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Step away from the New Year weight loss.

I was helping my son get ready for school this week, and we discovered that his school trousers would no longer do up.

"Oooh, looks like you've done some growing in the holiday!" I said, to which he retorted;

"Well, yeah... it IS 2019"

Of course. Silly me. How could I not have considered that.

On reflection I realised that this is exactly what I would like to say to most people who come to me concerned about festive weight gain.

Why the New Year Diet?


There's two types of New Year dieters.

The first type had resolved to get on a new health kick, to address some unhealthy habits or lose a bit of weight, probably before Christmas. But they left it until New Year, because that's a nice milestone to work with and starting a new regime in the chaos of the holidays is just asking for trouble - it's easier to build routine and discipline when things have calmed down a bit.

The others have gained weight over the holidays, and are now worrying about losing it again.

Of course you've gained weight over Christmas!


That's what Christmas is for. I mean literally, it's a big midwinter feast where you eat a load of your stored food before it goes off and get to be a little cheered and pack on a bit of a fat store for the hard couple of months before the first harvests come in again. Food isn't just about nutrition, it's also about culture, and the culture in Christmas-celebrating regions (and a good few others) is that we get together and get fat.

But you won't stay that way forever. Unless you are planning on eating Quality Street for breakfast and substituting Irish Cream for milk in every beverage and also your breakfast cereal (for second breakfast) right through the year.

We are expected to do this. Refuse a mince pie on a family visit, at the office or from a sticky child at a school fundraiser, and people will react like you just slapped their Nan.

The inevitable result of the extra consumption of calorie-dense foods and alcohol, along with travel, spending a lot of time watching TV, the gym being open at odd hours and generally breaking your usual routines, is that you gain a bit of weight.

The shame of the inevitable.


So you indulge, because you are expected to, and also it's fun, it's just a week or so in your year, you've probably earned it. You've spent time with your family, even the awful ones, and you've generated a large amount of cheer. Nothing wrong with that. Until....

It's January, and everywhere you look everyone is pointing out what a dreadful person you are for not defying the laws of thermodynamics and succumbing to.... dum dum duuuuuum... a bit of festive plumpness.

How very dare you!

You're a terrible person for not looking like an underwear model at all times. You clearly have no self discipline and you shall be punished by making the hardest most depressing part of the year more miserable with ridiculous diet and exercise regimes.

What if I told you...


Your body composition is a direct reflection of the way you have consistently lived in recent times.

You exercise regularly, you'll have strength and cardiovascular fitness. You eat an appropriate amount for your activity levels, your weight will stay stable.

It's really not that complicated.

You spend a month going to parties, munching through selection boxes in the office, hanging on the sofa watching the entire Home Alone box-set, your body will centre itself around that.

But...

You return to your routines of regular exercise and daily activity, you don't eat past the feeling of satiety, you eat your vegetables and your protein and you drink liquids that are neither alcoholic or high sugar... Your body will naturally shift back to how it was when you previously lived that way.

Or to put it even more simply, if you want your pre-Christmas body back, you just need to return to your pre-Christmas lifestyle and let your body do its thing.

No weird tricks


I dislike the concept of dieting, because it suggests that making a harsh and complete change for a short while, will change your body and then you can carry on (sometimes in the mythical "maintenance").

You don't need to "fix" your body by punishing yourself for a few months, what most people need is to fix their lifestyle to healthily support their fitness goals. Once that is in place, their body follows.

If you feel you are ready to make a change towards a healthier and happier time in your body, that's brilliant. I work with motivated people who want to make lifelong changes to their habits, their health, and yes, to their body. 

But I'll never shame you for taking an entirely predictable time out to celebrate, or the consequences of that. It's 2019 after all, we should know better by now.



Need a kick start?


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Making big changes is scary, Lotus Bloom coaching is nutrition and lifestyle coaching for long term, sustainable change. I take on a small number of clients who I support through a life changing 12 month process. Claim your spot now.

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