Life & Living

4 weeks to a healthier you!

Chantel Heath

INSTAGRAM: @chantelheathfitness

I’m a 41 year old mother of two girls and one French bulldog, and I’m a Personal Fitness Coach. I work one to one with clients aged 18-80, and have additional specialisms in pre and post natal training, GP exercise referral, cancer rehabilitation and pilates. I also run community fitness classes in the Suffolk coastal area.

Being fit and healthy is so much more than aesthetics. Sure, looking good can make us feel good in the short term, but taking care of your whole body, inside and out will keep you feeling good for years to come!

If you feel like you need to regain control of your health and fitness, make this your starting point. These are the five fundamentals that I use with clients. Use these to create a solid foundation from which you can build a healthy, fit and resilient body!


Not drinking enough can cause headaches, dizziness, lethargy, trouble concentrating and bloating. Long term it can lead to digestive issues, UTIs and kidney stones! Making sure you are well hydrated helps to regulate your body temperature, keep joints lubricated, help organs function properly, help your mood, and improve mental function.


This doesn’t mean restricting calories and going on a diet! Food fuels your whole body, so you need to ensure you eat a wide variety of foods to meet your body’s needs. Carbohydrates, proteins and fats are all absolutely essential to your well being, but they need to be eaten in the appropriate proportions!


Lack of sleep or poor-quality sleep causes so much more than tiredness! Effects can include memory issues, mood changes, weakened immunity, craving sugary snacks for energy, increased risk of diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. You’re also at greater risk of mistakes and accidents. 


A certain level of stress is completely normal and motivates us to get things done, however when stress levels are too high for a prolonged period we are at risk of a number of serious health conditions; including mental health problems, increased risk of heart attack, fertility problems, sleep problems, a weakened immune system and day to day symptoms such as headaches, digestive problems and panic attacks. Managing stress can be as simple as taking some time to yourself each day to relax, or delegating tasks to others. But if you feel that your stress levels are getting out of control talk to your GP or a Mental Health Charity such as MIND.


How much do you move on a daily basis? This includes planned exercise as well as all the non-exercise activity we all do each day. Movement is essential in keeping our bodies fit and healthy. Our bodies are made to move! If you have a desk-based job it’s really important to plan in movement throughout your day, maybe going for a walk at lunchtime or after work.


This is my simple 4-week plan to get you on track. You can use my habit tracker each day for motivation, simply tick off each goal that you achieve


Monitor your step count each day this week. If you don’t have a smart watch, you can purchase a pedometer for a few pounds online, or most smartphones have a health app which will count your steps.

Aim to drink 2 litres of water each day (other soft drinks will also count)

Spend 20 minutes each day doing something relaxing such as reading, it can be anything as long as it’s not screen based!

Aim for 60 minutes of moderate exercise this week. This can be simple activities such as walking. You could split this into shorter sessions throughout the week.


Using your average daily step count from last week, set yourself a new daily target 1,000-2,000 steps higher.

Try to ensure you are including a source of protein at each meal. This will keep you feeling fuller for longer, and is essential for growth and repair throughout your body. Protein rich foods include plain Greek yoghurt, meat, fish, eggs, beans, pulses and tofu.

Aim for at least 7 hours sleep per night. To help with this allow your body time to wind down before bedtime by avoiding screens for at least 30 minutes before you go to sleep. This could be a good time for your relaxing activity!

Aim for 90 minutes of moderate exercise this week. This is easily achieved by just a 15 minute walk each day.


Reduce the amount of starchy, refined carbs that you eat. These are what I call ‘beige foods’ and includes things such as white rice, bread and pasta, chips, crisps, pastries, and sweet treats. Replace them with whole wheat versions and lots of delicious colourful veg.

Pay attention to serving sizes! Don’t portion your carbs by eye, pay attention to the recommended serving size.

Aim for 120 minutes of moderate exercise this week.


Aim for 150 minutes of exercise this week (this is the minimum for most people recommended by the NHS)

Keep up with all the good habits you have built over the last 4 weeks, they will soon become a normal part of your daily life.