Saturday 25 November 2017

Doctor's orders... Slimmer for summer: on the home straight

There's only one week to go, so it is vital to maintain one's focus

Mark the occasion: Celebrate Formula-One style, but with fizzy water!
Mark the occasion: Celebrate Formula-One style, but with fizzy water!
Dr Ciara Kelly

Dr Ciara Kelly

One week left to go, in our slimmer for summer programme! Which means, you are totally on the home straight. The last week of any healthy eating regime is always one to really push the boat out. The end is in sight and you want to make your total weight loss, as good as it can be, so the struggles of the past eight weeks will have all been worth it. In the final week, you should keep your eye on the brass ring and not allow yourself to run out of steam in those last few days, especially if you have already achieved your target and lost a stone. This is not the time to pat yourselves on the back - You need to give it welly for another seven days to maximise what you can achieve.

This week, you should stick rigidly to your eating plan and do as much exercise as you can squeeze in to your schedule. Standing on the scales this time next week, you want to feel like one of those Formula One guys on their podium, and I strongly recommend shaking a bottle of fizzy water all over yourself and your bathroom floor to mark the occasion.

It's also a good time to take stock of how you got on over the past two months. And work out what worked for you? What aspects of this did you enjoy? Did you find you like low-carb meals? Did you actually start to enjoy running, while listening to 1980s music? (I told you before, this is always all about me really) If you can identify what worked, you can identify what you might incorporate into the future, to help you lose further weight or to maintain the newly svelte you!

Equally, it's a good idea to remember what's never going to work for you. Do you despise cottage cheese? (Again me) Don't eat it! Do you hate gyms? Don't go! You'll never keep doing what you don't enjoy so pick and choose what works best for you - to make this work in the long term.

Also - and this is important - identify your patterns and triggers. What is it that makes you overeat? Because that's the problem lots of people have. They eat healthily a lot of the time but indulge in episodes of overeating. So what makes you do it? Is it social events? Do you associate overeating with having a good time? Is it the type of socialising you do? Events, like BBQs or buffets, where portion control is difficult, tend to be more challenging. Is it a general weekend habit? Is it work-related overeating - do you have to wine and dine clients?

Or is your problem emotional eating. Do you overeat when you're upset or to reward yourself? Remember that if hunger isn't the problem food isn't the solution. So work out your triggers and plan how to avoid or manage them.

One such way is to use a food diary. Something you can keep up, long after this eight week period is over. It means you can't hide, sneaky, snack-calories at the back of your mind and forget about them; They're written down!

You can also see, when and where you fall off the wagon. And also that a slip isn't the end of your diet, when it's clear you've been sticking to a plan for the previous five days. You can also plan a food diary and then compare it to what you're actually eating, to see if you're in control of your food.

Anyway we are approaching the finish line and it's nearly time to assess how we've done. Are you pleased or could you have tried harder? See you back here next week, for our columnists' final tallies and let me know how you all got on.


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