The Gazette's brand new columnist, former Gladiator star Panther, offers her top tips on how you can beat the winter blues and finally shed those pounds from Christmas and the New Year - without sacrificing that glass of wine or special treat at the weekend
Happy New Year to you all! I hope 2009 has started off well for you and that those resolutions you made have not been broken yet...
It's always difficult to get yourself started on a healthy eating and exercise plan, after indulging in extra food and drink, but I am here to encourage you. Please feel free to email me your questions and I will endeavour to answer them.
Personally, I find it difficult to get started again, because I have broken my routine over Christmas. Training and eating well has to be a habit, therefore it has to fit in with your current lifestyle.
With our family and work commitments it is easy to forget to make time for ourselves. It is important to make an "appointment" for yourself to get down to the gym and have an hour to ensure you are doing something to benefit you, which will in turn benefit others in the long run.
We all know we should exercise and we all feel better afterwards.
SET YOURSELF ACHIEVABLE TARGETS
I have a lot of people saying to me that they are going to start going to the gym and will train five times a week. I am not in any way discour-aging training five times a week, because I do it myself, but for the majority of my friends and members, I realise they need to set a more realistic goal of twice a week.
You will feel so much better for having set a target and achieved it, and if you manage a bonus session then you have surpassed your target. How good does that feel?!
Top tip - keep a food diary. It is amazing over a day what you don't realise you are eating. If you jot down what you eat, you will soon see all those added extras you just automatically eat without realising until you see it written in black and white.
This is an essential part of your regime if you really mean business.
All my clients keep a food diary. When they get to a sticking point, I look at it and can spot their problem immediately. Sometimes it is that they aren't eating enough or eating at the wrong time of day. I love to eat out with friends and have a roast dinner and glass of wine or two on a Sunday and I would feel cheated if I couldn't do this. However, I make a special effort to eat healthily from
Monday to Friday and keep my indulgences for the weekend.
START OFF SLOWLY
I have so many people who have friends wanting to go to the gym but say they want to lose weight first!
Believe me, the gym is the best place to get motivated and lose your weight. The statistics show that if you buy a bike for home or other home exercise equipment they end up under the bed, in the garage or you hang clothes on them. The same with exercise videos. We watch these two point four times after we buy them! Please don't worry about what other people think, they are too busy worrying about themselves. Anyone who is overweight should be applauded on doing something positive to help themselves.
GET THE BEST FROM YOUR WORKOUT
Here at Panthers we offer four free personal training sessions when a new member joins. We complete a health questionnaire to ensure you highlight any injuries or ailments so we can avoid certain exercises and offer alternatives.
We do a blood pressure test and a body analysis during the first session as well as advising the most
effective way to use the equipment to get your best results. We introduce resistance training and stretching as well as cardio work and we take it slowly but surely, so by the end of your fourth session, you feel comfortable and confident with both your exercises and your environment.
MY TOP TIP
Aim for consistency over perfection, in other words don't try to be perfect every day, if you slip on your exercise regime or your diet, get back on top of it the next day. If you give yourself eight weeks of consistent exercise and healthy eating with the odd slip up, you are more likely to succeed. If you think you haven't been perfect today and decide to start again next week YOU WILL FAIL.
You start and continue. 80 per cent consistency is better than starting and stopping. We all have our times when we can't be quite perfect (par-tying with friends, Sunday roast with wine)..don't give yourself a hard time about it.
You have made a lifestyle choice and it takes time to see results.
GOOD LUCK! Don't forget to email your questions to email@example.com