There came a point in my life when I realised I was never going to have a thigh gap and my upper arms were always going to jiggle. No matter how hard I worked out, I knew I was stuck with my wobbly bits.
I’m not a lazy person, don’t get me wrong. Okay. Well, maybe a bit when it comes to exercise. I never used to be, though. I’ve done my fair share of sport and exercise classes. If I wasn’t ashamed of how I looked in a swimming costume, I’d certainly surprise you with my prowess in a swimming pool.
But lately it’s all gone a bit south, and I’m not talking about my boobs and chin. When it comes to fitness, I have completely lost my mojo.
Last year I managed to lose 3 stone with Noom, and after a bit of a wobble (no pun intended) I’ve had a good chat with my Noom Coach about it all. She has made me realise it’s totally okay to have days where we know we can do better when it comes to exercise and healthy habits.
She doesn’t have to tell me that I will feel better after I exercise – unless we have picked up an injury, we rarely regret doing any exercise on our way home from a walk or gym session, do we? What she has done is given me some great tips for improving my step count each day, moving a bit more, and upping my motivation to exercise, all by looking at my potential hurdles that prevent me from reaching my fitness goals.
Standing When Working
Some of us are slaves to our laptops and working at home for so long has not helped. We have developed bad habits by sitting in unsuitable positions for far too long. Hitting the treadmill at the gym or pounding the pavements is not the best way for making up for 8-hours glued to a screen, either – not that I have the motivation for that, nor do I wish to mix with groups of huffing and puffing people in a gym while COVID rates are still high.
My coach suggested I try standing while working. Now at work or at home I do not have access to a standing desk, but I do have a raised counter in my kitchen and there are opportunities where I can stand during the day.
She explained that standing while working burns more calories, helps my posture and increases my step count. All positive stuff so far. But she also explained how it improves your mood and increases your attention which means you are more productive.
I have incorporated this into my routines in a number ways. When I have short team meetings, I take my laptop into the kitchen and attend the meeting standing up. But when I need my desk and dual screens, I take every opportunity to stand, such as when I’m waiting for data to download. I also stand when I take a phonecall. And those moments when I get distracted and scroll through my phone? I stand for those too. It works a treat!
Throw in Some Chores
If you are working at home, it’s easy to forget to take a break. Her advice here was to go for a quick win chore which reminded me of tips we shared from The Tidy Company who introduced us to the 15 minute tidy blitz. Now I can’t disappear during the working day in 15 minute blocks to do housework, but I can set a timer for 5 minutes every now and then to stretch my legs and take a break.
This was a game changer! I was able to get in lots of quick wins like make the beds, plump the cushions on the sofa, put a wash on and do some washing up. Doing the chores against the clock was almost fun, my steps increased and I had less chores to do at the end of the day which is always a good thing.
Short and Sweet
We all fall down at this hurdle. Our good intentions override our common sense as we try and jump into a long online exercise class or try and do our step goal in one long walk or even run. My coach made me realise that I might be doing a marathon and not a sprint, but also that I’m not even ready for a marathon right now.
My fitness levels will improve over time, so I need to work up to my ultimate time or distance goal. So instead of setting myself up to fail and watching my motivation plummet, my coach made me realise that 5-10 minutes of exercise is totally fine. Moving is what matters and doing something is better than the nothing that I was doing before. As the weeks progress and fitness levels improve, we will automatically do that little bit more.
Make the Most of Advert Breaks
Online streaming and catch-up services have made us lazy. We can sail past adverts, skip credits and binge to our hearts’ content. But this means we do not get up and move for long periods of time.
My coach suggested not skipping the ad breaks and instead to get up and move, even if it’s just to get a drink or pop to the loo. She explained that platforms like Netflix jump to the next episode, making us lazy as we don’t realise how long we have sat still.
Her advice was to switch off the control that allows Netflix to romp through a boxset unaided – she said I should stand up, stretch and walk to the remote which is just out of reach each time I want to jump to the next episode. She has a point.
Make Time to do Nothing
Now this was an interesting one. When I suggested a positive change I could make was to get up earlier each day to exercise, she told me to do it, but not exercise.
I was confused. But she explained that when I hear that morning alarm, I will quickly learn to dread getting up if it means doing exercise that I have absolutely no motivation for. Instead, she suggested I just work on the habit of getting up earlier.
Eventually, she said, I will be getting up earlier with no problems at all and find myself with spare time on my hands. Instead of rushing around getting ready for work, my routine will slow down to the point where I can enjoy breakfast, get some chores done or even do a few minutes exercise.
Walk and Talk
My coach asked me questions about my daily routine and one of the things she got quite excited about was my daily phone conversation with my mother. Again, she came up with a cracking idea.
During this daily chat, I’m sat on the sofa while my mother tells me all about her day. And that’s the point. I’m sat down. Doing nothing. My coach suggested I put my headphones in and go for a walk when I know my mother will call. A simple idea I’d never thought of. I can hardly get in a word as mother chats away, so I might as well use the minutes to get some extra steps in.
Only do Things You Enjoy
My coach asked me what exercise I didn’t like doing, then promptly told me to stop doing them. Simple as that. She explained that doing something I hate only makes me miserable which makes me want to do it even less.
She asked me what I enjoyed doing and I said I love spending time with my dog. So the simple suggestion here was to go out more with the dog and enjoy myself. She explained that while I’m having a good time with my dog, my brain is busy making an association of positive thoughts and activities, meaning I’ll do them more often.
I’ve certainly found the tips my coach shared with me useful – in one week my step count doubled, my house is tidy and I’ve been out for a couple of walks when I would normally write off exercise plans, telling myself I didn’t have the time. Better than that, because I’m moving more, I have more energy which is feeding my motivation to keep it up.
Believe in yourself, make a few simple changes, and you’ll have a solid plan that improves your fitness. It worked for lazy old me!