Follow our six-week healthy living plan, tailored to your fitness level, and reap the benefits from day one
Read an explanation of what to expect in programme two of your healthy living plan.
Follow the week-by-week advice given by our experts and in six weeks you'll discover how being more active burns calories and tones your body.
There are three programmes in this healthy living plan, each lasting six weeks and following on logically from the
The initial assessment will have indicated the right starting point for you, so no matter how active or inactive you are, or what you eat, you'll be making progress from day one.
Each week, you have a diet and exercise challenge to complete.
The main form of activity throughout the three programmes is walking because:
It provides many of the same benefits as more vigorous forms of exercise, but with less chance of injury It fits into any lifestyle, so you're more likely to do it regularly and stick with it It doesn't require special equipment, apart from a pair of supportive shoes You don't need special facilities You can combine it with other activities It's easy to progress, by increasing pace or distance and adding hills The second programme is all about getting accustomed to working harder for longer.
You'll start to address muscle tone and strength through some simple everyday exercises. But you won't need to find hours of spare time to make these advances. Once you have a good foundation of stamina and endurance you'll increase the intensity, not the duration, of your workouts.
During this programme, you'll notice your fitness, energy and mental focus improve. The regular routine will provide you with a break from daily stress and anxiety, and the intensity and duration of your workouts will burn calories and tone your body.
Being active in general, not just in structured workouts, is essential to your overall fitness, spinal health and weight loss. Take opportunities whenever you can to combine walking, strength and mobility exercises into your daily routine.
Over the six weeks of this programme, you'll build on your knowledge of nutrition. You'll discover why all fats aren't equal and how to include enough fibre and fluid in your diet.
The challenges will help you make wise choices in the supermarket and when ordering takeaways, and test your ability to stick to your new eating pattern despite temptations at work and in the home. Finally, you'll learn which types of fruit offer the best protection against disease and ageing.
Body weight depends on a balance between 'calories in' and 'calories out'. Calories are another name for the energy content of food and drinks.
Weight increases when the calories we consume are surplus to needs, when we burn insufficient calories through physical activity, or a combination of the two. Weight decreases when we consume fewer calories and increase the amount of time spent active.
Overall, daily calories are the most important factor in weight control. That means it's still possible to gain weight on healthy foods if you're eating too much and exercising too little. However, the best way of reducing weight is by targeting high-fat foods and alcohol because these don't satisfy the appetite and it's easy to consume too much.
If that approach fails, the next stage is to reduce portion sizes. Heavier people get used to eating large portions, so this needs to be tackled slowly over time to ensure a steady decline in
In the past, 1,000-calorie diets were the backbone of weight control, but these were hard to stick to. Nowadays, this has changed to modest calorie reduction. Dieticians work this out by taking 500 to 600 calories off your usual daily intake. See the table below for ideas on how this can be done.
A quick method for working out a good calorie target for weight loss is to take 600 calories off the recommended energy intake for men and women. This gives a target of 1,900 calories for men and 1,300 calories for women.
How to shave off 600 calories
|Baked potato instead of chips
|No mayonnaise in your sandwich
|Low-fat spread instead of butter
|One less glass of wine or half pint of beer in the pub
|An apple instead of a slice of cheese
|Grill meat instead of frying
With this type of diet, you should expect to lose 1lb (0.5kg) a week. Each pound of weight needs a calorie deficit of 3,500 calories. This is why progress can be slower than you'd like, but steady weight loss is more sustainable.
Of course, if you aren't overweight, it's important to maintain calories at the recommended level of 2,500 for men and 1,900 for women.