New figures show the average person piled on 5lbs over Christmas. We asked five of Ireland's top health and fitness experts how to undo the damage without dieting
1 GO ON THE DRY:
Katie O'Shea, Wellness Specialist - www.bestlife.ie
"After a boozy Christmas, 'Dry January' could be exactly what your body needs to shift those extra 5lbs. When it come to losing weight, most people focus on food and fitness. But, when you consider that a bottle of wine contains around 700 calories, what you drink is just as important.
"Every pound we lose or gain is the equivalent of 3,500 calories - that's around 15 pints or five bottles of wine - so cutting alcohol for even one month can lead to substantial weight loss. You're also more likely to exercise and eat healthily when you're not suffering from a stinking hangover!
"For those unwilling to go 'on the dry', my advice is to go for lower-calorie drinks. At 100 calories, for instance, a vodka and soda water has less than half the calories of a pint of beer. Meanwhile, at home, keep alcohol 'out of sight, out of mind', under the stairs or in the back of the cupboard."
2 EAT YOUR GREENS
Heather Leeson, Nutritional Therapist - www.glenvillenutrition.ie
"Instead of focusing on what you shouldn't eat this New Year, focus on what you should. On our 12-week 'Fat Around the Middle - And How to Lose It' course, eating more vegetables is the biggest secret to success.
"Accompanied by lean protein such as eggs or fish, aim to eat at least five portions - but ideally as many as eight - of vegetables per day to help beat the Christmas bloat.
"Here in Ireland, breakfast is often a very sweet start to the day; in other cultures, it's a more veg-laden meal. Instead of your usual cereal or toast, try having an omelette with some veg leftover from last night's dinner. Vegetable soup, bulked out with lentils or chickpeas, is a great way to boost your intake of greens at lunchtime.
"For dinner, steam, stir-fry or bake lots of veggies with some baked fish spread with pesto. If you're still peckish, snack on vegetable sticks such as carrots or peppers dipped in hummus."
3 INTERVAL TRAINING
Jen Feighery, Personal Trainer - www.jenfeighery.ie
"If, like most people, the tumble dryer seems to have shrunk your clothes over Christmas, then interval running - short bursts of sprinting in between jogging or walking - is your best bet.
"Walk into any gym across the country right now and you'll see rows of people pounding away like Forrest Gump on the treadmills. Most people think the longer you run, the more weight you lose, and while this is true to a point, when you jog at a continuous pace, the body eventually adjusts to this.
"By suddenly switching up a gear however, the body is forced to work a lot harder, and burns more calories. I use a pyramid programme, which can be completed outdoors on the road or indoors on a treadmill, for both myself and clients. In conjunction with a healthy diet, around 20-30 minutes three or four times a week is all you need to do to shift the January jiggle."
4 DRINK MORE WATER
Pat Divilly, Personal Trainer and Author of 'Naked Paleo: Food Stripped Bare' - www.facebook.com/PatDivillyFit
"It doesn't matter how well you eat, if you're dehydrated, your body simply can't absorb the nutrients. Drinking more water is probably one of the easiest ways to lose weight this new year.
"As a rule of thumb, you should be drinking around a litre of water per 25 kilos of body weight. Irrespective of your weight, about 2 litres a day is a good level to aim for. One tip is to buy a multipack of 500ml bottles and keep a couple by your desk and in your car, so that you've always got one handy.
"Alternatively, drink from a two-litre bottle, and just make sure it's gone by the end of the day. If you don't like drinking water, try squeezing half a lemon into it to give it some flavour. Lemon juice also helps to alkalise the body and drop body fat."
5 LISTEN TO YOUR GUT
Anna Aparicio, Director of SF Fitness Centre in Rathfarnham - www.sffitness.ie
"Most of us don't know what real hunger feels like any more, so we convince ourselves that we're 'famished' when we're not, and end up eating too much or too often.
"For this reason, I always advise my clients to gauge their hunger on a scale of 1 to 10 - 1 being not hungry at all, 5 being neutral and 10 being ravenous - every couple of hours throughout the day.
"Using this guide, they should then only eat if they're a 6 or 7, and stop once they're a 3 or 4.
This simple-but-effective method helps retrain our natural biological hunger patterns. Used every day over the next few weeks, you're sure to lose the extra 5lbs naturally as you develop healthier eating patterns."
Dubliner Gillian Hynes (39) knows how to get people feeling and looking their best - she worked as a personal trainer for a decade before launching her new business Body Project. It provides pre-prepared healthy food alongside personal training classes to help keep clients on track.
When Emma Dunne's eldest daughter came home from school in tears after playground bullies teased her for having a 'fat mum', her heart ached. At just 29, the part-time waitress and single mum-of-three weighed 24 stone and struggled to squeeze into a size 28.