The New Year Diet!

Hands up who’s on a New Year diet?  Who’s yet to start? Who’s fallen already?Diet garfield

Here’s an idea ditch it and try a different approach!

How about thinking of pushing it out rather than cutting it out?

A few thoughts:-

  • The diet industry is the only industry I can think of that has got richer and richer the more it fails!  One diet fails another pops up in its place.
  • No one woke up FAT!!  You are not going to wake up THIN!!  Quick fixes don’t work!

Before Christmas we had the “Little Black Dress” “Drop A Dress Size” diets, now in January we have the “Detox” diets, soon we will be on the “Bikini” diets.  If you’ve just got a couple of pounds to shift, and you don’t mind it coming back, then these will probably do the job.

In my adult life I have been a size 8, 8 stone something, I have been a size 16, 12 stone plus and everything in between.  I am now a new mum who has only been near the scales recently to trip over them.

I have forgotten more diets than I can remember, I’ve tried just about every variation – the cabbage soup, the slimfast, the fasting, the juicing, weight watchers, Atkins, diet pills shipped in from America, diet pills from the local tanning shop, detox diets, ones pulled out of the daily mail, ones endorsed by celebrities on and on and on.  I can’t say I enjoyed any of them, but then we all know we are not supposed to enjoy diets!  They are to be endured and stuck to! And when you can’t it’s your fault not the diets!  Most of them left me feeling grumpy and tired at best, a bit dizzy and faint, or just ill. If I had hit my “perfect” weight I wouldn’t have had the energy or inclination to do anything with it, and I wasn’t very good company either.

So whether it’s a fasting diet, exclusion diet, juicing diet blah blah blah …… what are the downsides, why don’t they work?

  • Fast weight loss is usually due to water and glycogen loss, not fat.  This can slow down our metabolism making long term weight loss more difficult.
  • We will always find a way to cheat!  Fasting diets give us a licence to eat rubbish when we are not fasting.  The old weight watchers system I used to follow allowed me to have a bottle of wine every day, or it did the way I worked my points!
  • Exclusion diets, those cutting out whole food groups can leave us nutrient deficient, and the transition back is full of pitfalls
  • Juicing / Cleanse diets are essentially high sugar, low protein, low fibre diets, removing essential nutrients such as fibre leaving us feeling hungry and the lack of protein leaves the sugar spikes unchecked.
  • Our social lives suffer.  We’ve all been out with that diet bore fussing over the menu, what she/he can and can’t eat, and, I maybe the only bitch here, thought “they don’t look like they are that picky with what they eat the rest of the time!”
  • They aren’t sustainable, life gets in the way, and it’s human nature when things start going wrong to think “f*ck it” Where diets are concerned this usually means a complete blow out.

This list goes on.  BUT that doesn’t mean the new year isn’t a good time to review our diets, what we already eat and how we eat.  Get things back on track, support our bodies as they do their own detoxing and recover from the festive excess.

So my new approach is that rather than cut things out, push them out!  Lets focus more on eating better for health and happiness, and I bet inevitably, if weight loss is an aim, it will come.

Here are a few things I am going to focus on:-

  • More water – I’ve got out of the habit of making sure I drink enough water and as a nursing mother I really need to get back onto it, I’ve noticed a difference!  So each morning I am going to fill a jug up to get through at home.  I have also just bought a bottle of VOSS water, the posh one that comes in a glass bottle, this is an investment not a luxury trend!  I can fill this up before leaving the house to make sure I have some with me for on the go and not have to resort to buying plastic bottles.  We can all do with less plastic in our lives.
  • Breakfast – I have always been bad with breakfast, always found an excuse to skip it or grab a biscuit.  It’s got to stop.  Next week I will be doing a breakfast blog.
  • One meat free day a week – I have become lazy with veg, a hastily opened bag of prepared salad dumped on the side of a plate has become an all to easy fall back regular.  Focusing on plant based meals for one day will trickle through to a more varied diet the rest of the week.
  • Fish at least once a week, similar reasons to meat free day.
  • Meal Planning – this is how I am going to achieve.  I used to meal plan and I loved it.  Setting 20 minutes aside once a week to look through a recipe book or magazine, pick a few new recipes and mix with a few old favourites, write a shopping list to go with it.  Not only did it mean I could stick to my good intentions, I saved a LOT of money, I didn’t buy things that wouldn’t get used, I had no waste and I enjoyed my food more, looked forward to it.

We all know, or have a good idea where our diets could do with tweaking, how they could be improved.  What would your top three be?

Thinking PUSH IT OUT rather than CUTTING IT OUT can really help.  If you fancy that glass of wine, have a glass of water first.  If you want that packet of crisps, or chocolate, have a piece of fruit first.  Think portion sizes, up the veg quota on your plate but still leave space for the things you love.  Increase the “good” so it leaves less room for the “bad”, focus on what you can have rather than what you can’t.

With this in mind here is my much trotted out soup recipe.  Packed full of veg it gives a great nutrient boost.  For a lunch I add some protein such as shredded chicken or chickpeas.  If I’m having a hungry day a small bowl before dinner is a great filler upper.  This soup isn’t always virtuous, it’s also great from a flask at a cold April point to point day with chopped chorizo and a slug of vodka!


Halve and deseed about 8 red peppers and roast on a low heat until blackened round the edges, allow to cook and then chop into chunks.

In a large pan sweat a large chopped onion, a few cloves of chopped garlic and a chopped red chilli (with seeds or deseeded depending how hot you want it)

Add chopped fennel or celery and gently fry for a few minutes, celery is the much cheaper option.

Add either a couple of tins of chopped tomatoes or approx 8 large beef tomatoes or just a mix of whatever you have.

Add about 2 pints of chicken or veg stock, a squirt of tom puree and a splash of Worcestershire sauce, season and simmer for 20-30 mins

Add the peppers, blitz with a stick blender and taste adjusting seasoning if needed, I like quite a bit of black pepper.

It also works well with some smoked paprika added before the tomatoes.





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