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Posted on 13 Nov 2017 Views 728 Comments 13

Make a change now and don't wait for the New Year

Nutrition and lifestyle tips for surviving the winter

The most common times for starting something ‘new’ or ‘re-evaluating life’ tend to be the New Year, the new financial year in April and the start of the school year in September. It can often be the same with starting a new diet, changing your lifestyle or changing your current diet / lifestyle plan to increase your weight loss. There’s a temptation to get stuck in a rut wait until the next ‘new’ year. I often find that autumn is a strange time of year, sometimes for this reason. The summer is well and truly a distant memory, the kids are all back at school but the next milestone to look forward to is Christmas and the New Year. However, just because the days are getting shorter and colder, and the Christmas season is looming, don’t let this be a reason to wait until the New Year to start your diet. Start it now! Start it today! We thought we’d provide you with some nutrition and lifestyle tips to help you to make that change today and get out of your ‘rut’ - be that stepping up the weight loss, or helping you maintain your weight over the autumn and winter seasons.

Curb the comfort eating

comfort eating in winterThere are two ways we generally find ourselves comfort eating. The first is comfort eating in an attempt to feel happier and sooth the emotions we are feeling, which may be around stress, loneliness and anxiety. Emotional comfort eating is often characterised by craving specific foods or flavours. Studies have found that we tend to eat more energy-dense (fatty and sweet) foods during the autumn, and have concluded this is perhaps driven by the desire to cheer ourselves up.

The second is comfort eating to obtain what the Danish call ‘Hygge’ (pronounced ‘hoo-ga’). This is that feeling of comfort and happiness that we get when we think of toasty winter evenings by the fire and duvet days. Food tends to be a big part of this – those extra evening nibbles, marshmallows around the fire, Christmas food, breakfast in bed.

Go easy on the ‘winter warmers’ and try to resist the temptation to order more takeaways and buy more treat food over the autumn and winter months. Instead, stock up your cupboards and freezer with healthy low calorie foods that you can make healthy meals from, e.g. canned beans / pulses, tinned tomatoes, dried wholewheat pasta and brown rice, frozen vegetables and fruit. If you don’t already plan your meals, it’s a really good idea to start a weekly meal plan. Not only will it save you money, but it will help you to eat more healthily too. Autumn and winter are great months to experiment with slow cooked meals, like stews, casseroles and soups. You could get that same ‘Hygge’ feeling from coming home to the glorious smell of a home-cooked casserole.

Watch the ‘winter warmer’ drinks

Just as we need to watch the ‘winter warmer’ food and treats, we also need to watch the drinks that tend to accompany the autumn and winter seasons. Whilst hot drinks help us keep warm, that can be very high in calories (from both sugar and fat), especially when accompanied by syrups and whipped cream. The table below gives the average calorie content of popular hot drinks from high street cafes (medium drinks, made with whole milk). An average mocha latte contains 360 kcal, equivalent to almost a fifth of your total daily calorie requirement. It’s a good idea to stick to regular tea or coffee, or ask for a ‘skinny’ version (which denotes it is made with skimmed milk) and limit the higher calorie ones for a rare treat.

Also, remember to watch your alcohol intake, as alcoholic drinks contain lots of calories. A double Baileys contains 175 kcal (the equivalent to 7 ½ squares of milk chocolate) while a large glass of wine contains 195 kcal (the equivalent to a slice of sponge cake). Check out our ‘Eating over the festive season’ article which contains information on the calorie content of common festive alcoholic drinks.

Drink Number of calories (kcal) Equivalent food
Beanies: Christmas Pudding / Mulled Wine / Pumpkin Spice Coffee's 2 kcal  
Slim & Save Water Flavourings 5 kcal  
Tea (with milk) 30 kcal  
Americano 30 kcal  
Cappuccino 170 kcal 2 chocolate digestives
Flat white 175 kcal 7 ½ squares of milk chocolate
Latte 200 kcal Large slice of pizza
Chai latte 330 kcal Chocolate muffin
Hot chocolate 350 kcal Cheese sandwich
Mocha latte 360 kcal 4 chocolate hobnobs
Hot chocolate with whipped cream & marshmallows 540 kcal Half a large tube of Pringles

Exercise

The colder weather and shorter days make it harder to find the motivation to exercise. The thought of curling up on the sofa after work can be far more appealing than going for a jog or going to the gym. However, it’s important to remember than exercise is just as important as eating healthily – exercise should not be neglected over the autumn and winter. If you’re finding it hard to get motivated, make some changes to your exercise schedule. If you’d rather stay at home, there is a plethora of fun dance or workout programmes you could do (online or DVD). HIIT (high intensity interval training) workouts are a great way to exercise if you only have 20-30 minutes to exercise. Evidence suggests a 30-min HIIT workout is as effective as an hour long workout. If you usually go running outside, consider a short-term gym membership to tide you over until the spring, go swimming, try indoor classes (e.g. yoga, pilates, spinning) or enlist a friend and look into options for sport in a leisure centre, such as tennis, badminton or swimming.

Surviving Christmas and the party season

Annemarie Aburrow RD BSc (Hons) PGDipAs we start to look forward to the Christmas festivities, it can be daunting, especially if you’re planning to have Christmas in ketosis. However ‘knowledge is power’, and we’ve included lots of top tips on surviving Christmas in one of our previous article - ‘Eating over the festive season’. This article includes how to stay on plan over Christmas, what to do if you take a short break over Christmas, and how to make healthier Christmas food swaps. Reading this now will help you feel empowered and help you plan your approach.

Written by Annemarie Aburrow RD BSc (Hons) PGDip, Slim & Save Dietitian.

How will you handle the festive season?

Let us know in the comments below and you could win these fantastic Bluetooth Scales - Log your weight on your phone! Be sure to leave your comment by Thursday 16th November at 3pm and you could be our chosen comment!

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Comments on Make a change now and don't wait for the New Year
Emily Kew 16/11/2017 13:27
This will be my first Christmas without my husband for 13 years, but I wil get through it and I will not step off the S&S road to good health. I'm going to concentrate on all the fun surrounding Christmas that doesn't involve food, I'm going to view it as an easier time to diet knowing how much I'll be distracted by friends, festive fun, high spirits, glamour, love, presents and family.
Laura Carle 16/11/2017 11:43
Having lost 35lbs and still losing I’m going to approach Christmas cautiously. I’ll be away for a week so plan to take packs with me and to really try and control what I’m eating.
In the lead up to Christmas I have a few nights out and have said I won’t be drinking and got the usual questions so explained that losing weight is more important to me than coming out of ketosis to have drinks and more than likely a hangover. I feel more in control now than I ever have.
John ramshaw 16/11/2017 11:35
I started my slim and save journey in January I got all my overeating out the way over the Christmas season then come January I was ready to make a fresh start.

I wanted to stop looking at the food like it was my enemy and start looking at it like it was my friend, my helper, and my saviour because if I carried on eating the way I was I wouldn't live to see my son grow up, I wouldn't be able to play with him or run around with him so doing the diet was the only way to make a change to my whole lifestyle

I weighed a total of 20st 2lb at my biggest I was unhappy, unhealthy and didn't feel comfortable in myself at all so when my friend introduced me to Slim & Save I thought why not give it a go I've tried the rest

So over the year I've started and stopped the simplicity plan I've lost a total of 5 st I'm now down to 15st 10lb and I want to stay this weight or a little bit less.

My plan to not overindulge over the Xmas period is to know the things I can eat and the things I can't eat.

My partner writes everything down that I eat and whenever I'm tempted by them little naughty treats I simply remove myself from the situation and go into my man cave and play on my ps4
My other half loves it when I go on my computer as she gets a bit of peace hahah

I will continue doing what I have done over the past 11 months and not change anything over the Christmas period.

Of course, I will be eating an Xmas dinner on Xmas day but I won't be overindulging in all the sweets treats and naughty tempting gems that are around me it will be a healthy Christmas dinner with my loved ones around me who support me every day

Good luck to everyone!

We can get through the party season and we all have the support we need on the forums, on FB, on the website and also through friends and family.

We can do this.

Don't let the demons in ur heads get the better of u if u sway off plan that's ok just get straight back onto it don't give in.

Hope u all have a wonderful Christmas xx
Vicki Smith 16/11/2017 10:42
I decided from starting S&S in April that I would lose as much as possible before Christmas so I could enjoy the festive season off plan. Now it is inching closer, and i've lost a few pounds short of 7st i'm thinking now what's the point of ruining my hard work, and setting myself up for bad eating habits just "because its Christmas"? We can still enjoy this time of year by substituting those high carb/calorie treats such as coffees with the Beanies ones, hearty winter stews and soups are still do-able, and there are so many recipes that can be adapted and made Slim & Save friendly! And i'll be treating myself in other ways - getting my hair and nails done, buying myself some snuggly (and much smaller!) pyjamas and lighting some festive candles. So while the turkeys around me are getting stuffed, i'll keep on trimming my figure and enjoy this magical time of year the S&S way!
Heather Avery 15/11/2017 17:54
I decided to make a change now, I didnt want to start another January with the same demoralising resolution of loosing weight. I turn 40 next year and I want to be in the best place both physically and emotionally ahead of that. I have 5lbs to go to my goal now and I know that with SnS not only can I reach that but also maintain a healty BMI going forward.
This way of eating has honestly been life changing for me thank you !
natalie holland 15/11/2017 10:49
i have dieted on and off for over 3 years now and the one thing I have found helps me over the winter months when I don't feel like going for a run is sticking on my insanity dvd's and doing them in the livingroom. every other day of this is a god send and the HIIT is a life saver because I am a single parent with 2 demanding young children. so a 30 min HIIT session is brilliant. my favourite hot drink too is mulled wine. but as this is high in calories I have found the beanies irish cream to be just as inviting. and for someone who is a huge baileys fan, this is the best invention ever. Xmas is all about irish cream. yummy!

I am planning on sticking with this plan throughout xmas apart from xmas eve and xmas day. possibly even boxing day. but still on those days off I will watch my portion sixes and not eat the wrong stuff.

Christmas will still be fun for me because I know I have SnS :)
Lorna Law 15/11/2017 09:01
I think we are placed under pressure to overeat at Christmas lunches etc. Really though it is our bodies and our decision what goes in then. At office lunches etc don’t feel pressured to eat what you don’t want to. Many of us were brought up to “clear our plates.” This is a mindset we need to get out of and there really is no need to eat dessert, just say oh I’ve had enough I will just have a coffee please.
Alcohol can also lead us astray as I know if I have a drink then I immediately want nibbles too so if you drive take the car instead to abstein.
The festive period usually means a lot of treats about the house that maybe aren’t usually there. Tell your friends and family NOW that you don’t want food or alcohol gifts and instead would prefer beauty products, a new book, bubble bath etc. Whatever is special to you. Treats to ourselves do not need to be edible.
Lastly, I find more takeaways get ordered too the week between Christmas and new year. If my family have a takeaway I make myself a coffee and go got a long hot bath. I ask them to put all leftovers either in the freezer or the bin if not worth saving so I am not tempted to pick at them.
The thought of buying a smaller size in the January sales is spurring me on.
Good luck everyone, let’s be Christmas crackers rather than Christmas puddings ❤️
Helen Claire 14/11/2017 19:09
I have spent the last 10 years on and off diets and always ending up back at the same weight. Sometimes I think other people have more of a problem about my size than I do. That is....until I want to go and buy something special to wear or see photos, which is rare as I generally avoid the camera! I have always joined in with activities with my 3 active boys and husband but know deep down there would be more I could enjoy if I lost some weight.
This September a work colleague joined slim and save and a week later after seeing his results I joined too. I love it. I have had some occasions where I've had to come off plan but have found it easy to get back again. I'm now 2 stone lighter in 9 weeks and am aiming for another half (if not more) before Christmas. I am going to keep to plan as much as possible and fit my Christmas parties around the plan. I will need to come out of ketosis nearer Christmas but it doesn't worry me as I know I will be able to commit again after and also even out of ketosis I can work to the 5/2 plan and hopefully keep the losses going. This is the first time ever I have been fully in control of my eating and just that fact keeps me motivated. If I do maintain one week it doesn't matter because with SnS I know it'll be gone again in no time. For me this is a lifetime change to my eating habits.
Lydia reid 14/11/2017 13:39
I plan on staying on track over Christmas and not being derailed by treats - instead, I plan on treating myself to non-food things, a nice new pair of smaller jeans, perfume etc

Ultimately no amount of chocolates and wine is worth derailing my hard work!

On a practical note for me, that means stocking up on Coke Zero and Zero vanilla my favourites. Having indulgent packs like a brownie for dessert and cooking my favourite veg like Brussels and courgette! Feeling positive and working towards my goals rather than seeing it as deprivation!

Will be enjoying a big wine glass of Coke Zero, beautiful vegetables and my usual packs on the big day! A nice melted centre brownie in the evening with the family! Sounds like an. Indulgent on plan Xmas to me!
Sarah Wade 14/11/2017 13:06
I started the plan intending to try it for 2 months which takes me to 20 December. For various reasons I’d put on more weight and needed to make a fast change!

I’ve planned to have a couple of days off over Christmas but apart from Christmas Day where we’re having dinner at a restaurant, we’re self catering so will hopefully stay relatively low carb.

My 2 month plan was because I really didn’t know if I’d be able to stick to vlcd for any longer than that! I’m nearly 3 weeks in and am enjoying it so much that I’ll be restarting after Christmas. I don’t drink anymore anyway and haven’t enjoyed New Year’s Eve for years so shouldn’t find missing booze a problem!

I have the odd Christmas meal out planned and I think that’s the key, yes I’m going to have that one meal out, make the best choices I can but get straight back to it the next day!

It does help that I have an incredibly supportive doctor who encouraged me in my desire to try the plan, not only for the weight loss benefits but also to help my randomly variable blood sugar, which has in last few weeks dropped to almost normal levels!

I think if I hadn’t started now I’d have been in a much worse place in the new year with health issues etc, and now I can look forward to Christmas knowing that I’ll weigh less at the end of the year than I did at the start!

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