Tag Archives: Christmas

New Year, new diet?

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Happy New Year!!  Hope you have had a great festive season and feel good about life. Now as we enter 2013 of course it is time for setting those resolutions about what we will do in the next year. And for a large section of the population, time to start dieting. And I’m afraid I am no exception. My big, fat diet starts here! 

Chose the right diet for you….
So if you too are thinking about dieting then the biggest tip I have is to chose the right diet for you. I’ve found that what works for one person doesn’t always work for others. So just because your friend swears by a particular diet it doesn’t mean it’s the best for you. On the other hand, research shows that if you diet with mates it’s more likely to work. We are social animals so doing things in groups means we are more likely to stick with it.  That’s also why research shows you are more likely to succeed with one of the diet programmes rather than going it alone. I know the pressure of the weekly public weigh-in kept me on track last time I did slimming world.

I also think its about accepting that diets work best for us as different times of our lives. So don’t be dismayed if a diet that was once brilliant for you doesn’t work another time.

Instead my tip is that if a diet programme isnt working for YOU then maybe you need to try a different programme rather than just giving up dieting. Of course, though, they all require will power and giving things up. And sometimes in life we just aren’t able to diet…..

Just not able to diet…
21 Keys to keeping weight off That’s my position at the moment. Over the summer I put on weight through a failed pregnancy. Then we decided to go backpacking around the world for a year or so. I failed to lose the pregnancy (and misery eating that followed) weight before we went, and since travelling its been impossible for me to keep to my normal weight maintenance way of life (using my ’21 Keys to Keeping Weight Off)! let alone diet.

Sightseeing in Mumbai

Sightseeing in Mumbai

First we were in Turkey where vegetarian food is harder to come by and where white bread forms a huge part of the diet. (I also struggled as the filler part of breakfast was boiled eggs which I can’t stomach so eat too much bread and butter with jam). Then we came to India. Really easy to get veggie food, but fear of bacteria in boiled rice (that’s another story to follow), curries cooked in ghee, sugar and cream with little fresh veg and naans and roti all made with refined flour, and not being able to eat fruit unless I can peel and wash in filtered water, means dieting or maintaining my weight has been impossible. Plus because I’m off my normal ways I’ve said sod it, and keep letting myself just for it – puddings with meals and too many chocolate bars! My size 10s still fit, just – if they are on the large size – and really I’m a size 12 and will be more unless I get a grip.

Action is needed….
I have to do something about this. Not because I think size 12 is too big but because I don’t feel happy about myself at this weight. Thankfully we start new year in Thailand where losing weight should be easy – loads of fresh fruit that’s safer to eat, meals full of veg and cooked in coconut oil. I just need to remember I am dieting too and not eat so much chocolate or pudding, sticking to fresh fruit and low fat yoghurt.

I’m also doing a lot of visualisation work too – when I wake up and before I go to sleep picturing how I will look when my travelling clothes are baggy. Plus to spur me on I’ve put a photo of me at a size I loved at my hen party on my phone wallpaper. It makes me smile when I see it – I was so happy, I loved my size and I liked sticking to my 21 keys programme.

Find the right way for you…
So, if you want to diet, find the right way for you, that fits with your life now; you are far more likely to stick to it. Stay focused on your goal and be really kind to yourself, thinking happy thoughts about how great it will be to be slimmer rather than berating yourself for not being as slim as you might want. Smile and your willpower will come more easily.

Keep us updated on here with how you get on and any other thoughts you have about new year dieting.

Peg xxx

Binging when dieting? – Why, oh why, oh why?

 

As February starts I realised my new year diet has simply not been working. Not surprising as I realised I’ve actually been binging this January. So not only have I not been losing weight, I’ve actually put a little bit of weight on! I know I can diet when I’m motivated so why have I found it so hard to lose weight this January? And how am I going to get back to good habits?

Some of us just struggle around food…
We all have different reasons why we struggle around food. Do you live to eat or eat to live? Me, I love eating. I just don’t have an ‘off-switch’ and I like to just eat and eat and eat. What I’ve learned over the last 4 years since losing nearly 8 stone in weight, and keeping most of it off since is that I will just keep on eating unless I actively manage my food and make deliberate decisions about when to stop. I also have other strategies, particularly making sure that if I want to stuff my face I do it on food that doesn’t matter – like fat burning foods and calorie neutral or Low GI foods.

I’ve also learned that when I allow myself free-reign I lose all boundaries and can’t stop. Before Christmas I made some very, very calorific Florentines (they had 3 bars of choc in and a whole packet of butter). The idea was to take them to the family we were visiting over Christmas. I did take them places but guess who ate most of them? Piece by piece, I just couldn’t stop. The same on Christmas day – I kept eating till I was almost sick!!

New year diet resolution just not working…
I believe that when keeping weight off you have to occasionally re-balance as it’s inevitable you put some weight back on – particularly at a time like Christmas. But even going on my little catch-up diet on 1st January hasn’t stopped me from eating too much! I bought a new Hypnosis book and CD (The Hypno Diet) and have been listening every morning. It is telling me to reduce portion size. So a week ago, totally in the name of research you understand, I went to the most difficult place of all for me – the all you can eat international buffet! I was determined to follow my own advice on how to manage the buffet. Did I? Of course not and I ate and ate until no more could go in.

Back in normal life, I’ve been trying to keep to Slimming World. But sadly, the ‘free food’ concept has not helped – I’ve been eating fruit no-stop even when I am full, let alone hungry. It may be fruit but too much is starting to tell. And worringly, the hypnosis CD is not at this moment helping me.

Taking action…
So I’ve decided I have to take action
. And that is the key for us all I think. If a diet or how you are with food isn’t working, take some time to really think about what it is that isn’t working. A food and activity diary for a few days will help you see what needs to change.

1. Work out what isn’t working.
For me clearly I’m binging and I’m allowing myself to binge on foods I wouldn’t normally have.

2. Think about why it’s not working.
Is it comfort, is it just habit. Why are you feeling less able to make good decisions with food than normal? For me, I have had a lot of disruption at home over the last couple of months and I know I am on the verge of major change in my life. Is it so surprising this might make me want to comfort eat?

3. Work out what you can do to change these habits.
The answer to this one is different for us all. Maybe its just about changing what you do or a routine – for example if you are eating too much rubbish whilst watching TV, maybe try not to watch TV for a few nights or sit in a different seat. Or maybe you need to decide to follow a different eating pattern, eating different foods.

My solution…
For me, I know I need to shift some weight as I do each year (this time about a stone) and I need to stop the binging. So I’ve gone back on Lighterlife Lite for a few weeks. That way I don’t eat food at all during the day (you eat food replacement packs) and what I do eat is strictly measured. Then when I’ve lost the weight I’ll follow a programme to get me back to eating sensible amounts. Sounds drastic but for me it works.

What works for you…
Of course that’s the thing – what works for one person doesn’t always work for others. But once you have found what works for you, stick with it. Take it hour by hour if you have to do, or day by day. Take all the support and help you can from friends and family. And just love how you clothes feel better each day.

Follow the ‘21 Keys to Keeping Weight Off’…
And once you are back where you want to be, well remember to check out my 21 Keys to Keeping Weight Off to help you stay there.

Let me know how you get on.
xxx

How to choose the right New Year diet for you

January is the month when most people go on a diet spurred on by new years resolutions to lose weight and regain a slimmer figure. Most of us will have put on weight over Christmas and sadly most will not lose it. The start of the new year is a great time to decide to, at the least, shift any new festive season weight, and maybe to shift a few extra pounds as well. But how do you decide what is the best diet for you? And how can you keep motivated when your diet becomes hard?

January is ‘diet month’
Research suggests that 30 days is enough time for most of us to develop new habits. So if you tell yourself that January will be diet month this may help. 30 days is really not a long time to try something different as this brilliant (and short) talk on TED.com explains.

Decide which diet based on your habits and likes and dislikes:
We also know that people are more likely to diet successfully if you do one of the formalised diets, and especially if you have a group to go to or a way to check in with your diet and actual weight loss progress. But how do you decide from the plethora of diets out there? I am not aligned to any particular diet as I think different diets work for different people. But we all need impartial information, so, bearing that in mind here are some ideas to help you decide:

  • Think about what you find hardest when dieting. If you can’t stand being hungry or find that when you are all you think about is fattening food then go for a diet which allows you to eat as much as you want of some foods – for example Slimming World, the Atkins or Dukan diets. Remember though that which foods you can eat will be restricted. So if you are the kind of person who needs to have a taste of lots of different foods and you can cope with eating just small amounts of foods you like then choose a diet which allows this in small portions, such as Weight Watchers or many of the diets you find in magazines.
  • Think about how much weight you want to lose and how long you want to lose it over. To lose a lot of weight quickly you’ll probably need to do what’s called a Very Low Calorie Diet (VCLD) such as Lighterlife, Cambridge Diet or Celebrity Slim. I did Lighterlife and it was brilliant for me because you get counselling as well but you do need to be really committed to not eat other food and you need to think about what you will do afterwards to not just put the weight back on afterwards.
  • Think about what happens after the diet. Do you also need your diet to help you change your eating and activity habits after you finish the diet? If so think about what it is you need to change and choose a diet which will help you do this. Or it maybe you decide to mix diets – to choose a diet which is not too challenging at first to get that initial weight loss and then to change to one which will help you change your habits afterwards. You could also choose a diet which has a maintenance phase such as the South Beach Diet, or a Low Gi diet which is a lifelong eating plan.

If you need support from others choose a diet that offers a group near you and at times that suit you. Most of the big diet companies have loads of local groups.

My choice:
Well I need to shift about half a stone so I’ve decided to start with a protein and veg based diet – I’ll try the Slimming World Success Express but with no carbs to speed my weight loss for a couple of weeks. If its going well and I’m finding it possible to stick to then I’ll stay with this. If not, I’ll go back to Lighterlife and do some counseling as well to support the weight loss.

Lastly – don’t give up!
If you choose a diet and you find it’s not for you, don’t assume that you can’t diet and just give up. Instead, sit down and think about what you find hard and then look at other diets to see if they might be easier for you to stick with.

Remember everyone has bad days when dieting so don’t let a bad day be the end of yours. Don’t beat yourself up, accept you’ve had a bad day, smile and just tell yourself it will be better tomorrow.

Good luck and let us know on here how you get on!

How to survive Xmas Tip no 5 – Dont panic!!

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 5:
Don’t panic! You always have January to deal with any extra festive weight.

Watch the video about this Golden Rule here.

Even if you follow all these tips you may still end up putting on SOME extra weight. It’s pretty inevitable if you eat or drink more than usual, you eat different foods and do less exercise. So don’t beat yourself up or give yourself a hard time; accept it’s inevitable and decide that you will deal with it in January. BUT MAKE SURE YOU DO! Research suggests that most people don’t lose the weight they gain over Christmas – and year on year that could add up.

From just cutting things out through to a full-on diet
For some people, all they will need to do to get back to normal is to cut out the extras they’ve been having – such as cakes, chocolates, take-aways or even alcohol – for a few weeks.

Other people may need to go a bit further and cut out foods like bread, pasta, potatoes and rice for a few weeks. This isn’t as hard as it sounds. A bolognaise sauce or a chilli can be just as good on a bed of salad leaves as on pasta or rice. Just swapping your morning toast for a bowl of porridge may be easier than you think, and it will keep you feeling fuller for longer. If you do have carbs such as bread, pasta or rice, always keep them brown as wholegrains don’t turn to fat in the same way as refined carbs.

You may decide you need to go on a formal diet. Research shows that people who follow a recognised programme where they are part of a group or structured programme do better than those who try to go it alone. Remember there are loads of different diets and different ones suit different people. So think about the diet you choose carefully and whether it is one that will suit you. If you try one and it’s not for you, look at others rather than totally just giving up; there’s bound to be one that suits you.

Go to rule no 4 -Dont slump – find ways to be active

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.

Love mince pies? Then make your own!

mince pie muffins cookedOne of the many lovely things about Christmas is mince pies. They are scrummy. And very plentiful. From now on there may well be mince pies at meetings, at gatherings, when you go for a cup of tea or coffee at a friends. But sadly, many will be very fattening and will turn to fat on you! It really is the case that one mince pie could hurt. Indeed, you may need to walk about 4 miles to walk off just one mince pie! So if you are watching your weight then you need to think carefully about how many you can eat this festive season.

Many mince pies will be shop bought, and most shop bought goods come with more calories which turn more quickly to fat than home-made or unprocessed food. But as we know Christmas is not a time to deny yourself everything. So here is my solution. If you love mince pies, make your own, and take them to places where you know there will be.

This is just one suggestion from my new 5 Golden Rules of Christmas which I’ll be sending out in coming days. In the meantime, here is a lovely, quick, easy and lower fat/sugar free mince pie recipe.

So enjoy!

Low fat and sugar mince pies

For the mincemeat:
500g apples (use cooking apples if you can)
900g mixed dried fruit
3 tsp mixed spice
600ml cider
2 tbsp brandy, whisky or rum.

For the pastry:
1 packets of filo pastry sheets

 

To make the mincemeat:

mincemeat1. Grate the apple and put into a pan with the mixed dried fruit. Add the mixed spice and cider and stir well.

2. Simmer for about 20 minutes until the liquid has almost gone and the mixture is soft and pulpy.

3. Stir in the brandy, whisky or rum and leave to cool.

 

To make into mince pies:
You can either use a small muffin tray to make open pies or you can make parcels.

Using a muffin tray:

mince pie muffin with filo pastry1. Spray with some fry light.

2. Cut the filo pastry into squares. Then use 2 or 3 squares depending on the size of your muffin cases. Place the first square over a cup and mould. Then take the second and put at an angle to the first and again mould. Do the same with any third sheet.

3. Bake at gas mark 4 or 180c for 10 mins.

4. Spoon in the mincemeat.

5. Bake for a further 12 to 15 minutes. Keep checking to see when they are ready. If your muffin tin is large you may need to bake for a further 5 minutes.

 

To make parcels:

mincepie parcel uncooked1. Spray a non stick baking sheet with fry-light

2. Use 2 or 3 squares of file depending on how thick you would like your pastry.

3. Place a couple of spoonfuls of mincemeat in the centre of the square.

4. Bundle up into a nice parcel.

5. Bake at gas mark 3½ or 150c until the tops are brown but the bottoms of the parcels are also cooked. I baked them for around 20 minutes; larger parcels may need more time to bake the bottoms.