Dietitian Susie Burrell explains that yes, it is possible to lose weight during the silly season. Here’s how.
Imagine if you could start 2020 a few kilos lighter? Your clothes would be looser, your energy improved and instead of postponing those healthy New Year initiatives until January, you could could instead start the year feeling your best. Yes, it might be difficult to consider weight loss when our social lives seem solely focused around eating and drinking, it is not impossible to achieve weight loss.
The key component of losing weight during the silly season is to keep your expectations realistic. Rather than seeking out losses of one to two kilos a week, a more moderate approach of losing just ½ a kilo each week will shift your weight in the right direction, and with consistency will add up to three to four kilos come New Year’s Day. Here’s how…
At a time when there will be periods of increased calorie intake, fasting is an extremely useful dietary strategy to help you keep your eating controlled to set periods of time. All the celebrities are doing it!
It has been shown that limiting our eating window to just eight to 10 hours each day is enough to keep calorie intake controlled, and a induce slow but sustainable weight losses of one to two kilos a month.
Fasting also works well for periods when you know you will be enjoying a few drinks or eating out at night , so you can simply wait another 14-16 hours until your next meal and return to normal eating.
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Up the exercise ante
At a time when we usually reduce the amount of exercise we are doing, it’s crucial to actually increase the focus on your training when you can. When it comes to the amount of exercise you need to do to lose weight, everyone is different, but in general a combination of plenty of movement (at least 10,000 steps a day) plus regular cardio training – no matter how busy you – will support an overall calorie deficit and, subsequently, weight loss.
Factor in a ‘light day’ of eating
In a life that is filled with constant indulgence and periods of overeating, a day in which you focus on eating only low calorie, light meals – similar with fasting – is an easy way to help reduce the body’s glycogen stores to optimise fat burning. Consuming a day of light soups, salads, vegetable juices and white fish will still enable you to eat regular meals, thus avoiding a strict diet mentality, whilst supporting your weight loss goals.
Make one major change
If nothing changes, nothing changes. And this is very much the case with weight loss when your body is used to your diet and exercise regime. This is the reason why making a couple of dramatic diet changes, such as cutting out milky coffee, or eating your main meal at lunch, often results in faster weight loss.
So at a time when your regular routine is likely to be a little out of whack anyway, consider a significant diet or exercise change that you could make to really mix things up and give the body the shake up it may need to work harder, and to burn more fat.
Get your mind in the game
When the goal is weight loss, diet and exercise is important but never as important as getting your mindset right. If you constantly make excuses, do not expect to achieve your weight loss goals, or cannot visualise yourself at the weight you want to be, it will be unlikely you will reach your goal.
On the other hand, if you focus on making mindful choices daily with your end weight loss goal in mind, practice visualisation and focus your head-talk, a lot of the work will already been done as you work towards dropping a few kilos instead of gaining them this holiday season.
Susie Burrell is a leading dietitian who also holds a Master’s Degree in Coaching Psychology. Susie specialises in weight control and the dietary management of insulin resistance. Follow her at @susiediet