Transformation won’t be easy – but it’s worth it

Keep a work-out diary
Keep a work-out diary
Inspiration: Madeleine Shaw

LESLEY KEATING: Sugar-free for a year and I’m glowing

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Eating habits and exercise need to go hand in hand if you want to make the best progress towards a better body.

This is true whatever your actual goals are — whether for health, fitness or appearance.

Any trainer worth their salt will tell you how important managing both nutrition and exercise is for achieving and maintaining that better body.

Because nothing in life is easy, it takes time and effort to make the necessary changes to your lifestyle — especially when you’re changing both your food and exercise habits at once.

As anyone who has ever been on a weight loss programme knows, trawling through special cook books and reading the back of every packet of food you eat takes up a lot of time and patience.

But if you want big changes, it’s necessary.

For most people, your body is an accurate reflection of how you live your life.

If you want rippling muscles or a tight torso, you have to live the life that it comes with.

A healthy body is not an accessory that you can fling on at short notice.

So naturally, there has to be a significant time investment on your part.

It takes time to settle into a new routine, especially if you’re aiming for more dramatic changes in shape.

For those of you simply looking to be a bit healthier and a bit fitter, just being more active will improve your standing but it’s unlikely to be enough to get your body and fitness to the place you’ve always dreamed of.

At first you may spend a lot of time identifying what you can and can’t eat, or how many calories you need to stick to.

Although in this age of smartphones, there are plenty of apps out there which will do all the hard work for you.

If you’re excited about new work-outs, you’ll probably spend hours researching ideas and building new routines that are suitable for you.

This initial learning period is the first hurdle and the one that many people may fail at.

After realising the amount of things they need to be aware of, they’re hit by this fear that they will be spending hours of their free time each week trying to figure out what they need to do next to stay on track.

If that sounds like you, don’t panic.

You need to remember that anything new takes time to adapt to.

It’s just like when you move to a new job, it takes time to warm up and learn the ropes.

The more you immerse yourself in the new role, the faster and easier things begin to flow and before you know it, it’s second nature.

The same applies to a healthier lifestyle.

Embrace the changes you are making.

To do that you need to focus on your reasons for doing it, rather than thinking about how much effort it all is.

If you are feeling more negative than positive about the experience, you are pretty much doomed to failure.

Do whatever you have to do to feel good about the changes you’re making.

Share your progress on Facebook; keep a diary, take pictures of your body; and record all your positive progress and treat any negative experiences as learning opportunities – i.e.

Why was that run slower than last time? Have I eaten enough today? Did I let myself get fed up before I even started?

Surround yourself with the ‘feel good’ of your new lifestyle and you’ll feel great about it.

Allowing dread and boredom to play on your mind will only cause you to resent the changes you’ve made.

So celebrate every step along the way to your destination and the only thing you’ll be dreading is something getting in the way of your next work-out.