In Health and Fitness


My hand is up, I have to admit, I’ve fallen off the healthy eating rails this Christmas and my waistline has expanded. I enjoyed every minute of eating all the good things over the festive period in England with my family but now I need to cut back on the naughtiness – so if you’re anything like me January is the time to make a plan about how to lose weight you may have put on over Christmas –  before the spare tyre around our middles becomes of interest to Dunlop.

How to lose weight you may have put on over Christmas

I think many of you will agree that a strict diet for life is probably just not possible (unless you have a life threatening condition) and that sometimes life in general just gets in the way of  making healthy eating choices.

Although I’ve been beating myself up a little about indulging just a little too wildly, I think that we should accept it’s ok if you fall off the rails once in a while,  as long as you get the train back on track as quickly as possible.

How to lose weight after a little too much indulgence

Catherine Saxelby at Foodwatch has written 10 books about healthy eating and special diets, including “Catherine Saxelby’s Food and Nutrition Companion”.  I met Catherine a few years ago at a blogging conference in Sydney. She’s an accredited nutritionist, dietitian, and blogger for busy women who want to eat right, lose weight and boost their energy.

Catherine has this to say about keeping motivated to lose accumulate kilos …

“The secret of successful weight loss is the creation of habits that help – not hinder – you achieve your weight loss goals. Motivation may get you started, but it’s habits that keeps you going. If you always bolt a meal down as if it were your last, that’s a habit that sets you up to overeat more than you probably need. Doesn’t matter whether it’s low-kilojoule salad or high-fat tiramisu, eating fast is not a habit to cultivate (another good reason not to buy fast food which is often eaten fast).”

Here’s my weight loss plan

So for me  it’s goodbye to heavy roast meals, pies, pastries, mince pies, puddings, cake, chocolate and my sister’s scrummy home-made Christmas pudding (below), and hello to lots of veggies, lean meats, salads and fruit in calorie controlled portions.

How to Lose weight you may have put on over Christmas

  • I’ll be eating interesting salads – with a little home made dressing. I particularly like mixing natural yoghurt with grainy mustard and lemon juice to add to garden salads.
  • I’ll be cutting back on sugar, saturated fats, bread and simple carbohydrates.
  • I’ll be eating chicken in favour of red meat.
  • If I do eat red meat it will be be lean cut and portion controlled – the size of my palm.
  • I’ll be eating controlled amounts of dairy products for the sake of my bones. Find out here, How much dairy food do we need after the age of  50
  • I’ll be eating a variety of steamed vegetables.
  • I’ll be saying ‘no’ to the frying pan whenever possible.
  • I’ll be eating an apple a day – because I love Apples and believe they do keep the doctor away!
  • I’ll be eating mindfully – not gulping things down and remembering to chew – lots.
  • Wine and alcohol will be limited to small amounts on social occasions only.
  • I’ll replace my ‘sundowner’ glass of wine with a tall glass of soda, lime and bitters (without lemonade).
  • I’ll enjoy fruit instead of puddings, sweets or lollies.

How to Lose weight you may have put on over Christmas

How to lose weight the healthy way – create life-long good eating habits.

Here are 10 tips from Catherine to help achieve some life-long good eating habits, which are no nonsense to help us all from straying too far from the healthy path and to get us back in shape if we’ve been over-indulging.

1.  Sit down to eat

2.  Eat slowly – eat for enjoyment

3.  No mindless eating – no reading while you’re eating, no computer, no TV either.

4.  Don’t upsize your portions – eat small portions, regularly. Eating generates heat and energy and speeds up your metabolism.

5.  Don’t serve your meals up at the table -plate food in the kitchen and try not to leave serving platters or dishes on the table.

6.  Never nibble while cooking – beware the hiddne kilojoules you’re eating. Rather cook on a full stomach if possible.

7 . Planning is the key to healthy eating and healthy weight loss – have something in the fridge or freezer that you can cook when you come home tired. If you’re going out, take a salad box or sandwich with you so you don’t have to buy fast food.

8.  Make your fridge weight loss friendly  –  Fill your fridge with food to make your weight loss eating plan easy – low-fat milk, low-fat yoghurt, vegetables, salad ingredients, tomatoes, chilled water, cold meats, hard-boiled eggs.

9.  You don’t have to eat everything on your plate – and if you’re out ask the waiter to put the rest in a doggie bag or share a dish with a friend.Remember to stop halfway through your meal and ask yourself: “Am I full now? Have I had enough?” Stopping eating when your stomach signals it’s full is so hard to do but it’s the secret of lifelong slimness and healthy weight loss.

10.  Out of sight, out of mind and off the hips! – keep high-temptation foods out of sight – in containers at the back of your cupboard or in the refrigerator.

If you’d like to read more from Catherine’s on this subject, then have a squizz at  “Top 10 Weight Loss Secrets of Highly Successful Losers

Catherine suggest we should think ‘long term’ rather than ‘short term.’

“Think in weeks or months, not one week. Your excess weight crept on gradually and that’s the best way for it to come off – gradually. That way, you won’t trigger your body’s ‘fast and famine’ mode.”

And with regard to falling from weight loss grace at times like Christmas, use the 90/10 rule.

“Don’t give up all treats and favourite foods – just keep them small and occasional. If 90 per cent of your intake is healthy, then the remaining 10 per cent of an occasional ‘treat’ won’t derail your efforts. And the odd treat will stop you feeling deprived and less likely to pig out and binge. One chocolate won’t ‘spoil’ a healthy diet – but the whole box will,” says Catherine.

Tip: In my quest to lose my spare tyre, I’ve signed up to My Fitness Pal, a free tool which is great for keeping track of what you eat, and finding out how many calories you’re consuming as well as charting your exercise and giving you an indication of how many calories you’ve burned off. Perhaps you’ll find it useful too?

How to Lose weight you may have put on over Christmas

Exercise for good health

I was doing quite well on the exercise stakes until around the 21st December, managing to get in at least an hour a day pounding the streets of our suburb or scrunching along the beach at Westward Ho in Devon, above. What I neglected to do was squeeze in a bit of regular exercise once friends and family arrived in England.

Walking around London at night was lovely, but followed by a 5 course meal in Chinatown probably really didn’t count!

How to Lose weight you may have put on over Christmas

Catherine on the other hand has this to say …

“Squeeze in ANY exercise when you can. Walking is excellent. Not only does walking help you keep the weight off, it also helps you unwind and clear the brain. Remember: ANY exercise is better than none!”

Which I guess was what a beautiful stroll through the woods on Chorleywood Common, near London, was all about, below.

How to Lose weight you may have put on over Christmas

I’ll check back in with you in a few weeks and let you know how it’s all going. But in the meantime, do tell …

Have you fallen off the rails over the festive season? What tips do you have for getting into shape again?

NB: As always healthy eating and weight loss posts on Lifestyle Fifty are meant only as a guide and an example of what I’m finding out or trying to do to maintain a healthy weight. They do not constitute medical advice.

P.S. Follow along on Instagram and Facebook for more pics and travel inspiration from our family holiday in England

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Showing 2 comments
  • [email protected]

    You are a champ Jo for having maintained a pretty good exercise routine during a cold English winter! Thank you for sharing all of your great strategies. Apart from increasing my daily vege intake, I’m committing to eating solely from the garden one day per fortnight. This will limit me to eggs and veges (until the passionfruit ripen!) on those days. If I can, I’ll increase this to 1 day per week. This will make me have a regular light eating day, and also motivate me to ensure I look after my garden! Wishing you a wonderful 2017.

    • Johanna

      Thanks Jo! I love your strategy of eating only from the garden one day per fortnight – go you! I’m all for healthy eating and a low carbon footprint.

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