British psychologist Denise Taylor went from couch potato to fitness freak and lost half her body weight in the process. It’s fair to say she knows a bit about sticking to your health-and-fitness guns, so we grilled her for some killer tips on how to stay on the fitness wagon.
1. Shock Yourself
“People recommend imagining your ideal body, but for me imagining your worst-case scenario works far better. I shocked myself into action by picturing an obese version of myself, unable to get out of my chair.”
2. Think In The Long Term
“If you attempt a really restrictive diet then you’re setting yourself up to fail. Yes, the weight will fall off quickly, but being that ‘good’ just isn’t sustainable. Instead, shift the weight slowly by increasing your level of exercise and mixing good food with the odd treat.”
3. Choose Weights
“Cardiovascular exercise is the best way to lose weight quickly, but you need to add in some strength training too. My trainer told me to lift weights, as building muscle would boost my metabolism, making it easier for me to burn fat and sustain my progress.”
4. Chart Your Progress
“I asked my husband to take photos of my body every month. I pasted these into a progress book and when I flicked through it, I saw my big belly disappearing. This kind of progress affirmation is very motivating, and a vital tool in the fight to get fit and stay fit.”
5. Embrace The Machines
“Fitness tech can play a huge part in keeping you motivated. When I began getting in shape, I used the Fitbug pedometer to shame me off the sofa – it sends you a message if you’ve not completed enough steps in a day.
“And since I’ve reached my target weight, I use an app called Fitbit, which provides lots of positive lifestyle reinforcements – like giving me a badge every time I climb 50 flights of stairs.”
Every time I come close to wobbling, I ask myself: ‘Would Shakira eat this cake?’
6. Don’t Beat Yourself Up
“Perhaps the biggest key to staying on the wagon is how you react to a bad day, week or month. In my experience, if you try and deny what you’ve done, you’ll end up cheating more and more. And if you beat yourself up, you’ll eventually decide that it’s easier to quit your plan than live with the guilt.
“So instead of doing either of these, enjoy and embrace what you’ve done. Sure, you’ve eaten a chocolate bar or only lost a tiny amount of weight in a month, but it’s not the end of the world. Just accept your aberration and use it as ammunition to get back on track the next day, week or month.”
7. Select A ‘Body Double’
“Once you’re in shape, the battle becomes about staying in shape. A trick that has helped me do this is selecting a role model. For some reason, I’ve chosen Shakira. Every time I come close to wobbling, I ask myself: ‘Would Shakira eat this cake?’ or ‘Would Shakira stay in bed?’
“It sounds silly, but three years after losing half my body weight, I’m still in shape and still going to the gym.”