3 Expert tips for making healthy sustainable changes

3 min read

It’s that time of the year where you’re aware of every FAD diet popping up on your social media feed, all your favourite influencers talking about diets and making drastic changes. However, I want you to hear me out! Regardless of if you have specific physique goals or fitness goals, we could all benefit from spending some time looking at our overall health and putting some plans in place to make some healthier sustainable long term changes.

Now more than ever it is evident how important a healthy diet and lifestyle is. That doesn’t mean having to jump on the latest FAD diet, nor does it mean signing up to the new ‘summer shred’ workout plan. I simply want you to start becoming more aware of your overall diet and lifestyle and see if there is anywhere you could make some small changes to enhance your long term health.

First of all I would like to touch on your relationship with food. I say this to my clients all the time, but whatever your personal goal is, your relationship with food and your body should always be at the top of your priority list. So whether you are looking to lose body fat, build muscle, get stronger, improve your fitness, enhance energy and mood, or simply improve your overall health, you should always be thinking about your relationship with food.

Having a healthy relationship with food means having unconditional permission to eat all foods that you wish to - you do not restrict yourself from any foods or food groups, you do not view foods as ‘good’ and ‘bad’, you do not feel any guilt around eating certain foods and you listen to your body to tell you when it is hungry and when it is full.

If you do feel any shame, guilt, fear or even stress around your food choices, this is a sign that you should be putting more focus on your relationship with food. If you think this is you then please do feel free to reach out to me for some personalised advice. If you do have some big goals for the year, then I promise that improving your relationship with food will help you achieve those goals.

The second key point I want to touch on is celebrating the small wins along the way. If you have set yourself big goals for the year, then it is so important to set yourself smaller goals in between to give you focus and to help with motivation. I am a huge advocate for getting my clients to celebrate mini wins every single week. That is what helps them stay focussed and  motivated to continue with their hard work. These mini wins might seem so small and insignificant to you but I promise you they all add up and make a huge difference long term.

This could be anything from starting the day with a glass of water instead of going straight for a coffee, adding in a short walk at lunch time, planning out meals for the week, adding in a structured snack rather than grazing all evening, making dinner instead of ordering Deliveroo or hitting a PB in the gym. Write these down so if you do have a day where you are lacking motivation or need a reminder of the ‘why’, you can look back at all your mini wins and remind yourself of how far you have come already and how well you are doing.

The final point I want to highlight is acknowledging your progress. Sometimes I will have a client come to me with a fat loss goal, it will have been one week and they will tell me the number on the scale hasn’t shifted. Firstly, it has been one week and secondly why is the number on the scale significant to your fat loss goal. I then ask them to tell me how they feel in their clothes, how their energy levels across the day have been, and how their mood has been for the week. Suddenly the penny drops and they realise how good they feel since we started making some changes to their diet.

Please remember that a scale is not the only way to monitor progress, if you are someone that gets fixated on the scale number and allows it to negatively affect your mood and energy, then I strongly encourage you to throw it away. It is not necessary. There is a time and place for using a scale to monitor progress but there are many other ways to measure your progress:

●       Overall energy levels

●       Energy levels during exercise

●       Mood

●       Sleep quality and duration

●       Confidence in self

●       Feelings in clothes

●       Relationship with food

●       How you feel first thing in the morning when you wake up

●       Recovery between training sessions

●       Progress with lifts in the gym / fitness levels / cardio times

So next time you get tempted by the latest diet trend, please stop for a moment and consider if it sounds realistic and sustainable. If a FAD diet worked, everyone would be doing it and we wouldn’t have an obesity problem. The key is making healthy sustainable changes to your diet and lifestyle for the long term.