Forget The Quick Fixes And Opt For Small Sustainable Changes

This morning I heard some advertisements back to back for my two pet hates: quick fix diet plans and pain relief gels. It led me to write a Facebook post and susequently expanding on that here.

Before I go any further, one thing you should know about me is that I very rarely use the word ‘hate’ because I do believe that the majority of things in life have a place to some degree, even if I don’t agree with it personally.  It is therefore quite a statement of my passion for this subject that I have used this word at all.

Both of these products have one big flaw…they rarely work beyond the initial application! I would even question whether the massaging of the gels themselves is doing more good than the ‘active ingredient’ but this is just my opinion.

There are plenty of quick fixes in my line of work but the majority either (at best) simply don’t solve the problem and many just end up making it worse.
Jacket Potato with Tuna and Sweetcorn - Emma Downey, EVS Fitness  - Personal Trainer Southampton
Diets, for example, confuse your body with the reduced intake of food. Your metabolic rate subsequently reduces so your body can store more of what you do eat to supplement the energy you are not consuming. You get bored and tired (possibly ill), you revert to eating as you did before but with your body still in ‘diet mode’ you find yourself putting on weight quicker…sound familiar?

I believe that pain relief can have it’s place in the very short term…the odd headache, for example, if you know you’re just tired, can be easily treated so you can get through the day and you’ll be fine after a good sleep.

It’s the pain relief on a daily basis that concerns me…granted there are some situations where medication is the only answer. Unexplored and/or unexplained chronic pain, in my opinion, is not one of them.

In my experience, these complaints are usually caused by poor posture which is often due to being overweight, lack of basic joint/core stability or untreated injuries. In all of these situations, unnecessary stress is put upon the body in a way that causes some muscles and joints to work much harder than others, which leads to an adaptation of posture to compensate and ultimately in pain…here begins the pain relief.

It seems to me that the things preventing people seeking the long term, sustainable fixes are time and money…it can take several months, even years, to correct poor posture and lifestyle BUT you do feel better with each step you take.

Let me ask you…have you spent more than 6 months living with a nagging pain or trying to lose weight? In those 6 months, how much money have you spent on prescriptions/pain relief/weight loss remedies/food that gets thrown away/pricey food on the go or in town at lunchtime? This is 6 months you could have been spending time and money on little steps to a happier you…start now!

Bookmark this page, choose something new each week and within a month you would have made some small but significant changes to your lifestyle. Here are a few ideas to begin with:

  • Do some form of exercise for 30 minutes twice this week – go for a walk before work, at lunch time or as soon as you get home
  • Stop eating when you are full – either make a meal the next day with the leftovers (such as bubble and squeak) and/or use this wat of eating to help you understand your portion sizes (not watching TV while eating can help you focus on how full you are feeling)
  • Drink more fluids – drink a glass of water before you go to bed and one as soon as you wake up is a good way to begin. Here are some more tips on staying hydrated
  • Have protein with every meal (fish, meat, beans and pulses, eggs, yogurt, milk are all good sources)
  • Make your own lunch to take to work at least two out of 5 days (progress this to every day over a few weeks)
  • At the weekend plan at least two meals you will cook during the week and make sure you have all the ingredients (again, progress this over the weeks – you will find you will eventually acquire basic ingredients so your planning becomes easier)
  • Take the stairs instead of the lift (begin with one flight at a time)
  • Turn off all screens (TV, phone, laptop) at least an hour before you go to bed and allow yourself to unwind – this will help you sleep better
  • Take your time in responding to a situation – very few actually require an instant response – honest! You and others have just become used to your response rate (you may need to try this one to believe me!) – this will help lower your tolerance to stress

These are just a few to get you started but once you start making small changes, you will feel better and you will find that other changes naturally follow.

Good luck, have some fun with it and let me know how you get on!