Too many treats over Christmas? Is a diet on the cards?
The decorations are gone, the presents have been put away or used and memories of being with loved ones over the festive period have been created and stored. But for some of us we have been left with something else as a reminder of the recent festivities…does that waistband now fit a little too snugly? If the answer is yes, well then join the club. Christmas, with its abundance of rich foods – cake, puddings, mince pies…need I go on, can lead to an increase in weight. It may only be a couple of pounds but it can feel like a ton when you’re trying to shift it!
Losing weight is often at the top of peoples priorities in the new year, in fact it is often someone’s New Year’s resolution. I bet we all know someone who has recently made the comment, “I’ve put loads of weight on over Christmas” or “I’m definitely going to lose weight this year and get fitter” And yes I admit, I’m one of them, I’m also convinced that I only need to look at a cake and I can put the weight on! The thing is I know I’m not alone in my thinking, and my expanding waist is proof!
Recent studies have shown an increase in the cases of obesity in the UK, now don’t get me wrong I’m not saying that putting a few pounds on makes you fat, but it’s so easy to put on and can be so, so hard to take off…there’s a saying that “pennies make up the pounds” well lbs can make up the stones and we don’t want that, do we?
What Should We Do About It?
Well let’s be honest here, we all know that what we eat has an effect on our bodies. After all, our bodies need food but, and here’s the clincher, we need that effect to be positive. So we need to monitor what we eat, it’s all down to our…dare I say the word? DIET! There I’ve said it! It’s only got four letters but for some of us it conjures up images of padlocking the fridge, feeling constantly hungry and suffering some form of deprivation. But why? Diet simply refers to what we eat, therefore if we have an issue with our weight we need to alter our diet. It’s definitely a mind thing, so I’m going to say it again diet, diet, diet…there, not so scary now, is it?
I’ve been a constant dieter in the past. Yes I’ve tried loads and YES some of them do work! But we also need to make sure that the weight stays off and that’s where a lot of us, me included, go wrong. Minimising our food intake alone will not do the job, we need to adjust what types of food we eat and alter some aspects of our lifestyles, a little more exercise perhaps? So to give us all a little food for thought (excuse the pun…but a lot of it is about being in the right frame of mind!) lets look at some of the basics, they may be simple but they can be effective:
- First And Foremost: There is no shame in admitting you want to lose some weight, in fact by telling friends, family, etc it can actually help. Not only will they give you support and encouragement but you have made the acknowledgement and are now doing something about it. That’s got to make you feel better straight away, hasn’t it?
- Look at Your Diet: Sit down and work out whether you are getting a healthy balance in your diet. By doing this you’ll soon spot areas which can be improved upon, some people find it easier to keep a food diary at this stage.
- We Are All Different: Whilst everyone needs a healthy balanced diet, we have to acknowledge which foods are not good for us….so it’s no use complaining about your friend who eats whatever she wants and never puts an ounce on, if chocolates, sweets and cakes are your demons…..get rid of them!
- Don’t Pressurize Yourself: Yes, we want to lose those pounds, BUT, we want to do it right, so set yourself realistic goals, and if you have a bad day then don’t give up. Admit your mistake and move on. Some people find it beneficial to allow themselves a treat, say at the weekend but be sensible here, it’s a treat not a chance to catch-up on everything you missed out on during the week!
- Portion Sizes: Sometimes something simple like reducing your portion sizes may be all that’s required to lose those extra pounds, combined with an increase in exercise.
So that’s the basics but what else can you do?
Make Time To Eat Your Food
Sitting down to eat, has been shown to aid digestion, so stop trying to eat on the run, relax and actually enjoy the food! Busy family lives sometimes mean mum misses out but you wouldn’t send your kids to school without knowing they were being fed at mealtimes, whether it’s school dinners or packed lunches, so take the same care with yourself. If you know you’re not going to be able to choose a healthy lunch by eating out on your lunchbreak then prepare one the night before for yourself.
Drink Plenty Of Water
Being dehydrated can actually make you feel hungry, so if you fancy a nibble, try a glass of water first, wait approx 20 mins and if you’re still hungry then choose a healthy snack.
Do You Snack Between Meals?
Choose something healthy to snack on, if fruit isn’t your thing, then try out some healthy alternatives. We’ve got Miss Penny Pincher beavering away in the kitchen, so keep an eye out for some lovely low calorie snack recipes which we’ll be publishing in the next few weeks.
Become More Mobile
If the gym isn’t your thing, or you simply don’t have the time, then why not try these:
- Use the stairs instead of the lifts.
- Park your car slightly further away from work/school and walk the remaining distance. Or get off the bus a stop before your normal one and walk the rest.
- Why not combine a brisk family walk at the weekend, you get to exercise and be with the family at the same time!
But I know some of you may be saying, “yeah, right….wish it was that simple!”
Well I know how hard it can be, as I said before I’m a seasoned dieter. I’ve triumphed and I’ve failed many times. But at the end of the day the buck stops with me, there is only one person that can make the changes and that person is me…or you! However, if you feel that you would benefit from extra support, whether it’s help with planning meals, calorie counting or meetings to share experiences, then a slimming club might be the solution for you.
So GOOD LUCK to you all, and yes I am going to shed those extra pounds too, after all I have no excuses now!