• Dr Sally Norton


"There’s no way I can deny myself all that delicious food and drink over Christmas so I may as well just blow my diet and totally indulge – because my new diet starts in the New Year."

You know the next part all too well. The New Year comes, you feel completely disheartened as you now weigh even more than you did this time last year, and your willpower lasts a couple of weeks at most before your diet fails and you start the whole yo-yo dieting thing all over again. That’s where my ethos is different.

Try these 7 things this December and make next year the year you promise never to diet again.

  1. Think about your Christmas list - ask for presents that will help your health and weight loss efforts or help you feel good.

  2. Don’t deny yourself anything. It’s Christmas – have it. But just have it in moderation and enjoy it rather than feeling guilty. And try to remember that Christmas is just a few days of indulgence, not a whole month!

  3. Make sure that you fill yourself full of good nutritious food first. That way, even if you demolish the chocolate box, your body has got plenty of vitamins and minerals on board which mean you are more able to make healthier choices, and less likely to give into cravings.

  4. Get outdoors in the fresh air. Stuck indoors, in a stuffy over-heated house, will have you reaching for the mince-pies, for sure. Probably in front of another re-run Christmas movie. If you wrap up and head out you will get the benefit of some exercise plus some natural light which is lacking in winter but, studies have shown, can help your sleep, mood and even weight.

  5. As well as a bracing walk, try to get into the habit of doing strength exercises. Not only will they make you more toned but they will build muscle which helps you burn calories even when you are slumped on the sofa.

  6. Get plenty of sleep. The wonderful Christmas parties, trying to meet those pre-Christmas work deadlines or getting the last-minute online shopping done at midnight can leave us exhausted in the run-up to Christmas. But feeling tired makes us less able to make healthier choices – we reach for quick-release energy in the form of sugar and fat instead. So get as many early nights as possible.

  7. Set yourself some achievable, non-weight-related goals for December such as…. eat your 5-a-day, build some muscle, work up to 10,000 steps a day, get 7-8 hours of sleep a night. You can do those as well as enjoying Christmas!

A few tweaks to your lifestyle and ditching the doomed "blow-out now, for in January I will diet" mentality will ensure that you enjoy Christmas but also build in some better habits that make a healthy start to the New Year that much easier.

Long-term tweaks to your lifestyle mean dieting is no longer needed. And that works over Christmas as well as any other time of the year.

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