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Up until now fashion websites, editorials and general media messages have told us that being thin or ‘skinny’ is beautiful, and that this is what one needs to aspire towards in order to fit the ‘beautiful’ mould. However what many, impressionable youngsters fail to realise is that this is often unrealistic, in most cases absolutely unhealthy and consistently a source of much unhappiness. The good news? This is all changing…. Being healthy and fit is now the new ‘skinny’.

1. Step off that scale
We have all had that experience when you step on that bathroom scale and after all your blood, sweat and tears at the gym you have not lost but instead gained weight. You start to feel disheartened and frustrated. Well don’t! When we exercise the body starts to build muscle which is a good thing, because it’s important to know that gaining weight through exercise is due to the fact that muscles weigh more than fat. So if you are exercising you are burning off the lighter fat and increasing the heavier muscle. This is preferable and a healthier state to be in, because not only are you building the more attractive lean muscle, that muscle also needs energy to work, thus at rest you burn more calories. Rather judge your process by tracking your centimetres, measuring yourself with a soft tape measure at specific points like the waist, hip, biceps and thighs, but make sure you measure at the same point each time. Another monitoring method which is the easiest to see how toned you are getting is by how your clothes fit, especially that one pair of very unforgiving jeans.

2. Run it off
All you do at gym is tons of stomach crunches yet you still have that belly bulge… Don’t get us wrong, crunches are good for you but don’t forget you need your cardio exercise with any weight and toning exercises too. It is recommended to do cardio for more than 20 minutes as this raises your heart rate to an optimal level for fat burning. Cardio can be anything from running, cycling, spinning, dancing, playing sport etc.

3. Don’t forget carbs
We can often focus too much on proteins during exercise that we forget about our main fuel source… carbohydrates. Tucked away in starchy foods like bread, rice, potatoes and grains are the powerhouses for the body. Carbs are needed to build up energy stores used during exercise. But be careful, we want to slim down too so keep to the good wholegrain, low GI, brown starches like brown rice and whole-wheat bread that are higher in fibre and avoid the refined white starches like cakes, biscuits and white bread. FUTURELIFE® ZERO is a great example of a low GI, high fibre meal that’s easy to include in a diet conducive to weight management.

4. Try something new
You’ve realised your New Years’ resolution to exercise at 5am every morning is clearly not happening, so try motivating yourself with a new exciting form of exercise. Go visit pilates, yoga, spinning, or zumba classes at gym, you’ll be having fun with friends so you may not even realise you breaking a sweat. How about signing up at the local sports grounds and give a go at action cricket, soccer, or netball, touch rugby, squash and others. Enjoy the beautiful South African weather and even go for a run, cycle or row under the sun. Trying any of these and others will boost your eagerness and make toning up seem so much more exciting and bearable.

5. Jump start your metabolism
Your metabolism is how quickly and how well your body processes the food once it enters your stomach. The quicker your metabolism is, the quicker you break down your food and absorb it to be used by your body. Naturally we want it working well and fast. A great way to jumpstart your metabolism is by eating breakfast within the first two hours of waking up and any of our FUTURELIFE® products will be a great option here. Eating small meals and snacks regularly also help increase your metabolism as it ensures it is constantly working. Try snacking on things like fruit, small yoghurts and FUTURELIFE® High Protein and High Protein LITE SmartBars.

Combining exercise and healthy eating has been found to be the most effective way of managing weight for a sustained period of time as well as reducing many lifestyle disease risk factors. So step off that scale, eat breakfast, run it off, try some new exercises and still remember to eat those healthy wholegrain carbs in moderation because sure enough it will send you on your way to slimming down, toning up and looking healthy.

American Heart Association.

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