Firstly, forget about going on a diet and commit yourself to a
healthy eating plan. There is no mystery to this: simply avoid too
much red meat, cut back on the alcohol, avoid ready-made meals and
takeaways, avoid food with a high fat or sugar content and keep an
eye on serving sizes. Secondly write down a list of your top
priorities and consider what it will take to keep exercise and
healthy eating at the top of that list. Thirdly, acknowledge once
and for all that diet pills do not work and miracle exercise
machines, such as those that you strap to your stomach while
watching TV, have no hope of working either. And last but not
least, lifting weights is the key to every fitness goal you have
Sounds difficult? Then consider it this way. You only need to
keep one fact in mind - you have to expend more calories than you
invest. That's it.
It is a physical impossibility to eat fewer calories than your
body requires and never lose weight.
Here's where exercising your mind comes in - intelligence is a
powerful weapon in the quest for a great physique. Common sense
dictates that a 'virtually fat free' chocolate fudge cake sounds
too good to be true. That's' because it is - it's a minefield of
calories and hidden fat. OK, so it may not be fat before it hits
your stomach, but once its in there, all excess sugar is converted
to fat (and believe me, that's a lot of excess!) Even worse, the
insulin produced by a high level of sugar promotes fat storage and
disrupts your blood sugar so much that, in no time at all, you will
be craving sugar again.
The good news is that if you reduce the sugar in your diet, your
sugar cravings will immediately decrease. Diet meals are another
minefield - often, calories are reduced by reducing portion sizes,
leaving you hungry and more likely to continue snaking after dinner
- and the salt content in snacks is often artificially high.
Another way of exercising your mind is to acquire knowledge.
Learn everything you can about the glycaemic index - a table that
shows you how fast the energy from each food is released. Why is
this important? Because if the food you eat releases energy too
quickly, you ingest all the calories in one go and your body is
more likely to store some of that energy as fat.
Foods that release energy slowly will keep your hunger at bay
and will not promote fat storage. If you know you have a particular
weakness, such as eating out, do a little research first - choose
chicken tikka instead of a balti, or choose pilau rice instead of a
Diet plays a key part in the quest for a great physique, but
exercise is the other vital part of the equation. Exercise videos
that advertise 'results in just 15 minutes a day' are not going to
get you anywhere near the ideal physique that you aspire to.
Instead, regard the following three principles as the cornerstone
of your workout.
Firstly, a great physique requires a great workout. Hit the gym
until you find a sport or exercise class that you really enjoy,
then log the man hours. If you can't get to a gym, go jogging
or walking instead.
You may want to enlist the help of a personal trainer for at
least a couple of sessions to find out exactly what you need to
Secondly, go for quality, not quantity. Your workouts need to
make you sweat and must provide a serious challenge. They must be
regular and varied and get the results you are looking for.
Thirdly, you must include weight training in your workout.
Especially if you want to lose fat. Why? Because muscle requires
more calories than fat, so the more muscle you have in your body,
the more calories you will burn, even when you aren't
So make this the year that works, by exercising your mind before
exercising your body. It's a simple mantra, but believe me, it
As time goes by, increasing your knowledge of diet and fitness
issues will make leading a healthy life easier and more