Tuesday 24 October 2017

Get in shape in time for Christmas

Welcome to Week Six of our LBD Challenge, with dietitian Orla Walsh and personal trainer Siobhan Byrne

Fitness guru Siobhan Byrne
Fitness guru Siobhan Byrne
Dietitian Orla Walsh
Breakfast biscuits
Lentil soup
Mountain climber 1
Mountain climber 2
Mountain climber 3
Side plank reach 1
Side plank reach 2
Side plank reach 3
In out squat jump 1
In out squat jump 2
In out squat jump 3
V up 1
V up 2

This is the final week of our six-week Little Black Dress Challenge. Well done to everyone for getting this far!

And with less than two weeks until Christmas now is not the time to fall off the wagon. It may be the party season but that doesn't mean everything you have learned over the last month has to be thrown out the window.

The exercises, devised by Siobhan Byrne, are suitable for any fitness level, but if you have any concerns, be sure to check with your doctor before starting.

If you are unable to perform the exercises, follow the food plan, as developed by Orla Walsh, and you will still gain some benefit. Remember, fat loss is 80pc food, 20pc exercise.

As always, if you have any questions or queries, please email us here at healthandliving@independent.ie. Best of luck with the challenge!

Week 6 of your nutrition guide

Dietitian Orla Walsh

Sustaining your newly gained healthy approach couldn't be more important. Slipping back into previous food and lifestyle habits will bring you back to where you were before you embarked on this challenge. Unhealthy habits have only one destination. Basing your lifestyle on healthy rituals carries you along the road to leanness.

Find your own personal motivation. Discovery of what drives you is central to success. For weight loss it's imperative to tap into why you wish to lower your weight. This goes beyond the number on the scale. Being an unhealthy weight affects every nook and cranny of your life. From choosing clothing to how you sit, concerns about travelling to comfort on public transport, not forgetting self-esteem, self-worth and sleep. Make a list of your symptoms and you'll understand what influences your choices. It also makes an ideal list of goals (also known as dreams with deadlines) and targets beyond the number that is your weight.

If struggling to hold your ground, go back to basics - more water, more vegetables, more movement.

When it comes to treat-like foods over Christmas, take smaller bites of food, chew more, savour each mouthful and enjoy eating.

- Orla Walsh

Week 6 of your  excercise plan

Congratulations on reaching the final week of our six-week Little Black Dress Challenge. Well done to you all, it is an incredible achievement to have got this far.

If you have stuck to the plan, you should be feeling great, have lots more energy and be noticing that clothes are feeling looser and your fitness levels are starting to improve.

Now is finally the time to weigh in and measure.

You will remember me saying in week one that I am not a big fan of weighing scales, because people tend to abuse them by weighing themselves every day and giving inaccurate readings about how they are doing.

It is only possible to loose or gain no more than 2lbs of body fat per week and it is this body fat that we want to shed and not water.

You will have seen over the last five weeks, how consistency with food and training can achieves results.


I always like to judge my weight and shape by how my clothes look and feel. You may have a favourite pair of trousers or a skirt that can be your gauge for how you are doing.

Take measurements from five different points: top of the shoulders, across the bust line, across the navel, at the widest part of the hip line and, finally, the top of the leg across the thigh at the largest part. These measurements, along with what the scales say, will give you a good indication of where you are at and how you have done. Remember, body fat does not vanish overnight, therefore just because this six-week challenge is finished it doesn't mean you can't keep up the same routine.

Keep up your workouts by mixing up the exercises from the previous weeks and continue with the brisk walks and challenge yourself to push even harder.

There is no reason why you can't keep going right into the new year until our next challenge.

- Siobhan Byrne


Winter warming lentil soup

Lentil soup


1 tbsp olive oil

1 chopped onion

600g of chopped carrots

150g red lentils

1 tsp chilli

2 tsp cumin

1L vegetable stock

150ml milk


Add the olive oil to a pan with the chopped onion. When softened, add the chopped carrots. Allow to cook for 5 mins or so, until they start to soften.

Then add the red lentils, chilli and cumin as well as the vegetable stock. When the lentils have gone a little translucent, add in the milk.

Blend and then season to taste.

Healthy breakfast biscuits

Breakfast biscuits


2 bananas

1 cup of oats

½ cup of raisins

½ cup of walnuts

2 tbsp peanut butter


Mash 2 bananas in a bowl. With a fork, fold in 1 cup of oats, ½ cup of raisins, ½ cup of walnuts and 2 tbsp peanut butter. Mix until all the oats are wet.

Make into small biscuit shapes. Place on a baking tray and cook at 170°C for about 12 minutes.

The workout

Mountain  climber

1/ Start with your feet on the floor and two hands on the ground. Make sure your back is flat with your core engaged.

2/ Slowly bring one knee up to the chest.

3/ Then return to start position and repeat with opposite leg. This is one rep.

Side Plank Reach

1/ Start by lying on your side, with one foot on top of the other and on the elbow, with your hand on the ground.

2/ Using your free arm twist and reach under the body.

3/ Then extend your arm straight to the ceiling, do 10 reps before changing sides.

In Out Squat Jump

1/ Start in a semi squat position with feet wider than shoulder-width apart.

2/ Jump into the air changing your foot direction to split squat before landing.

3/ After landing dip towards the floor and jump back to squat position and complete a squat, repeating as you go.

V Up

1/ Start by leaning back, while balancing on your hands, in a sitting position with your knees bent and your feet flat and slightly off the ground.

2/ Then lift your upper body towards the knees and at the same time raise your knees to your chest, coming into a V position. Return to start position and then repeat.

Read more: Week 5 on the LBD challenge

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