Tom Kerridge’s top tips for keeping up your diet motivation
Chef Tom Kerridge previously lost 12 stone, but like many of us he found that over time the weight started to creep back on. Which is why in Lose Weight and Get Fit he, along with 11 volunteers from his home town of Gloucester, embarks on a two-month commitment to improve his health and lose weight in the process.
The idea is that, rather than going on a restrictive diet or setting unrealistic exercise expectations, they form healthy relationships with food and exercise that will become lifelong habits. But they know that maintaining focus and keeping the routines in place will be challenging.
So, if you’re trying to improve your diet and fitness but struggling with motivation, try these tips from Tom and his mate and personal trainer Adam Peacock.
Plan your meals
“Menu plan at the beginning of the week. Life is so much easier when you know what you should be cooking.”
Go to the supermarket with a full stomach
“Don’t do your weekly shop when you’re hungry. Buy the right choices; don’t fall into hunger-temptation.”
Don’t get hungry
“If you eat healthily and sensibly, three meals a day, you’ll find yourself on the correct path.”
Eyes on the prize
Don’t be put off by what seems to be slow progress. “Remember why you are trying to lose weight and what you are trying to achieve. Think of it as a long-term plan that has short-term gains. Little-by-little is a lot more sustainable.”
“If you’re making one lot of something, do a load more of it. It’s so much easier to have a midweek meal ready to get out of the freezer.”
Get friends involved
“When it’s cold and raining, that run you promised you’d go on might start to feel like a chore rather than something invigorating. Ask friends who’s up for doing some exercise together. By making it a social occasion you’ll be less likely to cancel at the last minute, because you won’t want to let others down – and you’ll find a type of exercise that’s enjoyable to you all.”
Ask yourself why things have gone off the boil
“Could too much caffeine, lack of sleep or poor hydration be causing you motivation issues? If so, look at improving these areas of your life.”
Do short bursts of exercise
“Don’t put unnecessary pressure on yourself or feel you have to find multiple hours in a day to exercise. This can mess with your head and lead to missed workouts when ‘life stuff’ gets in the way. If you face time constraints, do mini accessory workouts at home, such as mobility work or body weight resistance exercises. You needn’t spend a huge amount of time doing them, but you’ll feel better for having done something and they’ll ultimately improve the performance of your chosen endeavours.”
Ask for help
“Speak to your partner, or a friend or family member, about how you’re struggling and ask them if they’d mind helping you get back on track. Sometimes all we need are a few words of encouragement or a compliment or two.”
Review your goals
“More often than not we expect too much too soon, which can leave us feeling demoralised when thing don’t go to plan. Apply the ‘SMART goal’ principle when selecting a target; you’re more likely to succeed if you do:
Specific – concentrate on one clearly defined thing at a time.
Measurable – ensure you have a sound means of tracking any changes to your fitness routine.
Achievable – your goal must be plausible for it to succeed.
Realistic – does your current lifestyle allow for “it” to happen?
Timely – have a completion date in mind as this helps with focus.
Make sure you’re eating enough
“Without sufficient fuel, your mind and body won’t perform optimally and you’ll have little or no desire to exercise.“
Get a playlist
“Whether it’s listening to the Frozen soundtrack or watching the training montage from Rocky IV – find something that helps motivate and inspire you and play it regularly.”
Lose the haters
“Limiting negativity in your life can work wonders for your self-esteem.”
Combine getting fit with raising money for charity
“Agreeing to raise money for a worthy cause can help provide the impetus for training – it will give your workouts a real sense of purpose.”
“We’ve all got people we really should speak to but haven’t got around to giving a call, so kill two birds with one stone by ringing them from your mobile and going for a walk. This simple trick gets you back into being active and, if done after a meal, can dramatically improve insulin sensitivity and reduce blood sugars.”
Do something silly
“While you’re watching your favourite soap with the family, each choose a character and get up and do ten squats every time your’s pops up on screen. Alternatively, write down a few activities or classes you’ve always fancied doing but never dared, fold them up, pop them in a mug and pick one. Think outside the box!”
Keep bottles of spices
“Chilli, paprika, cumin and coriander are all good. Seasonings can make recipes come alive, they’re not that expensive, and you can keep (and use) them over time. They’re pretty much zero calories too.”
Stock up on pre-cooked rice
“It’s already portioned, so you know how many calories are in it – it even saves on washing up. It’s a convenience food that really does work.”
Choose cottage cheese
“It feels like a treat and allows you to get that cheesy taste with a lot less calories.”
Buy 0 percent fat Greek yoghurt
“Similar to cottage cheese, except you can make dessert with this. It’s thick, rich and creamy. It’s a great way to get a luxury texture without the calories.”
Choose crumbly stock cubes and readymade stocks like miso
“Things that give a wonderful umami, salty kick, and have taste hints of naughty takeaways but without the guilt.”
You’re not alone!
If you’re struggling with motivation, you’re not the only one! Lots of people find it difficult, including Tom and Adam. Don’t give yourself a hard time about the odd slip-up, you’re only human!
“Of course I sometimes struggle with motivation, especially at this time of year”, says Adam. “When you feel like that, just try to get a 10–15-minute walk in to get some sunlight. Motivation can be a real struggle, so you have to use all the tricks you can to get yourself moving.”
Tom agrees: “I found myself in the same position as most 46-year-olds – the recognition that you need to try and stay fit and healthy while trying not to eat everything in front of you. It’s very easy to get caught up in life, or to not go to the gym, but you have to remind yourself why you’re doing it and remember you’re in a better state mentally and physically for those around you.”
Lose Weight and Get Fit with Tom Kerridge is on BBC Two on Wednesdays at 8.30pm, or watch it on BBC iPlayer.