Festive Dieting

With Christmas just weeks away, you may well be panicking that you’ve run out of time to shed those extra pounds.

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Fear not –I’ve devised a body plan to help you welcome Santa with a slimmer, sexier shape. I’ve just been on an extreme diet, but it was no fun. We are heading into the festive and party season – not a time to be super-strict, with parties, nibbles and wine on the horizon.

Any weight-loss plan at this time of year needs to be simple and has to provide sufficient energy, so you can cope with all the festive fuss.

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The healthiest and most effective way to lose weight quickly is by eating plenty of lean protein (ie, fish and poultry) and little (or solely wholegrain) carbs. Not only does this help reduce calorie intake, but combined with exercise it will also build muscle to replace the fat you lose.

On this diet, although you avoid carbs in the evening, you don’t actually eat any less food than normal, and there isn’t the hassle of counting every last calorie.

exercise

You need to exercise for at least 30-40 minutes, four times weekly till Christmas. It can be anything you enjoy: swimming, fast walking, salsa – even pole-dancing!

Anything that gets your heart rate up and makes you break into a sweat will burn fat and calories. Start gently! Here’s how many calories different activities burn in 30 mins:

Aerobics: 240

Water aerobics: 150

Cycling: 200

Jogging: 300

Walking: 160

Swimming: 250

Dancing: 300

 

Celebrate without gaining

Alternate your alcoholic drinks with glasses of water.

It’s a good idea to eat before you go to a party – even if it’s just a bowl of soup or a banana – so you’re not starving and scoff as many canapes as you can find.

The other trick to healthy party food is knowing what to choose…

Avoid deep-fried finger foods like chicken nuggets, cocktail sausages or samosas. One tiny cocktail sausage can have over 60 calories and 5g of fat. Vol-au-vents, quiches and other pastry-based foods are also a disaster for your waistline, as pastry is usually 50 per cent fat.

Mini sandwiches are a healthy choice but avoid fillings with mayonnaise.

Keep crisps and nuts to a minimum, as you need a lot to feel satisfied. Chicken-based bites are a good choice, as the protein hit will keep you fuller for longer.

Your diet plan

For the next six weeks, choose from these low-cal but tasty breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack menus that you can mix and match each day.

Breakfasts

Porridge with semi-skimmed milk and a handful of blueberries

Two poached eggs on granary toast

Make a smoothie from a banana, a blueberries, a low fat yogurt and a mug of milk. And two toasted crumpets, spread thinly with jam

Two slices mixed grain seeded bread, toasted, with two tbsp cottage cheese and a tsp jam if you fancy. Fruit juice

Bowl of Special K with skimmed milk, topped with chopped banana.

Lunches

Minestrone/non-creamy soup, wholemeal roll with a handful of grapes or an apple / Wholemeal roll with half a tin of tuna, chopped peppers, low fat mayo and mixed salad leaves. Fruit salad

Any sandwich or roll with less than 400 cals.

One portion fruit Wholemeal pitta filled with vegetable chilli, low-fat yoghurt Jacket potato with cottage cheese and chopped red pepper – no butter.

Two rich tea biscuits.

Dinners

Grilled chicken with green beans, spicy tomato salsa and avocado salad

Seared tuna steak with anchovy and boiled egg salad

Chicken and mixed veg stir-fry

Poached salmon with creme fraiche and dill, steamed asparagus and broccoli Cod baked in tinfoil with lemon and

Mediterranean oven-roasted vegetables.

Snacks

A handful of nuts or a small banana Two oatcakes with peanut butter with a cup of tea, no sugar Two rice cakes with marmite Low-fat yoghurt, plus an apple or tangerine Banana and small fromage frais pot Carrot with tbsp low-fat houmous.

THINK BEFORE YOU DRINK Alcohol is the downfall of many a diet, especially in the festive season. You don’t need to cut booze completely – it’s unrealistic over Christmas – just stick to one or two small glasses, every other night. Remember, a bottle of wine totals around 500 calories and it’ll ramp up your appetite, so you can undo a whole day of good behaviour with one boozy session.

The sad facts…

Sadly party booze is liquid calories. Here’s how they tot up…

Spirit (per shot) – 55

Champagne – 90

Wine (per 125ml glass) – 80-120

Bailey’s (per shot) – 140

Pint beer – 165

Good luck Zipsters…

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