The festive season is laden with activity most of which is characterized by indulgence.
With a lot of invitations to year end functions, weddings and the elaborate Christmas lunches planned, it is no surprise that the ‘hot bodies’ worked hard to be gained throughout the year will be lost as calories pile up.
“We work so hard to get fit and look good for the festive season, only to undo it all in a matter of weeks,” says fitness enthusiast Boipelo Mphele.
“Over indulging makes it much harder to bounce back when the holiday season comes to an end. Instead of progressing from where you left off, you sometimes find yourself four steps back. One would be generally weaker, heavier with less stamina and endurance. Festive is not a free pass to do whatever, whenever. Stay mindful and focused on your progress and your goals,” she says.
Mphele says it’s not really about avoiding food and shunning away from festive treats, but rather controlling portions and making informed decisions.
“For example instead of feasting on a plate piled up with pap, braai meats and countless other food, opt for a lean cut of meat without the fatty trim that hasn’t been fried or buttered. Eat “clean” salads/ veggies and brown grains; use vinegar instead of dressing or fat free/ light options (if any at all). Reduce your portions to much smaller meals spread out throughout the day. Most importantly be mindful of your salt and sugar intake.”
Recently announced as the first female ambassador for USN Botswana (Ultimate Sports Nutrition), the free spirited and adventurous 32- year old Mochudi born; Mphele speaks passionately about “Journey to Healthy”.
Mphele says her discovery to getting fit opened a whole new world for her. Reading this post might inspire you to do the same, too. “I got healthy, I found purpose, but most of all I found my passion.
Through my journey I saw an opportunity to inspire and motivate others to start their own journeys and take control of their lives.
This inspired the concept of a fitness challenge dubbed The Mountain View Weight Loss Challenge,that saw participants compete in a “Biggest Loser” type of setup.
Mphele says she was plagued by health issues throughout her life and needed to address the distress.
“In recent years I saw my condition worsen and my size ballooning uncontrollably. I weighed about 90kg at my heaviest. I decided to take back control and get healthy. My journey started in 2015, I took stock of what I ate, hit the gym and hit the weights. I’m determined and focused on making sustainable lifestyle changes long term and seeing what more my body is capable of.”
The self proclaimed creative junkie with a BA in Visual Communications and an Associate Degree in Business Administration and Marketing is also a certified masseuse who enjoys photography, cooking and baking.
“The kitchen is my favorite room in the house, complimented by traveling and fitness.
Mphele warns of being impatient and over stretching one’s body.
“People always expect change to happen instantly. You basically have to re-learn and re-train your body and mind and get rid of the negative habits we’ve grown so accustomed to. Strive for progress, not perfection – focus on small goals here and now instead of the big result down the line. I like to challenge myself outside of my comfort zone and love to explore and discover new things and this rings true for many people if they give it a go.”
She goes on to say; “Exercise is about moving your body in any way possible, everyday.
It means finding your fit – whether you’re in the gym, pounding the streets with your running shoes or blazing the trails on a mountain bike, its important to go. Living a healthy lifestyle also means being conscious of your food choices and holding yourself accountable for what you eat.”
How then does one avoid the festive treats?
“Dessert – if you must – is a treat not a meal, nothing bigger than a closed fist. Try a fresh fruit salad and plain/ Greek yoghurt; dried fruits & nuts; sorbet instead of icecream, dark chocolate (70% or more) in place of regular chocolate. It’s all about choices”.
Mphele also gave advice on how to start the journey to fitness in the new year and what to invest in?
• First and foremost, start. The longer you put off your health and fitness goals the less likely you are to actually get them going as the year kicks into full swing and we get busy again.
Start slow – you need to ease your body back into the groove of things to avoid injury
• Set a schedule and stick to it. Whether you’re outdoors or in the gym make a plan, commit to it and to yourself.
Invest in a good pair of workout shoes and a fitness tracker to monitor your progress and keep you on track.
• Don’t buy equipment right away as this will more often than not turn into another piece of household furniture over time.
The excuses are plentiful, rather get out of the house and experiment with a number of different activities until you find your fit.
Get the whole family on board.
• Be consistent. A lot of us get hooked on the resolutions bandwagon but after the New Year buzz passes we quit.
Results are obtained through consistent hard work and perseverance.
The time will pass regardless of what you do, so do something worthwhile and get healthy.