So many people keep telling me they have hit the ‘pause’ button regarding fitness & nutrition just because it’s Christmas soon, and I kind of get it but really it doesn’t have to be this way!
If you throw caution to the wind for a month every December, promising to make it all up in the cold, dark, depressing days of January, then you can guarantee you are in for a life of steadily increasing weight gain, as its a whole lot harder to lose it than to gain it!
It is very possible to indulge, and enjoy Christmas, without taking yourself all the way back down that road again though.
So here are some top tips, and they really aren’t killjoy tips, I promise!
In fact, if you feel awesome and energised and haven’t let a whole load of unwanted weight accumulate you will surely enjoy the New Year a whole lot more?
And January is categorically the worst time ever to be on a diet!
TIP 1: Move EVERY DAY!
5-10 mins of something just for you – that can also be your oasis amidst the chaos and keep you connected and centred….
See my article with some links to resources you can use to show you what to do: http://www.perfectfitforlife.com/2012/12/festive-chaos/
TIP 2: Move EVERY DAY!
Yep, the same tip! This time its about getting out with whoever you are spending time with this Christmas and WALK! Long, luscious walks before or after meals, or even both, help you to work up a healthy appetite (food is so much nicer when you are actually hungry and not just adding more to a sickly store of cheap chocolate, is it not?!) and help you digest your meal and also divert that energy to your muscles rather than your fat stores.
You know it will make you feel better and it so can be part of the festive fun – totally no excuse!
TIP 3: Drink lots of water
We all know it and we often don’t do it, but now more than ever get drinking up on the H20! Dehydration from over indulging on the booze is an obvious one, but there are other reasons to hit the bottle. We frequently have the urge to nibble, feeling a little peckish, but in fact we really need pure, clear water! Drink first, if you still want that treat, have it, you will likely not have quite so much as you have satisfied your real need.
Coconut water is awesome for rehydrating (way better than commercial sports drinks and has the same effect, for best results go to a tropical island and drink straight from the nut!) and the best hangover recovery tool ever! You can get it everywhere now, check out the juice section of your local supermarket. Much lower in sugar than the smoothies that are less innocent than they look, too.
TIP 4: De-stress & find space
This links to Tip 1, finding 5-10 mins in a hectic day where its you-time can help you remember what it’s all about and stay calm amidst the chaos of shopping, spending, relatives etc….
There are some great meditation tracks and apps you can get – simply putting a set of headphones on and sitting somewhere a bit out of the way and you can create a meditation haven. Just a few minutes is so mentally refreshing and will save you time in the long run….
We often stress eat, and when food is all around us and so festive, then we are more likely to indulge. Reduce the stress and at least when you do eat its for other reasons, not just to make yourself feel better (which it never really achieves, does it?)
TIP 5: When you do indulge, choose the Festive treats!
This might sound a bit obvious, but bear with me on this…
You can eat muffins from Costa all year round, but Christmas cake comes around once a year only!
So for the month of December, leave all your normal treats behind and ONLY allow yourself festive things that are only around at this time of year.
Ideally save them to as near the big event as you can, but this tip really can save you some calories in the long run!
TIP 6: Make the ‘boring’, non-celebratory meals as healthy as you can!
This is a big one actually. If you are having a works lunch and out with friends for dinner, set yourself up with a protein and veg based breakfast, such as a vegetable omelette. Don’t fall into the trap of letting it all go just because some of it has gone awry.
The ‘all or nothing’ attitude is not a good one to have – yet many people come to me bragging they are so all or nothing! This means as soon as you are not 100% on it you have an excuse to submerge yourself in indulgence till you are ready to emerge for a little more of your 100%!
If you have a massive, indulgent breakfast, that doesn’t mean you ‘might as well’ have some cake and a stodgy lunch! Balance things out a bit!
Think about those people who you think can eat all they want and not get fat, then think carefully about their habits. Do they really ‘eat all they want’? Or do they eat what they want, have as much as they need without gorging, and balance it out by eating lighter later or the next day?
Think of making 1 or 2 meals a day the healthiest you can – seafood, meat, eggs, loads of vegetables and some fruits / nuts – and then enjoy the indulgences!
TIP 7: Eat and Enjoy!
This is the final element of my SIMPLE Nutrition System.
Enjoy eating healthy foods – be creative and feel how good they are for you. BUT….
Also enjoy the indulgences! Don’t EVER feel guilty about it! If you overate, so what? It doesn’t make you a bad person, it makes you human! Get over it, and come from a place of love, not self-hatred, when it comes to eating.
Food is social and that is OK (whereas using it to numb pain or de stress is not really as OK as there are other, better ways of addressing those things).
Coming from a loving, accepting place is the first step to getting a really good relationship with food going. You can eat healthy stuff because you know it feels and tastes good, but you can also eat things deemed less than perfect and not beat yourself up about it – which also means you don’t end up obsessing over those foods or on a binge…
That’s enough for now – hope you find these top tips useful!
So have a fab Christmas and New Year!
This is a revelation!
Thanks to the Clean Food Coach and Charles Poliquin for posting this recipe, you can visit the links or see my summary below….
Just before I start, I mentioned to my husband I wanted to try this out and he basically said ‘please don’t'…. So of course, I did it anyway (buying actual pizza ingredients and promising that we will make home-made real pizza soon….) and he was more impressed than I think I have ever seen him over one of my meals – and than includes things that took way more time and effort than this, and included carbs!
So, this was a hit. Try it!
1 medium head cauliflower
Herbs – I used mixed herbs, probably a tablespoon
Grated cheese about 25-50g (I just did what I had)
Salt (celtic or himalayan) and pepper
Grate the cauliflower or pulse it in a good blender to make a ricey texture (you have to blend cooked cauliflower with an actual hand blender to get mash consistency).
Mix cauliflower and other ingredients.
Roll onto a greased baking tray – I did 2 small bases, we used a tiny cauliflower and was OK for two, would use a bigger one next time for sure…
Bake at 180 degrees (we have gas now I did gas mark 7 I think, still confused about gas) for 25-30 mins, or until nicely browned.
Take out of the oven and top to your heart’s content, then put back in the oven (or grill) for 5-10 mins to finish.
I did some passata & tomato paste, with loads of chicken and bacon (pre-cooked) with pesto then topped with mozzarella. Served with roasted asparagus and garlic butter spinach. Yum. Feeling hungry thinking about it.
Didn’t take a pic but should have done – the one above is from a site detailing the recipes (slightly different to mine) who made it Hawaiian style.
Yoga classes coming soon!
Read Caroline’s Om Yoga Article – Yoga for Fat Loss
Classes coming soon to Mudeford, Christchurch & Southampton - contact us to be put on the waiting list or if you have a requirement in terms of time and location as we are looking into the options at the moment!
Caroline’s style of yoga teaching is Fluid Vinyasa Yoga, a dynamic series of poses building strength, stamina, creating a solid and lean core, releasing tight areas for optimal posture and alignment.
Yoga perfectly complements kettlebell and resistance training – providing another way to build strength and ‘tone up’ whilst also providing a way to recover from training and address any tight areas. This means you get even more out of your training sessions!
You can do 121 yoga sessions, arrange for a private small group at a convenient location, and classes are coming soon – please get in touch if you would like to be on the waiting list!
I had pretty much decided not to buy any more Jamie Oliver books after finding Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals a disappointment – the creation of full meals including lots of starches and indulgent desserts for general weekday fare put me off, as did the fact that in order to extract the paleo / lower carb / Fit Body Fix compliant elements of each meal was complicated by the way all the recipes and instructions were all of the elements intertwined so just preparing the main course and adjusting the sides to suit was more complicated than it was worth.
I assumed that Jamie’s 15 Minute Meals would be the same, just quicker, but its a lot more impressive and I recommend you grab a copy and try some of the recipes, with a few tweaks to make them Fit Body Fix compliant!
Firstly, each meal is the kind of thing you could see yourself doing / eating for a weekday dinner (some more lunchy) or weekend brunch. While 15 minutes is not strictly kitchen door to dining room door, they are all simple and quick and easily within 30 minutes – as Jamie says its not a race. With practice you will get many of them down to 15 I am sure.
While it might seem some have a lot of ingredients and you might be a bit put off for a quick weekday dinner, in reality most are pretty simple, using herbs and spices tactically to get maximum flavour from pretty simple and nutritious ingredients (for the most part, depending on your view point…).
There is always a starchy carb element, and in general that means there will need to be tweaks for those on a low carb / paleo / Fit Body Fix nutrition plan, but in fact the switches are pretty easy.
Although all the instructions are, as for Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals, for all the elements of the meal, rather than per actual dish, as he’s not including a dessert element it’s far easier to modify to suit varying needs. And it means you don’t make your dinner being faced with a picture of a lovely, indulgent, sugar laden dessert which is an added bonus!
In general, my suggestions for carb switches, that can be applied to Jamie’s 15 Minute Meals, are as follows:
Replace with cauliflower mash, adding butternut squash or celeriac for a nice twist. Note that you steam the veg first (squash needs peeling for mash but not for roasting!) and then you need to use a stick blender not a mashing tool to puree – if you simply mash it it is more like rice – a great rice alternative done that way but if you want mash consistency gotta use the blender!
As mentioned above, you can ‘rice’ cauliflower by mashing with a fork or masher. I prefer it pureed so will tend to use that in place of rice for curries etc, personally.
Fries / Chips / Roast Potatoes:
Roast chip-shape celeriac or sweet potato (for a more starchy option) in olive oil – either spray on using a pump action spray (fill it up yourself using good quality oil – extra virgin for raw on salads, use the lighter stuff for cooking) or put on a small amount and shake the veg around in something to coat thinly). Paprika goes really well on celeriac chips.
Roasting butternut squash is a fab alternative to roasted potatoes / chips etc, just chop into cubes (dice I guess) and steam first for a bit if you like, and roast in olive oil as per the instructions above.
Noodles / Pasta:
Courgetti spaghetti! Using a spiraliser or mandolin, make noodles or thin strips out of the courgette and lightly steam then add to the recipe. Delicious!
There are also noodles called Shirataki or Konjac noodles used by svelte Japanese women – these are carb-free as they are pure fibre! They sell them in our local Chinese supermarket, and also online.
Bread / Wraps:
My awesome Psyllium Pankcakes are the way forward here! 1-2 eggs, the equivalent amount of water, about a heaped tablespoon of psyllium per egg (experiment to get a thick batter). Make sure you heat the omelette pan with coconut oil beforehand so as soon as you have mixed you can pour into the pan. Cook till slightly crispy round the edges (any sooner and it won’t flip!) and cook the other side. If its too soggy just cook through it and usually its salvagable – too soggy is usually too much water vs egg and the other thing is too thicck if you leave it even a few seconds after mixing or if you use too much psyllium.
For the recipes where there is some crazy bread option or ‘serve with crusty bread’ I would personally just skip that to be honest. You could get some sourdough rye if you like if you are OK with the carbs but want to avoid the wheat side of things.
I often just have a pile of salad in place of where the usual carb option would be. Chilli is lovely with just a crisp, juicy salad and some home-made guacamole – who needs the boring rice bit anyway?!
Spinach is another good one – especially with curries. If we order curry I will cook up a load of spinach (from frozen, always have some in the freezer for emergencies!) and have that in stead of the carb element.
Cauliflower is a great potato alternative – steamed in florets it can replace potatoes in Spanish Omelettes, and you can roast the same potato-sized chunks in place of roast potatoes.
Its about knowing the good alternatives and just giving it a go in place, as well as choosing recipes that make it easy, especially initially. I would say this book would certainly give you a good few new recipes for your repertoire though!
Would love to hear your ideas on switches or your thoughts if you have tried any of these!
A good goal is to start with trying these alternatives 2-3 times a week. Soon you will realise these are nicer than the boring pasta / rice options!
We are having Swedish Meatballs with celeriac & cauliflower mash (p.78) tonight, Mustard Lamb with cauliflower & butternut squash mash (p. 112) tomorrow and Asian Fish with courgetti noodles (p.126) Sunday. And sometime next week I’m really looking forward to the Steak, Liver & Bacon with mash (p.74). Also planning on Fritatta Arnold Bennett (p. 140) next weekend (sadly not enough time for brunches this weekend otherwise that would be the plan!).
This is actually the first time I have felt inspired to try several recipes in a row as often a recipe book will be more for entertaining or special occasions.
Thanks for this one, Jamie!
People often assume that cutting out refined carbohydrates, starches and sugars from their day to day diet that this means they are going ‘low carb’ and that is bad.
This is wrong on both counts!
Firstly, low carb is a huge spectrum, and most people do eat way too many carbs, and, more importantly, way too many of the carbs that aren’t really benefiting them at all.
I personally don’t do well with too many carbs – many people who seem to gain weight easily are in the same boat – logical really, as we are in a carb heavy environment and most foods that are easy to get are carb-based. Others do fine on more, but I still recommend ALL clients, no matter what their goals, replace refined carbohydrates such as rice, pasta, bread, cakes, pastries etc, with another food source.
The reason being, that if you load your plate up with pasta, rice or potatoes, then you are missing out on what you really should be loading your plate with – VEGETABLES!!!
There are so many awesome alternatives to the traditional carb in your meal that can be just as nice, more interesting and varied, and give you a mega nutritional bang for your buck!
Refined carbs actually take more nutrients from your body than they provide – they are known as ‘vitamin robbers’. Sugar especially, it also depresses your immune system (which is why we get ill around Christmas!)
If you replace the pasta in your spaghetti bolognese with courgetti spaghetti, or cauliflower puree or ‘rice’ you will get fewer calories, way fewer carbs, but more importantly, way more nutrients!
There are loads of top vegetable alternatives in the Fit Body Fix nutrition guide. Celeriac chips, for example, are amazing and go well with a lovely juicy steak (sorry vegetarians, but you are missing out there!) and some salad or green veg. Butternut squash is also awesome roasted in place of potatoes or mashed with cauliflower (great with fish).
Thinking differently about what a meal consists of is the key here! Carbs are the tiny little add on if you need or really want it – not the centre piece! Vegetables are the main event, with a good portion of high quality protein. Always get some green veg in (people often go for all the starchy veg – carrots, peas, celeriac, squash etc should be thought of as replacing the refined carb element and always include a non-starchy veg too) as these truly are the nutritional powerhouses that keep you looking and feeling great.
There are loads of fantastic studies into the anti-inflammatory effect of fruits & vegetables via Juice Plus, a wholefood fruit & veg capsule that me, my family and my clients all take daily, as although eating more veg is vital, we also need to ensure we get a full spectrum and make up for any ‘bad’ days.
High levels of nutrients from fruits & vegetables also reduce your recovery time, so you can train harder and get more out of your training! People often think they can exercise to allow a less healthy diet – the opposite is true! We need MORE nutrients the more we train, which is why I focus my meals on vegetables (fruit being secondary for me as I don’t do well with sugars, but I do have berries and apples - Juice Plus bridges my fruit gap without the sugar) and protein.
Please, shift your thinking from TODAY! The 5 a day mantra is really the minimum for existing! Not for thriving, and living a long and healthy active life!
Think 9-13, and if you start to base your meals around veg, and look into a wholefood supplement such as Juice Plus to bridge any gaps, you will be well away!
Also, remember that veg should feature more – I’m amazed at how many people eat a few bananas and drink a smoothie and think they are done! 4:1 is a good ratio – I have 2-3 fruits (berries & apples mainly) and 7-9 veg (I reckon!) plus my Juice Plus, which means I know I am on track… Are you getting enough?