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Creating an activity plan for weight loss

How to plan daily activity when starting a weight loss programme.

When starting a PrivateDoc weight loss treatment, we encourage our patients to partake in daily activity to help get the most from their treatment and make healthy, lasting lifestyle changes that will support their treatment.

When starting a treatment plan it can be easy to overlook your activity levels, but it's important to focus on making simple changes that you can maintain to help bring up your overall energy expenditure & get the most from your treatment.

This can be as simple as taking the stairs instead of the lift or walking instead of driving. NHS guidelines recommend "Adults should do some type of physical activity every day. Exercise just once or twice a week can reduce the risk of heart disease or stroke."

What counts as activity?

Activity is anything that gets your heart rate up and your body moving. It can be as simple as cleaning the house or as intense as salsa! Here are some examples;

  • Brisk walking
  • Swimming
  • Riding a bike
  • Dancing
  • Tennis
  • Pushing a lawn mower
  • Hiking
  • Rollerblading
  • Vigorous cleaning
  • Walking the dog
  • Pushing a pram

Remember there's no right or wrong activity - as long as you get your body moving you're on the right track! Whether that's dancing around your living room or walking your dog, the key is to find an activity you enjoy and stick with it!

How do I add activity into my routine?

We suggest you map out a week's worth of activity in advance, which we find helps our patients stick to a plan. Every day write down an activity which you plan to do for 30 minutes, you can even book a time slot with yourself or add it to a calendar like you would for a meeting. What you're effectively doing is trying to make a habit out of allocating time for yourself to exercise, which with our busy lifestyles, can be really hard to find.

Mapping out the time in your calendar or diary helps prevent pushing your activity back until later - or missing it altogether! We know it's hard but even if you struggle to find a full 30 minutes, plotting out some activity is certainly better than none and will all help increase your overall output.

Physical exercise is a key part of your weight-management treatment and will help you reach your weight loss goals. We know getting started can be one of the hardest parts… but remember it doesn't have to be something you don't like. There are a lot of activities to choose from, and you may even find a new hobby, see some new sights or make some new friends along the way! If you're struggling for time, remember something is always better than nothing - even 10 minutes of activity can make a difference to your weight loss goals.

Try to spend less time seated

This can be a tough one, as the majority of us live increasingly sedentary lifestyles... Driving to work, sitting at a desk, chilling in front of the TV, it all adds up. The average person in the UK actually spends a total of 9.5 hours a day sedentary! One of the ways we encourage our patients to be more active is to practice EHOH, which stands for, every hour on the hour.

Every hour on the hour, try standing up, having a stretch and moving around before returning to sitting or whatever you were doing. It's only a small tweak to your routine but over the course of a week these small tweaks add up!

Make your activity become a habit

According to a 2009 study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology, it takes 18 to 254 days for a person to form a new habit. The study also concluded that, on average, it takes 66 days for a new behavior to become automatic. With that in mind, try to keep consistent with your activity, as after just two months it'll become a habit. Once your increase in activity becomes part of your routine you'll find it much easier to stick to as your lifestyle change is now more likely to last.

What's the difference between aerobic activity & resistance training?

Whilst we encourage all increases in activity, ideally we would suggest mixing in cardio-based training with resistance training. 'Cardio' training or aerobic training (activities where we move our bodies and elevate our heart rate) work on improving or maintaining our cardiovascular health, improving fitness levels and strengthening the heart. Resistance training is where we add weight (resistance) into the equation, such as weight training. Here we improve our muscular and skeletal health as well as burning calories which helps our overall energy expenditure. For optimum health it's best to combine a mixture of these two forms of training into your routine.

I've never exercised before, how do I start?

When starting a new exercise programme it's important not to go in to ease yourself in to avoid injury. Start with an amount of time you feel comfortable with - it can be as little as 10 minutes; then build yourself up adding 5-10 minutes per day. If you have specific medical concerns speak with your GP or if you're looking for more detailed training sessions you could consider going to a personal trainer.

Listen to your body when exercising - rest if you need to and always cool off and stretch! A fun way to keep track is to link your fitness device to our app, that way you can let us know how much activity you're doing and we can help keep you on track.

If you find yourself unsure at any stage, remember we are here to help. You can check in at any time with our customer services team who will point you in the right direction or refer you back to your prescriber for further advice.

The PrivateDoc Sirtfood Diet Guide

If you'd like further dietary advice from us, why not try the PrivateDoc Sirtfood diet guide.

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Did you know?

Over 40% of the population has tried to lose weight at some point in the last 5 years – so you’re certainly not alone