Why does doing less make me tired?

I don’t know about you guys but I am struggling to be motivated. The less I do, the less I want to do. I find myself yawning mid-morning, struggling to sit up and watch a programme on TV to the end and just lacking in energy. Lockdown which initially seemed so cool, i.e. more time to chill and watch Netflix has become a complete drag.

I struggle to exercise and I have had to be especially strict with my routines to ensure that my home workouts don’t grind to a halt. It seems a bit of a mystery that now I am getting so much more rest, I seem more tired and I know I am not alone, many of my family and friends seem to also be struggling with this as are many people on social media. So what is going on?

Why are we more tired from doing less?

Well, the first thing is that with the current going-ons all over the world with the Covid Pandemic, many of us are mentally and emotionally exhausted. Mental and emotional exhaustion can cause us to feel drained and lacking in energy. Our thoughts affect our feelings which in turn affect our actions so if we are thinking about and focusing on all the negativity going on and let’s face it; it is very hard to avoid the negativity, then its not a surprise that our feelings are not going to be very positive which in turn means we feel demotivated, fed up and lethargic.

In addition, the less movement and motion we take, the more tired our bodies actually become. The science behind this is simply to do with blood flow. Our blood cells do the very important job of moving oxygen and other nutrients around all of the cells and tissues in our bodies. The less active we are, the more sluggish our blood circulation will be and inherently, it follows that we will not be getting delivery of oxygen and nutrients as fluidly as when we are more active. This is why when we spend all day sitting on the couch, it seems extremely difficult to get up to do even the smallest task. In addition, many of us are struggling to sleep with all the additional worries about jobs, finances and health and of course, less sleep means more tiredness.

All is not lost though, there are ways of combating this or at least of minimising the effect of the lockdown lethargy. The first and most obvious thing is to move more. Yes, we may not feel like doing it but if we can force ourselves to go for a walk, go outside for some fresh air, do some exercise be it gentle movements, some weight training or yoga then we will definitely feel better and if none of that appeals, put on your favourite song and dance around the room!. I definitely feel much more energised and more motivated once I have completed either my workout or my walk for the day.

To make this easier try to develop some sort of routine for your daily movement. I try to do a workout or a walk each day through the week and take Sunday off as a rest day. Once you’ve committed to a routine, its much easier to just get up and do it. If you can find a workout buddy to help you be more accountable then that will also help you to stay on track.

The final thing is to do some work around your thoughts. if you find yourself feeling tired and lethargic, as well as adding some movement into your day, spend some time analysing your thoughts. If you find you are mainly focusing on negative thoughts then try to change that narrative and remind yourself of things to be thankful for even in these difficult times. Replace what if negatives with what if positives e.g. If you have a thought such as “what if I cannot find another job” then replace it with “what if I find a better job than what I had before ” and try to ground yourself by reminding yourself that you are safe and you are okay currently as you are even if things are hard.

I hope this helps you. Do send me a message and let me know what helps you cope during these difficult times.

Tayo xoxo

Why is weight loss so hard?

Let’s talk about losing weight and why so many people struggle to lose weight even with the best intentions.

Having worked in fitness for some time and trained many women, I have had the benefit of being part of many weight loss journeys. What I have learnt from those experiences is that there is only one thing that separates those that succeed and those that fail and you will be surprised to hear what that difference is because when I tell people this they usually are genuinely surprised.

What most people expect me to talk about is how much food people consumed, how much money they spent on coaching or how much exercise they did to attain their weight loss goal. However, the measure of success for weight loss, while it can be impacted greatly by those things is not determined by that.

The most important sign of success at a weight loss goal or any other goal for that matter is consistency.

Consistency is the single most important factor that determines whether you will be able to lose weight and also maintain that weight loss over a long period of time and the reason why weight loss is actually more difficult than if feels it should be is because the act of being consistent at anything is not easy.

When we look at weight loss of itself and when I speak to prospective clients, it is clear most people are aware fundamentally of what they need to do, which is to eat less, make better food choices i.e. choose less processed and healthier meals, and move more. However, despite knowing what they should do, most people struggle to do it.

Usually, we will feel that motivation is what we need, We need to be motivated to eat properly, to do more exercise and so on but motivation in itself is a difficult thing to manage and the truth is that motivation is not always going to show up when we require it to.

Let’s say you’ve decided to lose weight, you work with a trainer or a coach who has given you the information you need. You know how much food you should be eating, what type of food, you have an exercise plan and so on. Therefore in theory, you have everything you need to achieve your goal. All you need to do is to want to do it.

For many of us motivation is not something we can demand on order, it isn’t something that can be called upon when we like and a lot of the time, it doesn’t show up when we need it the most. You may be motivated in the beginning to start the weight loss because you want to look good, be a smaller size or look better in clothes or have more confidence and so on and this may spur you on the first week and even the first month or two.

However, there will come a day when you wake up and you do not feel like getting up early to go and exercise or when you feel like eating a Pizza even though you food plan says you are only allowed a salad. You may be out with friends and your willpower slips, you order one drink, then another and before you know it, you’ve drunk your calories for one day in just one sitting. On these sort of days, what happens is that motivation is lacking or absent and this is a reality for everyone, that motivation is not always going to be there every time we need it. There will be days when you are feeling off, or have had a bad day at work, an argument with a friend or have to take work home and you just will not feel up to sticking to your diet or exercise plan.

It is for this reason, that I always advise clients to remember that motivation will not always be there and this is why the act of consistency and having a routine and sticking to it will serve you better in the long run.

Even though I am a fitness addict and I love exercising, there are days I definitely do not feel like it but because I have a routine, I do not allow myself too much time to think about it. I just override the negative voice and I get on with my routine. A routine will serve you well in the long run. Once you have a routine, stick to it like glue. Yes there will be days when this will be harder than normal, but remember that the roadmap of your success is paved by the act of you showing up day after day, week after week, month after month and for life.

In saying this, I want you to accept that some days you will fail at it and won’t do it, there are days when you feel unwell, mentally or physically or when life throws you other problems that take priority over exercise. If that happens, please do not become discouraged or lose heart, just jump back into it when you are ready. Many clients get thrown off when they have had a few bad days of eating and feel like this will totally ruin everything. Remember just as eating a salad for one day will not make you healthy, eating pizza, cake, biscuits etc etc for one day or more will not make you fat. Even if you fall off the wagon for more than one day, never give up, always keep trying, keep showing up.

This is why weight loss must be viewed as a lifestyle change. It is not something you do for a few months then return to your normal habits. If you do that, you are right back where you started very quickly. You have to make the decision that this goal is something you want to achieve not just in the short term but for the long term too. Once you have this mindset, it is easier to overlook any setbacks especially when you know you are in this for the long run.

So if consistency is the key, how can we improve our consistency?

Here are some ideas below but if you need that additional push then a coach or a trainer might be able to give you the extra kick that you need on those days when you do not feel particularly motivated.

If you need some encouragement or just want to chat, feel free to get in touch.

Tayo xoxo

improving consistency:

-What is your motivation? try to identify a great reason for doing this e.g. being healthier, able to play with my kids, run a marathon etc..

Find activities you enjoy to help you get to your weight loss goal quicker

-Find a weight loss buddy, doing it with someone means you have someone in your corner when the going gets tough

Have a routine and stick to it

-Pay for it, we are more likely to show up when we have invested in something

Have small milestones along the way so you can measure how far you’ve come.

-Regularly check your progress and give yourself a pat on the back and a small reward when you hit milestones

How do I lose menopausal belly fat?

One of the most common questions I get asked as a fitness and wellness coach is “How do I get rid of my belly fat”?

This is not just something that happens to menopausal women, it happens to a lot of men and women especially in middle age but as we know, menopause in particular makes women more prone to belly fat. So what can we do to tackle this?

  • The first step is acknowledging there is an issue and that you are ready and willing to do something about it. Once you have done that, you then need to start defining how you are going to go about it.
  • It is important to identify why this is important to you and why it matters so much. Identify your “why” and make sure it really resonates with you. Just wanting to lose your flab is not enough, you must be ready to put in the work and consistency required. This is why having a strong “Why” is important as this is what keeps you going when motivation is low.
  • Exercise is important but surprisingly it is not the most important thing, your diet and nutrition is equally, if not more important. Watch what you eat, Reduce processed foods that are high in sugar and bad fats and also your general food intake should match your body’s needs. Include healthy whole foods such as fruits, vegetables and healthy sources of protein and carbohydrates.
  • Exercise plays an important role but the type of exercise is also important. You need a balance of HIIT, cardio and core, with some resistance training. Perhaps that sounds like a lot but there are many ways to create an exercise regime that includes a bit of everything you need. For e.g. you could make up a crude HIIT workout that encompasses cardio and resistance training e.g. running on the spot and squats. HIIT workouts can also seem challenging but again it is quite easy to devise a basic HIIT session e.g. doing jumping jacks for 30 seconds, 30 second rest, 30 seconds of squats is a basic example. You can repeat this several times for maximum effect and you could also add in some other exercises. The main aim with HIIT is to combine high intensity with low intensity so bear this in mind when creating your workouts.
  • Lifestyle changes are also quite important and there are a number of adjustments that can greatly influence how quickly you see results. E.g. Getting good quality sleep is very important, drinking at least 1 litre of water daily, ideally 2litres and aiming to reduce stress. These elements all affect your hormonal balance, this is of more importance with perimenopausal/menopausal women as our hormones are all over the place, so we must do all we can to keep them in check.

So let’s look at the above points in more detail. What does it mean to identify your “Why”? Knowing why you want to do something and having a strong and convincing reason in your mind is going to be important when the going gets hard. Losing any type of weight takes determination, persistence and patience. If your why is not strong enough you will give up quite easily. A good example of a “why” is to ensure that you do not put yourself at risk for more serious illnesses such as diabetes. This is one example, yours can be anything as long as it is convincing enough to keep you on track

Nutrition is key. Without good nutrition, losing belly fat naturally is impossible. You cannot out train a bad diet is a very popular saying and it is absolutely right. Even if you do everything else right, a bad diet will curtail your attempts and definitely slow you down. You should avoid sugar, fatty and processed foods. Remember there are good fats and bad fats so good fats such as nuts and avocado are good. Avoid fizzy and sugary drinks, pies, cakes and pastries especially if they are not home made. Include more vegetables, fruits and healthy sources of proteins and carbohydrates. I will be covering nutrition in more detail in a separate post so stay tuned!!!!

A good mix of exercise styles as mentioned above is very important to kick start our metabolism which has generally slowed down and to help shift stubborn fat. In particular, HIIT (high interval intensity training) has been shown to burn more calories in a shorter time and even after you stop exercising, you continue burning calories for a short while after. HIIT basically means an intense burst of exercise followed by a short rest and repeated several times. These could be a mix of resistance training and cardiovascular for maximum results e.g run for 1 min rest for 30 seconds then run for 1 min, and repeat several times. This will get your heartrate up and get your body moving. Please remember as with all new exercise regimes to consult your doctor before taking up any form of exercise.

Sleep, good quality sleep is vital. When we sleep, our body rests, repairs and regenerates itself. It is more important to get good quality of sleep even if its not for a long time than to be in bed for a longer length of time with broken sleep. So, 5 hours of deep sleep is better than 8 hours of broken and restless sleep. Water as mentioned is also vital as it helps to regulate and balance your hormones and it improves your circulation, finally avoiding stress is important if we want to keep our hormones level. Stressful situations can cause our bodies to produce a hormone called cortisol which when it is produced at the right time and in the right quantities is actually a very useful and important hormone. However, if we are constantly stressed, our bodies may over produce this hormone and when it is produced excessively and not actually for the right reasons it can actually cause damage to the way our body functions. Cortisol can increase glucose (sugar) in the blood and this can actually cause you to store more fat around the belly area. In addition, it does have a lot of other negative effects on the body when produced in excess.

Finally, there is a common misconception that you can just have exercises that specifically target the stomach such as crunches and this will get rid of belly fat. This is totally untrue. While we do have exercises that are designed to work on the stomach and strengthen the core, these on their own will not get rid of belly fat. Remember belly fat, like any other fat is excess fat which needs to be burned off. You cant tell your body where to burn its fat from so what you essentially have to do is work on generally fat loss and add in the core and stomach exercises and as the fat starts to be burnt off through all your efforts, excess fat from your tummy will be included in that. I hope that makes sense but if you have any questions, feel free to send me an email.