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Christmas is drawing to a close and those mince pies, puddings and drinks might well be weighing on your mind (as well as your waist!) It is likely that a quick search for ‘how to lose weight’ will throw back thousands of questionable diets and practices that promise the world. If you want some advice on what not to do, read on. 

Some diets you may have heard of are; Dukan, Cambridge, 5:2, South Beach Diet, New Atkins, Raw Vegan, Paleo and the Alkaline Diet. All offer different ways to achieve weight loss but most use an extreme method, making it hard to stay motivated and to keep the weight off for the whole year! Here are our top ten tid-bits, made up of information and tips to help you on your way to tackling that festive over-indulgence.

  1. Extreme crash diets will only leave you feeling restricted, deprived and at high risk of  the ‘What The Hell’ Effect!
  2. Most diets remove large food groups, like carbohydrates, protein and/or fat, which means we remove vital nutrients leaving us with unwanted side-effects like bad breath, tiredness, nausea, headaches and low energy levels. We need balance. 
  3. After removing all the bells and whistles that come with diets, most encourage calorie restriction and increasing exercise to achieve weight loss which we can do without a ‘diet’.
  4. Manage your expectations – ‘diets’ over promise with significant, fast weight loss and involve a strict regimen. It’s time to think about not just losing weight quickly but gradually, increasing your enjoyment with eating and living healthier. Being happy is as/more important than being ‘thin’!
  5. Raw food, juiced, clean eating, paleo, shakes, superfoods are common words we see when reading about new ‘fad diets’. They are not based on sound evidence that supports the way your body works… no matter which celebrity endorses them!!
  6. There are no magic pills or remedies, it’s all down to you. 
  7. If you want to make change that works in your real life, change your mindset to a positive one about what you can achieve. Note that this is an experiment, your plans may have to change because things you didn’t notice before block your efforts. Don’t panic! Make small changes and try again.
  8. ‘Diets’ don’t change your relationship with food for the better, they make it worse and increase the chance of over-indulging after you finish the diet.
  9. Everyone’s lives are different so different solutions are required – there is no one size fits all approach. 
  10. Making change must involve the people around you. No man (or woman) is an island! Gain the support of your partner or friends and family to make the changes together and support each other when one of you inevitably wobbles.

Now is the time to plan some small more achievable ways of hitting your goals. It can feel overwhelming to know where to begin. So take some time to work through what your goals are and start planning out your week. Here are some questions to ask yourself to get you going with goal setting with an example answer:

SMART goals

What is my long term goal? Losing 5kg

What short term goals can help me achieve this? Reduce high sugar foods from daily  to three times a week

When shall I do this short term goal? Wednesday, Friday & Saturday

What do I need to achieve this? Get rid of the excess chocolate gifts in my cupboard – take them to a food bank or food collection bins at the supermarket.

Where will I do this? Pack foods into a bag and leave by the food for when I next go to the shops

Who will I do it with? Agree it with my partner!

What will get in my way? 1. Being tempted by other people offering sweet foods. 2. Forgetting to take my excess sweet foods and dipping into the bag.

How will I overcome this? 1. Allow myself to say yes to things on my designated days, but say no on other days – bring healthy snacks with me instead if I’m at work or out and about. 2. Put the sweet bag in the car instead so I don’t keep seeing it and being tempted!

It is important to consider as many barriers as possible. But remember, you are running an experiment. There will be things that pop up that you didn’t expect. Don’t worry, just make a slight adjustment with the new information and carry on. As nutrition and behaviour change specialists, our BeeZee Bodies team are experts in helping to make change work and stick. We have a range of programmes starting in January 2020 to help make plans that work for you, in your real life!

Adapted from blog written by Katie Phillips, RD