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The 5:2 Diet

Recession Buster - fitness and diet plan

For a small investment of your time, you will profit with a big return in improved health

During the recession, don't forget to take care of your 'non' financial portfolio. When times become difficult, its easy to let your health and fitness take a back seat. But, put a positive spin on the recession and take the opportunity to get back to basics. A healthy diet doesn't have to cost a lot and a great fitness program, which incorporates walking will cost you nothing!

No gym fees, no diet club fees, just an easy walking program combined with a good diet. Most women want an easy, lifestyle-friendly way of keeping themselves fit, healthy and feeling great. In a recession, they don't want to spend hard-earned cash on gym memberships they rarely use or to sign up for restrictive slimming plans that are not sustainable. 

Here is an easy-to-follow healthy living plan that combines two weeks of tasty, healthy recipes with the most basic and effective exercise of all - walking.

Let's take a look at food first

Eating well is vital for good health and will give you the energy you need for mental function and exercise. Planning is important to both the food and exercise elements of this program. In order to make this work for you, use your natural multi tasking skills to weave this into your current daily schedule.

Before you stock up on extra treats, take heed. Unless you're about to embark on some serious training for a triathlon, getting active is not a license to consume extra cakes and chocolate!  If you want to lose weight or maintain your weight, the quantity and quality of the food you eat is all important. A good diet plan will give you around 1,600-1,800 calories a day. For most women this combined with a good walking regime should result in a modest weight loss.

To start with, take a gentle approach to your healthier eating and try not to be obsessed with calories. Make changes that are realistic and sustainable for you.

The well tested balanced diet, that you learnt about in home economics, is the way to go.  Base your meals around different types of carbohydrates and include protein, fruits and vegetables, and dairy. The idea is to make healthy eating a flexible mix and match regime that fits into your everyday life.

Over restricting food will make you feel tired and unable to enjoy your walking. A good idea, is to adopt the 80:20 rule: follow the eating plan 80% of the time and 20% of the time you can enjoy a treat now and again. This has shown to work well with women.

You can download your free Recession Buster two week menu plan from the link at the foot of the page

Let's take a look at walking

Contrary to popular belief, walking won't increase your appetite and make you eat more. In fact, it should help you stick to your healthy eating plan, because research shows that in the hours after exercising your appetite actually decreases.

This is due to your body producing an increased number of hormones. These send ‘full' signals to the brain. Your metabolic rate remains elevated for a short time after each period of brisk walking, so you'll continue to burn calories even when you stop.

If you walk briskly for half an hour most days of the week, you should lose a decent amount of weight over a year. Make this habitual and you have a healthy routine for life. Exercising out of doors, in  a green area has been shown to be instantly uplifting to the spirit and will improve your feelings of self esteem.  This is part of the worth circle we have referred to before.

Research has proven that the health benefits from walking are considerable. Reducing the chance of a wide range of diseases including heart disease, bowel disease and diabetes and is also reported to cut the risk of stroke and some types of cancers.

Research has also shown that a moderate activity like walking is  known to assist and is successful in the treatment of depression. Brisk walking will burn the same number of calories per mile or kilometre, as running.

As women it is often difficult to find the time to catch up with friends. This is an ideal activity to do with friends - you will be able to spend time together whilst you keep fit.  Take the opportunity, where possible to occasionally walk your children to school instead of driving them. This will not only keep you and the children fit, but it also will give you the opportunity to spend some stress free time with them.

Try signing  up for a charity walk and get yourself in training now. Contact your favourite charity to find out about fundraising walks. Join a walking group or even start your own. It's always easier to stay motivated when other people are involved, too.

The Exercise

Week One

Your aim: To walk for at least 30 minutes every day in addition to your normal daily activity. Don't worry how far you walk at this stage - it's the time rather than distance that's important. Walk slowly for the first few minutes to warm up, gradually increasing your pace. Walk briskly for the next 20 minutes and slow down for the final few minutes to cool down. Try to rope in one of your friends. It makes it more fun and you can encourage each other to stick to it.

Be aware of your walking technique - your heel should hit the ground first, then you should roll through the step from heel to toe and push off with your toes.

To find your optimum pace, check yourself using the talk test. You should be breathing faster then normal and feel warm, but still be able to talk. If you can't talk and walk, slow down. If 30 minutes feels like too much all in one go, or you can't find the time, split it into two walks of 15 minutes. Short bouts of walking are just as effective at  boosting your overall fitness as longer ones.

Week two

Your aim: To increase your walking time to 40 minutes on three days of the week. If you can easily walk briskly for 30 minutes, add another 10 minutes (or more if you can manage it and have the time) to three of your walks. By the end of week one you should already feel fitter.

Make conscious attempts to build more walking into your everyday routine, even if it's only a few minutes here and there. Leave the car at home for short journey; deliver messages by hand at work rather than phoning or emailing; walk to your local newsagents to get your paper or milk, instead of buying it at the supermarket. Even walking around rather than sitting, while talking on the phone, will burn a few extra calories!

Week Three

Your aim: To increase your walking time to 40 minutes every day of the week and include more challenging walks.

If you feel your fitness has increased sufficiently, increase your pace for a five-minute section of the walk. Mentally mark out your local walking route and increase your pace between landmarks for a short time. This will give you the same effect as interval training on a tread mill.

Explore walks a bit further afield, even if it's only at the weekend. Take the opportunity to notice what's around you - lots of walkers enthuse about how much there is to see when they walk. On your walk you will spot birds, flowers and people you never notice from the car.

Week four

Your aim: To walk for 40 minutes each weekday and do more challenging one-hour walks at the weekend.

Now increase your pace for two five-minute sections of your walk - longer if you can. Find out information on nature trails or areas of outstanding beauty or contact some of the walking organisations in your area. Make the weekend walks part of a friends or family outing.

Find walks that include hills. Walking uphill will burn around a third more calories than on the flat and help strengthen bones and muscles. Vary the terrain - walking on soft surfaces like sand, grass or mud takes more energy and muscle power.
Make this healthy walking and eating plan part of your everyday life. Add in our 5 financial mantras, to your routine and you will be well on your way to wealth and wellbeing.

Tips for making your walk more enjoyable

You may wish to listen to music, learn a new language or listen to an audio book. Take the dog with you. If you are walking with your children then you can introduce things to keep them engaged, play I spy, find shapes in the clouds.

picture of download docDownload your free Recession Buster two week menu plan

Disclaimer: All the information above is provided as a service for individuals and institutions. It should in no way be construed as a recommendation as an investment. Investment decisions should be based on the risk tolerance and planning horizon of the investor. Market participants must understand that past performance is also not a guarantee or predictor of future results.
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