the end of the month see how much you’ve accrued and that should help you with your goal.**
8. How to Get in Shape – Stop the Car
I realise this is easy for me to say as I have never owned a car, but try walking or cycling
instead. That five-minute drive to the shops will take you 15-20 minutes to walk. This works brilliantly to teach kids about an active lifestyle, too. I’m personally shocked at how many children never walk to school (or anywhere else) because parents drive them everywhere. Teach them how to cross roads safely, not to talk to strangers and they won’t need Mum and Dad taxis. Having grown up in a carless household where walking, cycling or taking public transport was the norm, it has shaped my attitude towards using my legs instead of cars. It’s far better for the environment, too.
If you commute by train or tube, get off a stop earlier and walk the extra distance. Get yourself a comfy pair of trainers and you should be able to walk 4 miles an hour, 3 if there are hordes of people/traffic lights in the way. You’ll get in shape much faster just by doing this.
9. How to Get in Shape – Try Pilates
I’d never done Pilates until a month ago. I wanted indoor exercise for those dire weather days which wouldn’t impact my knees (so no squats, lunges or anything else that seems to be in every exercise class). I then discovered Pilates via Youtube. You just need to find a video/level for you and it will hone your core muscles making you like Iron Man in about a month. You don’t need to be really flexible, I’m as elastic as a plank of wood, and I have toned up a lot since starting it. The video I use to get in shape is this (it’s pretty hardcore and you will probably want to put the sound on mute) but it works. Massively.
You don’t have time? Sure you do. Here’s how:
*Get a shower the night before so you have 15 minutes extra in the morning
*DON’T pick up your phone to scroll though photos on social media of your friends’ dinner/baby/cat from last night and you have 5-10 mins extra
Flop from your bed onto your roll mat and away you go for 20-25 minutes. Even if you have little kids, you can still do this before they plough into your room or threaten them they’ll have to join you!
10. How to Get in Shape – WALK!
Of course I’m going to say this, I LOVE walking! You can explore new places in the neighbourhood or further afield. Those activities you’re thinking of doing at the weekend, can you add a walk in there, too, or walk to them?
It’s really important to get the correct footwear if you’re pavement pounding or you’ll wreck your feet and possibly get shinsplints. Get decent trainers for city walking with good arch support and you’re good to go. It’s also a brilliant way to de-stress and get your thoughts together and discover the nearby countryside. (See my tips for choosing the right hiking boot.) It’s an all-round winner in my book!
If you’ve got any other tips or you try any of these, feel free to write your comments below.