When we’re sat on the sofa in our sweatpants, re-runs of Friends on the TV and we’re mindlessly scrolling through our Instagram feed, the idea of getting fitter can feel a little (okay, a lot) overwhelming.
Instagram is a great resource of inspiring, brilliant women such as fitness influencer Zanna Van Dijk to follow, but when you haven’t stepped foot in a gym for weeks and your kitchen cupboards are lacking anything green, it can feel daunting, the idea of overhauling your life to emulate your favourite Instagrammer. That’s why we called on Van Dijk to reveal the seven hacks she relies on to stay healthy and keep motivated. Start with one or two and build your way up. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither are lean abs or a rounded bum, but small tweaks can over time lead to great results. Keep scrolling for Van Dijk’s seven wellness habits…
Use Small Plates and Spoons
I often find that I overeat in between meals, so using smaller crockery and cutlery really helps to avoid this. Plus, eating your yoghurt with a teaspoon makes it last longer. Winner, winner.
Get Mindful With an App
Meditation is such an important part of being healthy, as stress can affect your results. If you struggle with mindfulness and switching off, try using a guided meditation app. It is a super-easy way to get started. My favourite is Headspace, which has an introductory course of 10-minute meditations to ease you into the concept.
Buy a litre water bottle, with a built in sippy straw. Having an inbuilt straw honestly makes drinking water SO much more convenient. Plus, having a litre bottle means you can easily track your intake and aim to consume more than two litres a day depending on your activity level.
Train in the Morning
To avoid cancelling your workouts, try training early in the morning before the stress of the day kicks in. Also, by training before checking your email inbox and getting bogged down with work, the likelihood of you pulling out of your gym session reduces significantly. Plus, it energises you and sets you up for a productive day.
Don't be afraid to lift heavy weights, ladies. You wont get bulky. You will get strong, fit and toned. You will feel empowered, and you will be able to see yourself progress every single week. Weight lifting also has multiple health benefits from stronger joints to increased bone density.
Think Big Picture
Consider your day as a whole and try to keep it balanced. Try to avoid the all-or-nothing attitude and thinking that if you have a bad breakfast then you can go off the rails for the rest of the day. Get back on track right now, consider how you can eat going forward throughout the day, and try to make wiser choices.
Consider Serving Sizes
Portion control is underrated and underused. Sure, avocados are healthy, but they are a high-fat food, and fat has 9 calories per gram, so we need to watch our portions. I try to ensure that I don't overeat on more calorie-dense high-fat foods without realising it. Specifically, I try to stick to recommended portions. Instead of multiple gigantic heaped tablespoons of nut butter, I try to stick to two level tablespoons.
Don't Neglect Cardio—Get Moving!
If you're short on time, HIIT is a really quick and efficient way to get sweaty in seconds. However, my favourite form of cardio is walking. I walk everywhere. I find it helps to de-stress me, clear my mind, allow me to get outside and explore my surroundings, and it also provides me with time to plug in a good podcast. I love Emma Gannon's Control Alt Delete.