The festive period can take its toll on your waistline as the gluttony of mince pieces, Christmas puddings, turkey roasts and chocolate selection boxes leads to a huge calorie intake over a short period of time. Losing excess weight is always high on the list of New Year resolutions so get a head start now and plan your weight loss for late December and January.
Before you start, it may be a good idea to talk to an expert in the field, such as one of the Cambridge diet consultants to get expert advice on your dieting plans. They can provide support, a personalised plan and tasty foods to help you achieve your goals.
Don’t feel guilty
First up, remember it’s absolutely okay to indulge some over Christmas. You should not feel guilty whatsoever and it’s not a health problem to enjoy a few excesses and celebrate public holidays with copious amounts of drink and food. The most important step is moving forward with the aim of eating healthier meals and taking fewer calories on board post Christmas.
Ease down, don’t deprive
It may seem easy to just go cold turkey after a festive blowout but swinging from a high calorie, sugar and saturated fat intake to an extreme detox is nearly always ineffective as it can slow metabolism, fighting against exactly what you are trying to do; lose weight.
Instead, try to transition slowly with a balance of fattier goods and healthier options. This will keep your hunger hormones in check and ensure your appetite is satiated at a time when willpower to see through a new year’s resolution can wear extremely thin. Remember, balance is the goal to begin with.
Don’t weigh yourself
The post-Christmas podge is notoriously difficult to shift so it’s no surprise that you are likely to be carrying a few extra pounds in the aftermath. The weight gain is usually due to water retention and not an increase in body fat but either way, steering clear of the scales is a good idea.
Rather than obsessing about weight loss and target goals, focus your efforts on healthy eating and reinforcing positive behaviour around food. During this time you should be drinking a lot of water and getting at least five of your fruit and vegetables every day. It’s also important to stay away from processed foods.
Rather than using your exact weight in stone and pounds as an indication of weight loss, put on a pair of jeans that fit snugly on Christmas Day and see how loose they have become.
Have a clear-out
Christmas leftovers can be tempting long into January especially if cake, biscuits and pies are still in ample supply after the big day. Having these foods in your kitchen will lead to temptation so take a few hours in late December to clear everything. Try to give them away or recycle them rather than throwing them away.
In the place of festive snacks, bring in a few healthier options such as raw nuts, avocado, chopped veg and fresh fruit. Nuts are particularly good at keeping cravings away between meals which is likely to happen if you have been snacking regularly during December.
Have a plan
Your new year’s resolution will fall apart without a plan so get organised to give yourself the best chance of achieving your weight loss goals. It doesn’t have to be an extensive plan. Just taking a few hours on a Sunday to set up a food schedule for the week could be enough. Having a few packed lunches and homemade healthy meals ready is also recommended.
Don’t forget exercise
Optimising your food intake can go some way to clearing the podge but it almost always works best when you combine it with regular daily exercise. Getting fit is a goal for many in January so you should have plenty of company if you want to go for a jog or join a gym.
However, try to be more specific in your exercise goals. Rather than merely targeting a gym membership, instead plan for two spinning classes or a 30-minute cardio workout every other day. Like your food intake, plan in advance with a schedule and stick to it
Research shows gym attendance spikes in early to mid-January before falling off again by mid-February. The best way to keep on track is to be consistent in everything you do rather than targeting excessive or unattainable goals. A realistic plan is the key to success.
Finally, combine your more rigorous exercise with a commitment to walk more, whether that’s to work or on weekends as an activity with a loved one or close friend. With all of this in place, you will have the best chance of ridding yourself of the post-Christmas bloat and starting the New Year on the right track.