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Surviving Christmas & manage your weight – Rule no 3!

Peg Alexander worried about XmasCan you have a Lite Christmas? Can you enjoy yourself this festive season and not become the Christmas pudding? Of  course you can; just follow my 5 Golden Rules of Christmas.

Golden Rule of Christmas No 3:
Plan, plan, plan. Plan all your meals and food throughout the festive season, including the days after Christmas. Balance sugary, fatty high calorie food and drink with other low fat, high protein, high fibre fat burning meals.

Watch the video about this Golden Rule here.

Do a meal plan for the whole festive season, including after Christmas. Think about your meals across a day and week so that if you know you’ll be at parties and/or eating out and eating high-calorie, sugary, or fatty food you can balance these against other meals which are fat-burning and slow-release. You can download a Festive Season Meal Planner here.

Remember that not all calories are equal. Some foods turn to fat more quickly than others (such as refined, fatty, sugary and many processed foods) and should be avoided. But others, like low GI foods and fat-burning foods keep you feeling fuller for longer, help boost your metabolism or take more energy to digest. So you need to fill up with these foods and plan meals that include:

  • Loads of fruit and vegetables – try to fill over half your plate with vegetables.
  • Lean protein – lean meat or veggie alternatives such as soya, quorn, pulses and nuts.
  • High-fibre – go for brown over white. Avoid all refined carbs such as white pasta, rice, flour, bread etc and instead choose brown pasta, rice, bread etc. Use oats and oatmeal in food where you can – it’s often easy to swap flour for oatmeal.
  • Low-fat dairy – such as skimmed milk or fat-free yoghurt.
  • Use as little fat as you can – choose virgin olive or coconut oil when you need oil.

Planning your meals will also mean you’re less likely to end up having take-aways. It’s easy to think they are quicker, cheaper and easier, but in fact I don’t think they are any of those things. They are also more likely to make you put on weight. So when you plan your meals, plan a number of really quick easy meals for the times you can’t be bothered – such as stir-fry, pasta or quick rice dishes like chilli. Another good hint is to make extra when you do cook and freeze it, so all you need to do is pop into the microwave.

Manage your sugar rushes
Remember that when you have a lot of sugar it brings on sugar rushes which means you are more likely to crave more sugary food. So on Boxing Day and the days after Christmas, plan to eat as much slow-release Low GI and fat-burning food as possible. This will help you manage your blood sugar and help to reduce sugar cravings. Get Low GI and Fat Burning foods here.

Go to rule no 2 – Christmas is a social time.

Surviving Christmas & manage your weight – Rule no 2!

 

Peg Alexander worried about XmasCan you have a Lite Christmas? Can you enjoy yourself this festive season and not become the Christmas pudding? Of  course you can; just follow my 5 Golden Rules of Christmas.

Golden Rule of Christmas No 2:
Christmas is a social time – so think about how you will deal with people who you know find it hard when you are careful about your food and drink. Just because others are eating and drinking doesn’t mean you have to.

Watch the video about this Golden Rule here.

Unfortunately we all know someone who finds it hard to accept other people’s decisions about food and drink. For example people who want you to eat loads – like Mrs Doyle in Father Ted (Go on, go on, you will, you will, you will!) This can be really hard if you are staying with others over Christmas and you feel you have to follow their food and drink habits.

So remember that mostly, this is THEIR issue, not yours. Think about anyone in your life with whom, when you spend time with them, you find it hard to keep to your food and drink decisions. Have a think about why this is and try to talk to them BEFORE the holiday period about why you want to make certain food and drink choices, about how important this is to you, and ask them to help you keep to these decisions. Offer to sort out your own food if this will make it easier. How about asking for this as your Christmas present! Remember, just because other people eat or drink to excess this doesn’t mean you have to.

Go to rule no 1 – Christmas dinner is not the problem.

How to survive Christmas and keep weight off! Rule No 1.

Peg Alexander worried about XmasAre you dreaming of a Lite Christmas? How not to be the Christmas pudding!

Christmas is the hardest time of year for many when it comes to watching your weight or keeping weight off. And if you are dieting you may as well forget it! Putting it bluntly, many people will put on weight over the festive season (studies suggest an average of around 4lb with some saying up to 10lb!). So is it possible to still have a brilliant Christmas and New Year without becoming the Christmas pudding yourself? Can you indulge without the budge?

Of course it is!!!!
So how do you make sure you don’t become the Christmas pudding but don’t feel like you are missing out on everything? I recommend following my Five Golden Rules of Christmas….

You can hear a lighthearted short radio interview about the Five Golden Rules by clicking here.
You can also check out a more factual interview by clicking here.

So what are the Five Golden Rules of Christmas?

Well over the next few days I’ll be sharing a Golden Rule each day….. in writing and on video. So here goes.

Golden Rule of Christmas No 1:
Christmas dinner is not the problem – it’s all the parties, events, mince pies, chocolates, alcohol and extras that happen during the festive season.

Click here to watch the video.

In the weeks running up to Christmas and between Christmas and New Year it’s party time! But that means nibbles, buffet food, mince pies, cakes, sweets and chocolates – and loads of extra alcohol.

So you have to think about how are you going to deal with this. Staying at home is not an option. Instead work out which of these things you can’t do without, and then make deals with yourself about what – and how much – you’ll have. So for example I’m not bothered about crisps or buffet food but I find it hard to resist chocolate and cake. So I’ll allow myself one or two per party and not eat the stuff I don’t really want just because it’s there. And when I do have cakes and chocs, I really enjoy them!! And fill up with low fat food before you go to parties so you are less tempted to pick.

Are mince pies a problem for you?
If so, accept it and work round it. Many shop-bought mince pies have high levels of sugar and fat. Processed food is more likely to turn into fat on you than home-made. So if you love mince pies, make your own and take them with you to parties. Click here for a quick and scrummy no fat or sugar added recipe. Then you can still have them – but manage your weight. You might make yourself popular with your host as well!

You really need to watch alcohol intake
Alcohol represents empty calories. It has no nutritional value at all but contains plenty of calories. It’s very easy to drink too much over the festive period. So monitor how much you are drinking and think of ways to cut down. Alternate between alcohol and soft drinks – just watch out how much sugar there is in some fruit drinks.

Think about what else you will be eating
Try to fill up at breakfast with a bowl of home-cooked porridge with fruit and nuts (avoiding quick cooking oats). If you go to a lunch or tea-time party and there are loads of snacks but you know you’ll probably end up going out to eat that night, then avoid the snacks. And when you go out to eat, think carefully about what you choose. Click here to some advice about what to choose.

Don’t be scared to ask for your own version of the Christmas menu
If you go to a party with a set menu think carefully about what you choose, by using the eating-out guide. Even if you have to chose from a set Christmas menu don’t be afraid to ask for your meal to be adapted so its lower-fat. Choose a low fat option for your starter and pudding (or at least one of them, such as salad without dressing to start or fruit for pudding).

On average, people consume 4000 calories on Christmas day
On Christmas day we drink lots and eat endless snacks, sweets – plus the big dinner. Just a few small chocolates add up – there are between 40 and 60 calories in many individual chocolates, so keep a count of how many you munch; it’s just too easy to pop them in your mouth without thinking. I keep them out of reach, for example in a cupboard. That way you have to think about everyone single one you have.

Make your Christmas meal that bit kinder too
It will always help if think about the calories of your Christmas dinner and to try and reduce the impact of your Christmas meal. Some handy tips for stuffing the turkey, not you, include…..

  • Turkey is a fat-burning food. Avoid the skin and fill up your plate with turkey breast and veggies.
  • If you are vegetarian think about a low-fat alternative, such as quorn or soya. If you have nut roast, watch how much butter you put in and use wholemeal bread crumbs.
  • Think about mixing roast potatoes with lower GI boiled new potatoes or sweet potatoes. You can roast potatoes using low-fat spray. Always avoid potatoes cooked in goose fat.
  • Don’t put butter on your veggies even if everyone else is having them.
  • Cook some extra stuffing outside of the turkey so it’s not soaked with turkey fat.
  • Avoid sausage stuffing and also cut back on the sausages and pigs in blankets.
  • Make some low-fat gravy for yourself. Or if you have gravy made from the turkey juice, reduce the fat by putting it in the fridge and removing the fat.
  • Make your Christmas pudding lower fat – avoid beef suet and use extra fruit instead.
  • Think about the sauces you have on your pudding. Can you swap your normal custard for low-fat? Try yogurt rather than cream or ice-cream or only a small amount of brandy butter or even brandy custard.

And finally – remember just because there are certain foods and drinks around, it doesn’t mean you have to consume them!

Keep checking to see the other five Golden Rules.

Hypno Gastric Band – does it make you lose weight?

 

As readers of my blog will know, although I keep weight off, I still have a small amount of weight I would like to lose; between half and a stone or around 10lb to be precise. This would mean I would be a small size 10 rather than the big size 10/small 12 I have been for the last year or two. I know I can go on a very low calorie diet and lose it and get down to size 8, but I keep putting this amount on again afterwards; it seems this size is just where my body naturally wants to stay. I eat an incredibly healthy diet and am pretty active but I have real trouble keeping to small portions and I eat huge amounts. I also want to be able to eat out a bit more than I do at the moment so when I read that Hypno Gastric Bands have an 80% success rate I decided I had to give it a go! Will a Hypno Gastric Band work?

They aren’t cheap and some hypnotherapists were advertising Hypno Gastric Bands at around £300. But when I received an offer of 3 sessions for £80 it seemed the signal it was time to give it a go.

Hypnosis works for me….
I know I am susceptible to hypnosis. I gave up smoking with hypnosis and I have used it since when I am very stressed about my weight or life. So I was really excited about it and convinced it would work for me. I set off for the first session full of anticipation looking forward to the hypnotist telling me my stomach had been made smaller and I would want to eat a lot less. I thought it would be that easy. Instead, at the first session the hypnotist was quite challenging to me and I wasn’t expecting that! One thing he challenged me about was a need to use scales. As you may know I don’t agree with using scales as the main way to check how you are getting on, rather I prefer judging by my clothes. But he told me I had to use the scales so I could lose my fear of them. He also challenged me about my saying I like eating cakes and chocolate too much and how I find it hard to control myself sometimes around cake. His view – it’s as easy as just deciding so to cut them out. Hmmm.  We finally did he hypnosis. I was disappointed – no mention of the gastric band. Just that I would be happier to eat less and want to eat healthily (which I already do!).

But being a compliant sort of person I did decide to weight myself. The next day I weighed in at 147lb.

Session 2 a week later was a bit easier, helped somewhat by the fact that despite me having been to a house party weekend abroad I had lost 3lb! The session was shorter and we got down to the hypnosis more quickly. Similar stuff to the week before. Again I was left feeling slightly miffed my ‘gastric band’ hadn’t been fitted and it was the same stuff I’ve heard a lot before in hypnosis.

Session 3 and I was on a role. Again I’d lost weight – I’d lost 0.6lb despite having eaten out a couple of time so I thought I was sorted. Clearly my portion sizes had gone down. This time he did ‘fit’ the band. Under hypnosis he took me through the process – from getting on the trolley, through to the operating theatre where he turned the lights off, and then imagining exactly how my stomach was being made smaller. It didn’t seem at all gory though! The hypnosis was quite quick though, I was in and out in 20 minutes. But if it worked I didn’t mind that I felt maybe I needed a bit more time.

So what has happened since?
Well it started off well. I decided I’d weigh myself once a week and the following week I’d lost even more weight and was down to 141.1lb. I was cock-a-hoop to say the least. I was eating more variety of food and the weight was dropping off. And my clothes were feeling looser which I always like.

But then it all went wrong. Another week on and I got on the scales. And …. in the space of a week I had put on over 5lb. Part of the hypnosis was to learn not to panic if I put on weight; to be able to just accept it and then decide to take action the following week. But as we know its not that easy and despite the hypnosis, I was in a bit of a tizz the day I went on the scales.

This is why I don’t like scales. Putting on 5lb of fat in a week with no major change in diet is just not possible, it must be something else (for example I’ve been ill during this time). That’s why I prefer clothes as my guide as they are a more realistic judge.

And how have I got on since?
Well since then I’ve started losing weight again – earlier this week I weighed in at 2.5lb less than 3 days before! But I’m also not giving up on hypnosis as I do think it can work. So to help me top up I’ve downloaded a weight hypnosis book and I’m listening to it once a day if I can. Plus I’m trying some metabolism boosters too and continuing to follow my ‘21 Keys to Keeping Weight Off’ as I know they have helped me stay a size 10. You see, I’ll try anything and am glad for anything that works. This morning the scales have again been kind and I’m back down to 141lb.

Bring it on…..!