Wellness coach and fitness expert, Pat Divilly tells us about the importance of setting realistic and achievable goals when embarking on a new fitness or weight loss plan.
Keep the Carbs
Carbohydrates are often labelled as ‘bad’. I encourage people to think about them the same as they would fuel for a car journey. If you’re going on a long journey, the car needs lots of petrol or diesel. For a shorter journey, it needs less. If you are very active, you’ll need more fuel (carbohydrate), but on days where you are more sedentary, you’ll need less.
Don’t Fear Fats
Fats were villainised in the past but the reality is that the ‘good’ ones are essential for one’s brain, eye and heart health. Omega 3 and 6 fats are the ‘goodies’. I compare them to the foundation of a house as they provide the essential support for good health. They are present in specific foods such as oily fish, avocados, olives, flaxseeds and walnuts. They are also present in quality organic cold pressed oils such as extra virgin olive oil or Udo’s Oil. Udo’s Oil is easy and pleasant to use and is packed full of Omegas 3,6 and 9. I add it to soups, smoothies and dressings (it’s perfect blended with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar). I also drizzle it over salads or foods I’ve just cooked.
My biggest belief when it comes to training is that you need to find something you really enjoy. There are so many ways to get active and into shape so find something you enjoy doing and you’ll be more inclined to stick with it. Don’t be afraid to try different things. Find what you like, set yourself mini goals and focus on getting a little stronger, fitter and more flexible every time you exercise.
Know what you are training for. I’ve had clients that have seen great progress with their initial training efforts and then fallen into the routine of going through the motions. It’s very common. Having a goal or something you are working toward ensures you have a reason not to skip sessions or get bored of what you are doing. Ask yourself ‘what is my goal?’ Make it non-negotiable. Get into the habit of moving at a moderate intensity for a minimum of 20 minutes every day. Keep it that simple. Before you know it, you’ve done 140 minutes of exercise in the week. This is how you begin to make it a lifestyle that you can build upon.
Focus on small improvements. Rome wasn’t built in a day. I teach my clients to focus on a 1% improvement per day. It doesn’t equate to much in a week or a fortnight but over a number of months you become a whole new person in terms of how you think, move, look and feel. Take my example of 20 minutes of movement every day. Do this consistently for the next 90 days and you’ll have added 30 hours of exercise to your life.
Finally, can I suggest that you don’t spend your life planning, plotting and saying ‘someday’? Take action and get moving. The first step is the hardest. You don’t need the perfect plan, the perfect time or the perfect support network around you, you just need to take the first step toward your goal and trust that the next step will appear.
Conversations about diet are sometimes like conversations about politics or religion. People become very passionate and attached to their beliefs around certain diet plans and nutritional beliefs. I believe the foods we consume significantly influence the way we look, feel, think and move. As we choose what goes into our bodies, it’s up to us to learn about the different types of food.
I’m not a big fan of making big dietary changes. I believe it’s best to tweak your diet and monitor if you feel any different. Do you have more or less energy? The key thing is to eat what gives you the energy you need to live your life to the max.
At its core, I believe any great nutrition plan focuses on ‘real foods’ like nuts, seeds, herbs, spices, fruits,vegetables, meats and fish. Equally, the less chemicals, preservatives and additives we consume, the better.
I always encourage people to slow down, enjoy their food and take note of the effect their food has on their digestive health, energy levels, sleep and body composition.
Mix it Up
Vary what you are eating to ensure you are consuming a wide range of nutrients from different sources. Don’t rely on a small number of food groups or types.
‘Tis the Season
Buy vegetables and fruits that are in season. That way you’ll be consuming fresh foods, and not just ones that have been harvested and stored away for months.