Is September the new January?
January is famed for new years resolutions and promises to make changes, however, I often find that September is a popular time for people to set new goals and make a fresh start.
This summer may have felt like it was over in the blink of an eye, but this year we have been blessed with perfect summer weather for long periods. In England this, unfortunately, is not the norm!
So when the 'heatwave' kicked in, we had an inbuilt need to 'take advantage' and make the most of the sun; cue BBQ's at every opportunity (guilty! 😄), beer gardens chosen over evening workouts and ice cream as the staple summer snack of choice!
If you have children of school age you may have spent the last 6 weeks juggling childcare and keeping the kids entertained; which can be a costly habit not only on your bank balance but also your waistline whether its fish & chips at the seaside, candy floss at the fair or sweets at the cinema.
The sun also encourages us to have more days out, which is great and an important part of family life; days out, visiting friends/family and holidays all make part of a great summer!
Overindulgence and change of routine over the summer can effect or normal exercise and eating habits, so with September upon us, now is the perfect times to wipe the slate clean and make new plans for getting fit and being healthy.
January may well be the start of the calendar year, but September is the start of the school year and is ingrained in us from a very young age.
If you think back to your childhood or if you have children getting ready to start school, as the end of the 6 week holiday approaches you start preparing for the new school year; new uniform, new bag, new classes and a fresh timetable!
The same theory can be applied to getting fit this September; plan, prepare and action.
Now you don't need to go out and buy new workout clothes or trainers, though new clothes can help with motivation, but planning what you want to achieve and how you are going to achieve it, really helps you to stay on track and achieve your goal.
Here are my top tips for getting fit this September:
1) Make a plan (and write it down!)
Make a plan; what do you want to achieve and how are you going to achieve it?
Do you want to get fit, eat more healthily, lose weight, stay active during pregnancy...? What do you need to do to achieve this?
I want feel fitter and lose some weight by Christmas. I will achieve this by exercising 3 times a week, making sensible food choices and walking daily.
I want feel healthy during pregnancy and get fit for birth. I will achieve this by being physically active for 150 minutes per week, including muscle strengthening activities and eating well.
You can then make this even more specific to you and your circumstances:
Specific mum example
I want to be able to run for 10 minutes without stopping and have lost 1st in weight by my Christmas party on December 15th 2018. I will achieve this by attending Mamafit GO on a Monday, Working out at home on a Wednesday and attending Mixed Family Circuits with my partner & child on a Saturday. I will make sensible food choices by eating breakfast everyday, being aware of my portion sizes, eating 5 portions of fruit & veg and drinking 2 litres of water daily. I will take my child out for a 30 minute walk everyday no matter what the weather.
Specific pregnancy example
I want to stay mobile, avoid back pain during pregnancy and feel strong for labour. I will achieve this by attending Mamafit Circuits on a Monday, Mamafit ALL on a Thursday and getting active for a further 30 minutes, through out and about activities such as walking, swimming, dancing or gardening to complete 150 minutes moderate intensity physical activity per week. I will eat well by avoiding recommended foods, watching portion sizes, not eating for two and limiting sugary treats.
Writing down your action plan can really help you commit to the plan and make it real. You can do this in pen and paper, on your phone or by writing it on a prominent place to remind you daily.
2) Commit to your plan
As with most things in life if you want to achieve something you need to commit to it. Consistency is key if you want to achieve your aims.
If you plan to workout every Wednesday, make sure you stick to it and see it as a priority, not just something you wipe off the list when life gets hectic, you're not in the mood for or because its raining.
3) Get active everyday
The advice for all adults in the UK in to aim to be moderately active for at least 150 minutes per week; this can be achieved and broken down however you like; 5 x 30 minute home exercises sessions, 15 x 10 minute bouts of exercise, 2 x 60 minute workouts and a 30 minute walk... the choice is yours!
The key thing to remember is that it needs to be moderate intensity, so you should feel your heart rate increase, your breathing rate increase and start to break into sweat!
I recommend trying to do something everyday; even a quick 10 minute walk around the block can make you feel better, remember being active is not just good for your physical health, it can also boost your mood and improve your mental wellbeing too!
4) Eat well
Just like with activity it is important to be consistent with your eating habits and try to achieve balance; throughout the day, the week, the month etc.
We all have times when we over indulge, particularly over the summer and Christmas months hence 'is September the new January', the most important thing is to try and stay on top of what you are eating.
Being aware of the type, amount and content of the food you are eating is really important.
Some people find writing down the food they eat really helpful, try using a food diary or downloading an app such as 'My Fitness Pal', as simple as this sounds, it can really help you see how much or how little food you are eating daily.
If you have a 'bad' or unhealthy snack/meal don't beat yourself up about it and continue to overindulge for the rest of the day/week, waiting for Monday to come back around to get back on the wagon, make sure the next snack or meal you choose is more nutritious; remember eating healthy food makes you feel good in the long run; providing you with energy and the nutrients your body needs.
Simple tips to help you eat well:
- Eat breakfast everyday; this can help you avoid reaching for sugary snacks mid morning.
- Try to eat 5 portions of fruit and veg daily; mix it up, try different fruits and vegetables, don't just stick to your 'normal' apple, orange & banana.
- Drink plenty of water; aim for 2 litres or 8 glasses, more in hot conditions or if you are exercising. Being hydrated can help you avoid over eating so try to drink water with every meal.
- Watch your portion sizes; it's easy to over eat as a pregnant women or new mum; while there may be times when you need extra calories during the last trimester of pregnancy (200 cals) or when breastfeeding, this doesn't mean you should 'eat for two' or have a license to eat whatever you want because you will burn it off during breastfeeding. It simply doesn't work like that.
- Vary your meals; variety is the spice of life so they say, so enjoying a varied diet is a good thing, don't get stuck in a rut eating the same things everyday!
- Don't demonise food; some foods or food types get a lot of bad press, Carbohydrates for example, but this does not mean they should be avoided, but consumed in moderation. Carbohydrates are your key energy source and an important part of a healthy diet; opt for wholemeal or wholegrain varieties, a carbohydrate portion size is roughly the size of your fist.
- Chocolate; I thought that might get your attention! If i told every pregnant women and new mum to avoid chocolate i wouldn't be a very popular person! Enjoying the odd sweet treat every now and then is not a bad thing as long as it is in moderation and it does not become a habit; having a chocolate bar every night or every time you make a cup of tea is not moderation! Like I tell all my mum groups; it is great to go out and socialise with other mums, but it is possible to order just a hot drink at coffee shops without a side serving of cake!
I hope this blog post has helped inspire you to make a change this September; plan, prepare and take action!
As always, if you have any questions or need any further advice please get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org
I look forward to seeing you at Mamafit soon!