Capital FM (Nairobi)

Kenya: Fitness Jump Start for a Better You

opinion

Toasting to a new year is filled with laughter and merry making.

It also comes with those pesky resolutions impregnated by promise of doing better in different areas of our lives; education, career, family life, subliminal decisions to improve physical appearance by dropping the kilos gained over the holidays or even prior...All striving for a new and improved us.

As great a resolution the latter might be, it's not as easy. It's not easy because it requires making changes that might be considered 'uncomfortable' or go against human nature. We like to eat what we want without thinking twice about the nutritional value or the ramifications until its too late. We also don't enjoy or care much for participating in physical activity. These are not things we grew up worrying about!

Here are some simple steps that can guide you on jump starting that "get fit" resolution:

1. Get your mind right - like every other decison in your life, don't walk into it thinking its a walk in the park. Be mentally amoured for this task.

2. Identify a date - have a finite start date for this endeavor. Having a date commits you to begining something.

3. Detox - The holidays bring about a lot of mindless eating. Nyama choma, beer, mukimo, pilau good rich food is in abundance. An easy home made 'remedy' to 'clean out' the body eating a lot of vegetables, some fruit, grains, nuts and water ONLY for 24-48 hours. Detoxing improves digestion and will let the body process out all the excess garbage and toxins stored in the body.**Note: get clearing from your doctor before participating in any detox program**

4. After detox, commit to a form of physical activity. Walking outdoors if gym membership is not an otpion, or on a treadmill. Walk for 45 minutes everyday if you can or atleast 4 times a week. For those that workout, keep up with your workout regimen but aim to increase intensity or change up the routine every 3-4 weeks to avoid plateauing.

5. 2 weeks after consistently engaging in the brisk walk, eliminate simple carbohydrates like and strive to consume more complex carbohydrates, disaccharides. Simple carbohydrates are anything that has sugar/fructose in it while complex carbohydrates include items like potatoes, rice, bread, sweet potatoes etc. Note that items like bread should be consumed at a minimum, no more than 2 slices of wheat toast a day.

6. Increase the amount of vegetable intake in your diet. Vegetables should make up 50% of what is in your plate. Although consumption of vegetables is high, taking additional multivitamin tablets is recommended given that the aging process changes how the body processes and absorbs vitamins from foods.

7. Increase water in take; Drink about 2 glasses of water (16oz) every morning upon waking and sip on water throught out the day. Eliminate empty calories from sodas, juice. One cup of tea or coffee a day is not a problem as long as you drink water the rest of the time. Adding lemon to water is a great way to keep it interesting and not so bland. Herbal tea is also not bad for you.

8.Eat 5 to 6 small meals a day to keep metabolism fired up and burnign calories. Eatign 3 meals a day slows down metabolism and makes the body literally hang onto every single calories consumed which goes against losing weight.

9. Rest/Sleep - Lack of sufficient rest may cause weight gain by alerting levels of hormones that affect appetite as well as how the body processes and stores carbohydrates.

10. Support - Find friends or fmaily memebers that will support the new behavioral changes you're making to improve your life. Having people that keep your motivated and accountable will push you focused.

11. Stick with it - Consistency is key. If you have a good support system, then you have no choice but to be consistent.

The changes above are sustainable lifestyle changes that do not have an end date. To loose the weight, certain items like alcohol, processed foods etc should be almost fully eliminated and only consumed in moderation once the fitness goal is achieved. Losing weight is only half the battle, keeping the weight off is what real determines success. It requires a life over haul and commitment that involves repeating the steps above over and over for even better result or progress.

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