When you first decide to do something – lose weight, get fit, start running etc – it’s easy to jump straight in without thinking about the best way of doing it.
It seems that the best way forward is to just get started (while you are actually excited about it) and that you’ll figure out the best way forward as you go along.
You’ll ask your friends about the best trainers to buy, and you’ll ask in the office for recommendations as to which well known weight loss club will work best, and you’ll see what everyone else does when it comes to exercise programmes.
Sometimes, jumping straight in just isn’t the best way forward.
I was talking to an amazing woman (who happens to be a rocking friend too) who runs a company called This Mum Runs. It’s for, yes, you guessed it, mums who want to either start running, or get back into running and it fits around family life so that all the mums get to run without getting stressed about all the other parts of family life falling to bits.
We were talking about her programmes (totally amazing – link at the bottom of the page) and how they aren’t just a group of women going for a run. She teaches about warming up properly, stretching, pacing and hydration and pretty much everything else you might need to know when you first start running. And yet, did you even know that you might need to know these things? The chances are, if you’ve decided to start running, you’ll just grab a pair of trainers (or, ahem, old crocs like I did) and see what happens when you hit the pavement.
(I’m totally not recommending wearing crocs – the only reason I did it was so that if anyone saw me, they wouldn’t think I was actually trying to run. I figured they might just think I was going for a strange, croc-shod power walk)
ANYWAY, back to the point: quite often, when you start something – anything – there are things that you wish you’d known.
That’s why Mel from This Mum Runs offers Couch to 5K courses which don’t just get you running, but which also help you become a good runner who enjoys the sport by making sure you reduce the chance of injury, for example.
In the same way, we all decide, at random times of the year (but quite often after Xmas, or before a summer holiday, for example) that we are going to ‘lose weight’ or ‘eat better’ but often without a plan or even a good idea as to how to start.
And the trouble is, when you start without having any idea if you are doing it right, you have no way of knowing if what we are doing is actually the right thing.
So I thought I’d share some tips on starting any new food adventure.
- Think about the season. Yes, you might be thinking that salads are the best way to lose weight, but if you live in the UK and it’s Autumn or Winter, you’ll definitely be setting yourself up for trouble if you eat nothing but cold, raw food. You need foods to warm you up and keep you going.
- Don’t go for broke. In other words, don’t decide that THIS is the time that you are definitely going to quit all the things that you shouldn’t be eating. Quitting anything is hard. Quitting half of all the things that you love is super hardcore, and will leave you feeling sad, deprived and will set you up for failure.
- Don’t even think of it as a diet. No matter what you are doing and no matter how you are doing it. As a society, we’ve been dieting for so long that just the word ‘diet’ has so many bad implications that you’ll mess things up before you can say ‘pass the lettuce’ if you start thinking you are on any kind of diet.
- Remember that what you eat isn’t about what you DON’T eat, it’s more about what you DO eat. So just ditching stuff because you think it’s bad for you isn’t the best way forward. It’s not even a good way. Adding IN good stuff is so much more enjoyable than just ditching the bad.
- Remember that YOU personally aren’t the foods you eat. Being ‘bad’ with food doesn’t make you a bad person. Likewise, being ‘good’ doesn’t automatically guarantee you a place at the top table – especially if you are being all show-offy about it all.
These five tips are just the tip of the iceberg – there is plenty to think about when you start eating better. My newsletter is a great way to get tips as I share them (although that happens only a couple of times a month – no need for overwhelm!) or grab my lovely coleslaw recipe here.