By following these tailored diet and fitness programmes, which are based on expert advice, you can improve and protect your physical and mental health
Follow a six-week healthy living plan, tailored to your fitness level, and reap the benefits from day two
Read an explanation of what to expect in programme two of your healthy living plan. Expert, week-by-week advice will help you become more active, burn calories and tone your body.
Slipping back into 'bad' eating habits is easy. Your challenge this week is to make a list of those situations that trigger you to overindulge.
By keeping a food diary, you should be able to identify those situations that cause you to abandon your healthy eating plan.
The best way to beat these triggers is to be prepared. If you tend to overeat when you go to restaurants, for example, have a healthy snack before you go.
Here are a few more suggestions to help you:
Make small changes to your diet over time, so they become part of your life.
Use your imagination and a few good recipe books to make healthy eating enjoyable.
Don't feel guilty about having only healthy food in the house. If others want a high-calorie treat, they can go out and get it.
Be firm with family and friends who try to tempt you with a second portion.
Don't use one slip-up as an excuse to be bad for the rest of the day/week. If you've eaten too much high-fat food, balance this with fruit and some exercise.
If you're moving in the direction of a healthy diet, you're doing well.
Remember: what you do most of the time is more important than any lapses.
Don't ban treats
Excluding treats such as chocolate, sweets, crisps, cakes or alcohol from your diet will only make you want them even more. It's better to make them part of your healthier lifestyle.
Plan three treats this week and stick to them, eating healthy food the rest of the time. Balance the treat by doing something 'good', such as having a piece of fruit or going for a walk.
Be honest with yourself about the number of treats and snacks you have. If you're having problems losing weight, keep a diary of everything you eat for a week - you may be surprised by the results.
This week, you should increase the length of your three interval sessions. There's also an opportunity to gauge your progress so far.
Your aim this week is to add five minutes to your three interval sessions so they each last 40 minutes. Make sure you spend the first five minutes warming up and the last five minutes cooling down by walking at a comfortable pace. In between, you should do six cycles of three minutes' fast walking and two minutes' slow walking.
Your 45-minute steady-paced session can remain the same or you can spend the same amount of time cycling, swimming or at a fitness or dance class.
Your week could look like this:
|1 x 40-minute interval session
||1 x 40-minute interval session
||1 x 40-minute interval session
||1 x 45-minute walk|
OR other aerobic activity
This test will give you a strong indication of your aerobic fitness. All you need is a flat route of one mile (1,600 metres or four laps of a standard athletics track).
After you've warmed up, walk the course as fast as you can. Pick up the pace in the last couple of minutes if you still feel strong. Your goal is to feel tired but not exhausted.
Record your time as soon as you've finished and spend a few minutes walking slowly to cool down.
Compare your time to the chart below to assess how you fared:
|Fitness level indicated
||< 12min 42sec
||< 13min 42sec|
||12min 42sec to
||13min 42sec to |
||> 15min 38sec
||> 16min 40sec|
Don't get too caught up in what the results above say - they're only a guide (and, after all, a low score just means you have plenty of room for improvement).
Repeat the test in a few weeks to see if your speed has increased.
This exercise is great for strengthening the abdominal muscles and improving core stability.
Do it every day. Continue with the previous weeks' exercises for maximum benefits.
- Lie on your back with hands palm-down under your lower back and your legs straight up in the air.
- Pressing your back down on to your hands, slowly lower your legs. As soon as you feel your back is about to part company with your hands, bring your legs back to vertical and repeat.
Do as many as you can until your tummy muscles are no longer able to keep your back stable. It may only be half a dozen, but practise every day and you'll soon notice your muscles getting stronger.