New research released today has revealed that today is when we should be starting our pre-Christmas diets in time to look good for the Christmas Season.
Leading UK dietitian Helen Bond and consultant to the free XLS-Medical online support program ‘123 hello me’ shares her tips on what we should be doing to help us lose weight.
Helen Bond’s top tips for getting started on the party season diet:
1. Set a realistic weight loss goal. A weight loss goal should be challenging and require you to make an effort, but not be an impossible mission. Over ambitious targets can be easily broken! But by setting smaller goals, which you have a real chance of reaching, you can boost your confidence in your abilities to keep on track until you arrive at your destination. Aim to lose about five to 10 per cent of your initial body weight over a three to six month period. Once you've reached your goal, congratulate yourself and set another weight loss target.
2. Keep a food and mood diary. Most of us literally don’t know what we are eating, or how all the things we unconsciously eat are adding up – canapés at the Christmas party, nibbling on the odd biscuit or pinching a chip! For long term weight loss you need to identify problem foods and ‘areas of weaknesses’ in your day. By keeping a food diary, you will become more aware of your eating patterns and the changes you need to make. Carry a small notebook with you and write down all the things you eat and drink on a typical day, along with any associated feelings. According to research in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, dieters who jot down everything they eat and drink lose twice as much weight as those that don’t.
3. Forget crash diets. Whilst rapid weight loss can certainly be an appealing prospect, ‘crash’ or ‘fad’ diets don't work for long-term weight loss, and most aren’t healthy. The only way to lose weight is to eat a nutritionally balanced and varied diet with appropriately sized portions and burn off more calories than you eat.
4. Eat regularly. You are far more likely to raid the biscuit tin if you’re starving, so make sure that you aim to eat three meals a day, spread evenly throughout the day and choose healthy snacks in between meals, such as a low fat yogurt, a piece of fruit or handful of nuts. For example, if you are allowed 1500 calories a day, you could have 300 calories for breakfast, 400 calories for lunch, 500 calories for dinner and two healthy snacks of 150 calories.
5. Balance your plate
To ensure that you are getting a good mix of nutrients, make sure that you are eating foods from the four main food groups in every meal. One third should be fruit and veg, one third, starchy fibre foods (such as wholegrain cereals, brown rice or whole-wheat pasta), one-sixth protein rich foods (lean meat, fish (white and oily fish) poultry, pulses, nuts and seeds, eggs) and the remaining sixth reduced fat dairy products. Meanwhile keep fatty and sugary foods to a minimum.
Femalefirst Taryn Davies