If one of your new year’s resolutions is to get in shape, you won’t be alone.
Losing weight is the most popular vow made by Britons, with staying fit and healthy fifth on the list.
This, of course, is big business, and companies fall over themselves at this time of year to capitalise on newly motivated punters.
But shedding stones doesn’t have to mean you lose pounds. Here’s some ideas for you to consider in 2017.
Cheap ways to lose weight
Swim don’t gym
Gym memberships can be very costly and, even if you have the discipline to go once a week, the price can be hard to justify.
Instead, give swimming a try. Sessions at a local authority pool should be pretty affordable and you can pick and chose when you go and how long you go for.
Swimming is a great workout for the whole body - even if your technique's a little rusty - and you can burn a lot of calories in a little time.
Try to figure out a time that suits you best and when it’s not too busy. If possible, walk or jog to and from the swimming pool instead of taking the car.
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Weight-loss groups such as Slimming World are successful largely because they help members set targets and offer moral support.
But there’s no reason why you can’t do this for yourself. If you have a friend or two who has the same new year’s resolution, work together to support each other.
Keep a food diary, compare notes and exercise together.
Top 10 new year's resolutions
1. Lose weight
2. Get organised
3. Spend less, save more
4. Enjoy life to the fullest
5. Stay fit and healthy
6. Learn something exciting
7. Quit smoking
8. Help others achieve their dreams
9. Fall in love
10. Spend more time with family
Walk this way
If you’re a parent with children at school, ditch the car for the school run.
Hectic morning schedules mean this is easier said than done, but it’s really worth thinking about.
A walk can be much less stressful than driving at rush hour and, depending on how far you have to travel, might work out to be quicker.
Once the kids are safely at school, you could jog back home or to work.
Recipes for success
Diet books are 10 a penny but many are impractical and cost money.
There’s plenty of healthy eating ideas online, a scores of apps for your phone and tablet to provide you with inspiration.
Your best bet might be to plan your meals in advance. A weekly schedule of meal plans will help keep you disciplined and cut down on wasted food and money.
Remember to factor in a tasty reward at the weekend.
It’s not about you joggers…
Give Parkrun a try. There are hundreds of Parkruns across the UK, taking place every Saturday morning.
They’re totally free and open to all ages abilities. The atmosphere is really relaxed and there’s plenty of friendly support.
Some runners are club club-level athletes who will crush 5k in 18 minutes, while others are first-timers, jogging and walking in their own time.
Finally, one from leftfield here – but keep your home smelling nice.
Some researchers have claimed that smelling certain scents can help people lose weight.
Now, this might seem a bit far-fetched, but filling your home with the right aromas has some logic.
If your bathroom smells like an exclusive spa and your kitchen is free of cooking smells, it just might help keep you motivated and in the right mindset.
Advice on keeping your new year's resolution
Richard Wiseman, professor of public understanding of psychology at the University of Hertfordshire's advice on sticking to your new year's resolution
- Only make one resolution
- Don't wait until New Year's Eve to set your goal
- Don't attempt previously failed resolutions
- Don't base your goal on what everyone else is doing
- Break your goal into a series of time-based steps
- Tell your friends and family what you're aiming for
- Regularly remind yourself of the benefits
- Give yourself small rewards for achieving your each step
- Make your plans and progress concrete by writing it down
- Expect to have small set-backs, and don't make these a reason to give up altogether