Discover superfoods and improve muscle tone and strength
Follow a six-week healthy living plan, tailored to your fitness level, and reap the benefits from day one
This third six-week plan aims to increase the intensity of your physical activities and help you learn more about which foods your body needs as fuel.
There are three programmes in this healthy living plan, each lasting six weeks and following logically on from the previous one.
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
This final six-week programme gives you the opportunity to boost your fitness, get to grips with more vigorous workouts and improve your strength and muscle tone.
You won't need to find hours and hours of spare time. Once you've gained a good foundation of stamina and endurance, the intensity of your workouts, not the duration, will increase.
Being active in your daily life is essential to your overall health and fitness. Take opportunities whenever you can to combine walking, strength and mobility exercises into your daily routine.
Over the next six weeks, you'll discover the superfoods lurking in your kitchen. Those with a sweet tooth will find comfort in our sugar challenge, while anyone fed up of five-a-day will reignite their passion for everything fruity.
Bone health is given a boost by our focus on calcium and you'll learn how to support your exercise campaign with the right type of fuel for active muscles.
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 weight.
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 often 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.