I've not done a specific post on this question yet - although I have written in detail about my own journey to being leaner. Last week a friend texted me and asked for help on how to get started and how to get back in the gym. I will be meeting her for a cuppa and a good chat soon but I thought why not write down my recommendations to share with her but also my lovely followers too. That is why I started my blog - it is like chatting to friends and sharing ideas and knowledge - you don't have to listen but you might pick up a little gem of information that makes all the difference. A perfect pair of jeans or the start of a new leaner you!
This is a very simple introduction on where to start but is by no means comprehensive, I am not an expert, these are just some of the tips I have picked up along the way. It is common sense, simple advice ... if you want to change your lifestyle forever and learn how to do it in more detail then at the bottom of this post there are some really good suggestions for who to contact.
Firstly, forget the term 'weight loss' - what you really want is to look leaner, feel better in clothes, a bikini maybe, be stronger, fitter and healthier. The number on the scales is largely irrelevant - more later.
Forget all the 'diets' you've done in the past. We have moved on from traditional diet clubs and meal replacements. How I did it, what I still do and what I have learnt is far simpler and backed my science. Just ditch the word 'diet' or 'plan' ... it is a lifestyle choice.
Remember three key things - Nutrition, Mindset and Movement. Work on each one together. All three elements come together to give you the results you want. Never underestimate mindset! It is where it all starts - get the right mindset and you are off.
Calories are king. Yep macros are useful but we simply want to create a small (emphasis on small) calorie deficit, Worry about macros later when you get more experienced. Download My Fitness Pal and start logging everything you eat (update - I have found the NutraCheck app/website even better than MFP). Don't change your own diet yet, just log it, and adjust portion size. Don't let MFP calculate your calories for you though - more on how to do that later. Be accountable - if you eat cake and go over your calories one day then eat a bit less the next day.
Just a little note about clean eating here. Eating whole, nutritious foods is important and a good thing, definitely better than junk. But if you want to lose fat you still need to log what you eat and keep in a calorie deficit. For those that have lost fat due to 'just clean eating' it is simply because by changing your diet you naturally reduced calories. It is possible but not advisable - you can still eat too much whether it be 'clean' or 'junk'.
Don't weigh yourself. You need a starting point to calculate your calories but really stay off the scales - certainly do not weigh daily or even weekly - monthly if you must. Weight is not a good measure of success. Take photos every month (in a bikini or underwear) and measure - I prefer to measure in inches but it is entirely up to you. It is perfectly possible to look smaller and leaner but weigh more. Don't freak out.
Drink more water! Yep I am rubbish at this. There is a calculation for how much you need and it is not as much as you think - I feel some recommendations are way over the top. For me at 59 kg it is about 2 litres per day. But just checking your urine is a good enough indicator - google a chart to find out more!
Move more - walk. Forget 10k steps per day, that was just a marketing tool back in the sixties for the very first pedometer. Just get out in the fresh air and do some short walks - 6k steps per day is a good starting point, then increase it if you can - but you can take a weekly average so don't stress. Just 3 x 10 minute walks a day have been proven to be effective, you don't even need to track steps.
Forget hours of cardio - it is no better at 'fat burning' that any other exercise. I favour short HIIT's - approx 20 minutes. If you like running then run but there is no advantage to running over walking, it just takes a bit longer. I prefer to lift weights - as we get older having more muscle is really important and helps us burn fat - there is a load of sciency stuff about this but basically be strong! It is really good for hormones and menopause too.
If you can't exercise due to ill-health or injury then don't panic, walk if you can, it is just as effective. And remember calories are king!
Slow but steady wins the race - quick fat loss is more likely to go back on, You want to create a healthy long-term lifestyle you can sustain. So eat your favourite foods, don't cut out any food groups, carbs will not make you fat, sugar isn't the enemy - just eat within your calories! And make 80% of your diet nutritious whole foods, the other 20% can come from more convenient choices if that is what works for you.
And back to MINDSET - this is absolutely the biggest tool you will need for any of this. If you are prone to binge eating or emotional eating etc then here is where you start. I have made some suggestions below of who to follow on social media for the best mindset support. I have never been a binge eater - I feel naughty if I have three chocolate squares instead of two so I am no expert but I have seen some amazing success stories once you tackle your mindset.
The BEST educators to follow on Social Media ... I've linked to Instagram but they all have Facebook groups too.
And if you really want to learn and educate yourself for a long-term sustainable lifestyle change then look up these coaching or education options:
James Smith - love him or hate him he does tell it like it is and he runs an online Coaching Academy that is full of videos on nutrition and weight training - fantastic one stop shop for sensible information. There is a monthly fee for this but you can join just for a month or longer or I think there is a free trial.
To learn how to calculate your calories for MFP then take a look at this article, or if you join James Smith he has an online calculator.
You may notice that I have not included Joe Wicks, The Body Coach on these lists, I love Joe, he got me started and I have a huge respect for how he is bringing fitness and healthy eating to the attention of millions. I loved his plan and in fact I have his new, revitalised plan and am using many of his recipes at the moment. However, I feel that he doesn't offer the long term education that I think is needed - but it is a starting point and it worked for me. He has publicly said he doesn't believe in calories - and I feel very strongly that the other educators have pounced on this and misinterpreted his intention. Joe doesn't believe in 'counting calories' forever - his approach is to encourage you to find a balance and portion size that works for you, he thinks life is too short to never eat the dessert or log every morsel on MFP. I agree with him - once you get there you will slowly learn how to maintain and you do not need to log everything forever or be 'on a plan' forever.
For me a big key has been learning to love who I am now and embracing confidence. Accepting my body shape and that I am 50+ now not 20+ and my body has had two children and will never be the same shape but I am much happier at a size 8-10 not a 12 which for me felt huge. I am also well aware that I have never been obese or even really overweight. But I did feel uncomfortable and it is all relative. I have still learnt a lot and I hope that what I have learnt I can share with you and inspire you too.
Let me know if what I have said here proves to be helpful for you.
Feeling strong when I was skiing recently was a huge goal achievement for me, read more about it here. The weight lifting and all the squats and lunges paid off, I may moan at the time but it was worth it!
Welcome to Fifty & Fab, a lifestyle blog to inspire you. I am a blogger with a passion for writing about style, beauty, health and fitness with a focus on the over 50's. I am based in Marlow but work across London and the South East.
Subscribe below to receive regular updates by email:
Hi, I’m Michelle and my blog Fifty & Fab is all about my journey into and through my fifties. I share style tips, health and fitness inspiration, I talk about my holidays and days out and I tell you about my beauty regime and my lifestyle. I hope you might pick up a tip or two and get some inspiration!
Join my mailing list (above) for regular updates and don’t forget to look at my social media pages too..