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Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year, New Start

How fabulous is the feeling that a brand shiny New Year is on its way? An opportunity to start afresh, with clear diaries and with the potential to build and work towards a successful, fulfilling 2013. Whether you are looking for the year ahead to be better than the last; or wanting it is signify change and different life directions or simply just to cement and enjoy what you have already created, there are few people who do not begin a new year without some hopes, dreams and wishes for the next 12 months. When it comes to diets and weight control, a New Year also means magazine covers packed with new diet tips and tricks to drop a few kg quickly; specials on weight loss products and programs that are heavily promoted to compliment the number one New Year’s Resolution for weight loss.

Unfortunately, come January 1st, and the accompanying hangover or general lethargy from a previous 4 week period spent overeating and under exercising, few of us run with the momentum of a New Year when  it comes to taking control of our diets. So, if you are really serious about taking control of your weight and dropping a few kg in early 2013 here are the steps you need to take.

1) Get organised after Boxing Day
None of this waiting until January 1st, then January 8th to get your diet on track – if you are really serious this time around, you need to set the wheels in motion straight after Christmas. This means throwing away your high calorie Christmas leftovers, starting to exercise immediately and committing some time while you have time on holidays to make a plan of attack for a fit and healthy 2013.

2) Make a plan
While it may sound like the obvious thing to do, you would be surprised how many people who claim to want to lose weight, have no idea about how they are going to do it. Spend some time considering what will be the best exercise program for you and the best way to approach your diet. Identify which days of the week you will exercise, how you will balance your calorie intake and what support structures you will need to help you keep focused and on track. Most importantly, spend time writing these strategies down – goals are significantly more likely to be achieved when they are documented and reviewed on a regular basis.

3) Start calorie counting
Individuals who want to lose weight lose more weight when they keep a log of their calories compared to dieters who do not. The week post-Christmas is the perfect time to start to reflect on how many calories you are having on a daily basis, and identify the key times you may need to cut back. As a general rule of thumb, adult women will need 1200-1500 calories a day for weight loss, and adult males 1600-1800 calories each day, although naturally this may differ depending on age, activity levels and hormonal issues.

4) Rally support
Human beings are naturally social creatures and also become like those people who they spend their time with. This means that if the people that you spend the most time with are fit and healthy, chances are, you will too. On the other hand, if your family, friends or even work colleagues are an unhealthy bunch, and you are trying to lose weight, it may prove a little more challenging. For this reason, if one of your goals for 2013 is to lose weight and keep it off, you need to identify and recruit your support team. Whether it is your partner, bestie, adult child or neighbor, seek out someone to help keep you on track, to exercise and eat well with and your weight control journey will become a whole lot easier.

5) Adopt ‘acceptance’ as an attitude
Often clients will come and claim to be lacking ‘motivation’, and then use this motivation deficit as the excuse as to why they have not achieved the diet and exercise targets that will help them to lose weight. So, here is the key – the sooner you stop looking for the ever elusive motivation to take control of your weight, and rather accept that eating well and exercising regularly most of the time for the rest of your life is what you need to do to take control of your weight, for good, the sooner you will do so. It is safe to say that if you are one of the many who struggle with your weight, you are not a naturally motivated person when it comes to your diet and exercise. There is no issue with this, we are all different and have our own strengths and weaknesses but simply accept that you are not a celebrity trainer and get on with it. The sooner the better and lets move into a fit, healthy and most importantly happy 2013.

Why did I write The Monday to Friday Diet?

Why on earth would a dietitian write a ‘diet’ book – we know that diets do not work. Well, for some of us they work initially but the research shows that strict diets do not work long term. Inevitably once we have cut back our calories for a few weeks and lost a few kg, unless we keep pretty focused, exercise for an hour a day and follow a 1300 calorie diet, most of the time, the weight always creeps back on – depressing isn’t it?

So, now I should clarify, The Monday to Friday Diet is not a ‘diet’ as such, but a way to approach our busy (and getting busier) working weeks so that we have some clear food and exercise rules with which to build strong lifestyle habits. Once we have these habits, taking control over our week and ultimately our food intake over the course of the week helps us to manage our calorie intake and commit to moving our bodies, for life. And that, put simply, is the secret to weight control.

Now this concept is not only relevant to the Monday to Friday working peeps out there – balancing food intake and exercise throughout any week can be challenging for working women, full time mums, shift workers, those juggling study and work, travel or life in general. We are all dealing with intense time demands, traffic, huge family and social commitments and an increasing need to move well and eat less. For this reason The Monday to Friday Diet offers you the specific strategies you need to deal with all of these demands and pressures. The Monday to Friday approach shows you how to adjust your calories on different days of the week, how to deal with your food and exercise when you travel, how to control your calories but still enjoy your weekend, how to get balance over your food, your body and your busy, busy week.

Ultimately we all want to eat tasty food and enjoy a busy fulfilling life, a big part of which is coming together over food with those closest to us. Unfortunately for many of us, our weight and our bodies become a victim to this lifestyle and so it is time to take control. The Monday to Friday Diet will show you how to do that – with food plans, recipes and plenty of tricks and tips, you will wonder how you ever got through the working week without it.

For the past 12 years I have spent much time with my clients helping them to work through the juggles and demands of their busy weeks, and develop strategies to continue to eat well and exercise no matter what their weeks look like. I have brought together these recipes, strategies and ideas to help you do the same. I look forward to hearing how the Monday to Friday Diet helps you to take charge of your week and ultimately your weight and health too.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A letter to my clients this Christmas

You know I love you all dearly – many of you I have seen for many months if not years and know you often as well as I know my own friends. I also often know your family as well as your friends who you have also sent to see me over the years so they too can learn to take control of their food, their body and their lives. I even feel great affection for those of you who skip your weigh in’s, who forget to text me your weight each week and even those who seem to come down with a cold every time the weekend eating and drinking became a little too much. I have seen you at your worst, often when you are most vulnerable and in general I feel privileged that you trust me to look after your weight and your diet.

But, I do have one request a mere few days before Christmas – please, please, please can you remember how hard we have worked together, how great our gains have been and not let it all go to waste?

Please don’t take this the wrong way; of course I want you to enjoy Christmas with your friends and family and indulge a little. Of course you are going to eat a little more than you should be eating and you are also likely to skip some of your training due to other commitments or family holidays.

You know what though? Such changes to your food and training schedules do not have to mean weight gain, at worst they should only result in no weight loss over the next couple of weeks.

If though you are viewing the holidays as an opportunity to throw all your hard work out the window, binge eat every morsel of food that crosses your path, opt to move your body as little as possible and see Christmas as a 4 week break rather than a special day or two, things are not looking great. Not only are you likely to regain significant amounts of weight as your body becomes overwhelmed by carbs, sugars and calories that it has been learning to live without but you are also likely to find it extremely difficult to lose this what all over again as your body’s cells start to tell you that they are sick and tired of these food games.

You know how good you feel when you are on track with your food and training, and you know how much better the start of a new year will be if you also start it feeling amazing. I promise I will be there for you all in January, helping to direct and motivate you for the year ahead but I need you to consider my needs to – and I need you to remember the foundations of what we have built together and give them the respect they deserve.

With Much Love and Kind Thoughts at Christmas

Your Devoted Dietitian