Mmmm all of that yummy, rich Christmas food and drink was so delicious. So tasty, so tempting and so enjoyable. Until that is you got on the scales. Arghhh. BUT I’d like for you to change that ‘Arghhh’ into, ‘It’s all OK.’ But how does this relate to easily losing Christmas pounds?
Over 90% of us will have over-indulged over Christmas. On average, we each gain four pounds. So most of us are feeling heavier and our clothes feel tighter which is not a great feeling. But if we add feeling bad or beating ourselves up, it makes losing the gained weight more difficult. Accepting that it was yummy and that yes, we somewhat over-indulged, makes losing weight easier because it changes our mindset from hard to do-able.
Please don’t crash diet
As tempting as it is to crash diet, please don’t. Strict deprivation or starving yourself will backfire and make you miserable. It’s highly unlikely that anyone can stick to these diets for long. Giving up on such diets makes you again feel like you have failed, which can lead to more comfort, overeating, which makes matters even worse. Instead I urge you to be kind and gentle to yourself and give your body freshly made, nutritious food. This is the first step to easily losing Christmas pounds.
Most diets work initially—none work of them work in the long-run
When you begin a diet, you are selecting and cooking according to the particular diet rules. This means that foods and drinks that are mostly likely to lead to weight gain, are excluded. But—and it’s a big BUT—your body is unique as are your personal taste preferences. So, when you ‘go-on-a-diet’ your mindset is set to dieting, meaning this is not your usual way of eating. Part of you is suffering because you can’t eat the food you enjoy. Which in turn sets up a feeling of waiting until the dieting ends so you can go back to what you love to eat. Inevitably, this leads weight loss/weight gain yo-yoing.
The only way to lose weight and stay slim is to change your relationship to food forever. A way that is both health, is according to your taste preferences and includes the occasional treat.
The 80:20 rule of healthy weight loss
We all love treats. Foods and drinks such as chocolate, sweets, ice-cream, biscuits, fizzy drinks, alcohol, crisps and roasted nuts – are tempting. But if we eat these every day, then by definition they are not treats. These foods and drinks can be consumed occasionally, but not daily. Life without treats would be very dull, so the 80:20 rule is how you can both be healthy and occasionally enjoy them. To do this, choose to eat and drink very healthily 80% of the time. This allows for more relaxed eating and drinking 20% of the time. For me, I eat very healthily from Monday to Friday. Then at the weekend, I enjoy 1 or 2 small treats. In this way, I get balance. No food or drink is forbidden, so there is no feeling of being deprived as I can look forward to my treats.
Work out how long the weight loss will take
With Christmas parties and social get-togethers starting as early as December 1st, over-indulgence has stretched from what used to be a few days, into a full month. So, the weight gained, was possibly a gradual affair. With just a few pounds gained, then this weight loss is easily achieved in 1—3 weeks by simply cutting out all of junk and highly processed foods while at the same time increasing the amount of fresh food you eat.
Perhaps though you are on a mission to lose a lot of weight? Then begin by cutting out all junk, highly processed foods and all the white not-good-for you foods—sugar, flour, pasta and potatoes. With the exception of 1 small treat from these foods just once a week. At the same time, radically increase the amount of coloured vegetables you eat. Also ensure that each meal has good amounts of protein, but don’t overdo meat and cheese which are high in saturated fats. Instead aim to get most of your protein from either fish, nuts, seeds, tofu, whey protein, or from peas, beans and pulses. Download my Food Pyramid to act as guide.
By switching to a healthier diet (way of eating) with more fresh, whole foods and reduced saturated fat, you can easily expect to lose 3 lbs or slightly more in the first week. Then 1—2 lbs every week thereafter. To lose a stone is easily achieved in 2—3 months. Work out how long it will take you to lose your desired weight loss. Don’t despair that it’s not instant. Steady weight loss allows you to step into a new way of eating for life—with a few treats that is easy to maintain for life.
If you don’t like gyms—don’t join one!
Gyms and leisure clubs can be a great way to stay motivated to increase fitness and lose weight, but only join if you like these environments. In terms of weight loss, increased levels of exercise represents only 30% of your potential loss. In other words, going to the gym alone is not enough as 70% of weight loss is dictated by what you eat.
Don’t get me wrong – exercise is important. Regular exercise increases muscle tone and bone density as well as reducing stress and making you feel good. So choose something you love. Brisk walking for 30 minutes each day will give you most of the benefits of joining a gym and it’s for free. Dancing, swimming, cycling, team sports, classes, guided DVDs—there is so much choice. Choose a form of exercise that suits you and your lifestyle. Something that will become part of your life.
Go dry be a vegan for January
Drinking alcohol while trying to lose weight is challenging. See full article on this topic. That’s because one glass of alcohol often leads to a second and that increases the desire for starchy foods. And the empty calories of alcohol so often leads to weight gain. Cutting out all alcohol for a month will cut back on your calories and therefore help you lose weight. The food supplement Milk Thistle helps the liver detoxify if a lot of alcohol was consumed over Christmas time.
Adopting a vegan diet for the month is an interesting experiment. It will make you re-think what you eat and lead to you trying many new recipes. See Veganuary’s website for inspiration. Some of my favourite recipes are those from Anna Jones. While her recipes are vegetarian, most have a vegan alternative. Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fernley Whittingstall also have many excellent vegan recipes online.
Measuring vs weighing
People tend to fall into two camps when it comes to weighing themselves. The first group weigh themselves daily, sighing if/when no weight has been lost. This can so easily lead to giving up. The other camp avoid weighing themselves altogether as they are afraid of what the scales will tell them. Neither is best practice. Bathroom are not there to judge you—they are a tool to help you to monitor your progress. I recommend you weigh yourself at the same time once a week. Record it so you can clearly see how you are doing. This helps you stay motivated and on track.
Exercise increases muscle mass which is heavier and more dense than stored body fat. Paradoxically, exercising may lead you to becoming thinner while weight loss stagnates. Using a tape measure to record your body shape is, I believe, an important tool, for weight loss. This gives you a better indication of actual body-fat loss. Download my weight-loss chart
😊 Eat Well—Be Well.