Post-holiday flab? All is not lost! 
Well, if you’re anything like me, you’re feeling just a little on the flabby side of perfect at the end of the summer holiday season. 
 
A few too many cakes, sausages and sambucas might have also left you a bit groggy, lethargic and lacking in get-up-and-go. 
 
If that’s the case, take heart, as getting back into a healthier routine is easier than you might think – and below are some suggestions for small steps you can take to ease yourself back in, and start feeling more like it relatively quickly. 
Take baby steps – there’s no need to do everything overnight 
 
Punishing yourself with a drastic exercise or diet routine could be counterproductive because, firstly, it won’t actually help your health and fitness in the long term. And, secondly, you’re much less likely to stick to it. 
 
Here are some alternative suggestions that could be much more effective: 
 
• Healthy options. Cut out rubbish, but replace the forbidden things with healthier alternatives that you’ll still fancy. If your thing is ice cream, buy some nice yoghurt; if its chocolate, choose a plain option with less sugar and fat than the milk variety. Replace sugary cereals with slow-burning porridge, good quality honey and banana for breakfast, and instead of chips try oven baked potato or sweet potato wedges – seasoned with herbs and spices these can be really tasty. 
 
• Protein. Replace some of your processed carbohydrates with protein and vegetables. Eggs are a fantastic source of protein and very quick and easy to prepare. Whipping up an omelette, for example, takes minutes and you can make it even more appetising and nutritious by adding ingredients like spinach and mushrooms. Not only will foods like this fill you up, but they will help you avoid sugar slumps during the course of the day, and therefore cravings for things that are less good for you. Bread is one of the foods most likely to bloat you up and add fat. If you must eat it, reserve it for your lunchtime sandwich, as you’re more likely to be able to burn it off then. 
 
• Bananas for sweet cravings. If you get an unbearable sweet craving, have a banana in reserve. These are a good option for filling you up and giving you a quick sugar burst. 
 
• Lean meat. Use this as an opportunity to experiment and choose some different, healthy options when you’re out shopping. Try a different kind of fish fillet, or a new sort of meat like ostrich. Opt for lean meats like chicken and if you must have sausages, choose 98 per cent meat varieties. Steam or oven bake everything and try to avoid frying where possible. You can also experiment with alterative types of seasoning to make your healthier options as tasty as possible. 
 
• Fat. It’s a good idea to cut down on your fat intake, but you don’t have to rule it out altogether. Just choose healthier alternatives. Butter, as a natural fat, is a healthier option than you would think, in moderation. Oils such as groundnut and coconut are better for you than vegetable oils, which are often hydrogenated. Coconut oil actually has some famous additional health benefits, such as increasing your healthy cholesterol, improving your digestion and even boosting your immune system. 
 
• Oily fish. Having salmon, mackerel, sea bass or any other oily fish at least once a week is a good idea, not only because they are hyper-tasty, but also because they are full of essential fatty acids which are tremendously good for you and even aid fat burning. 
 
• Alcohol. It’s an old chestnut, but limiting your alcohol intake is one of the most beneficial steps you can take. This is because alcohol is full of empty calories. It also puts extra pressure on your liver to detox your body. This distracts it from processing your food properly and extracting the best nutrition from the food you eat, and encourages it to produce more fat cells instead. There’s nothing wrong with the odd glass of wine at the weekend, but you ought to keep it to that. 
 
• Water. Drinking water is one of the simplest and most powerful steps you can take. The exact amount each person needs depends on their height and weight but as a rule of thumb, it’s good to work on an average of two litres a day. Make water the first thing you have in a morning, before you reach for your tea and coffee, and you’ll be amazed how much additional energy this gives you. Don’t gulp it either – as this can wash vital salts from your system – keep a bottle with you and take regular sips throughout the day. This will keep you fresh and hydrated by making sure all the cells in your body, including your brain, have the optimum amount of hydration. 
 
Exercise is also important 
 
While diet is the real foundation for a healthier lifestyle, exercise is also important. Again, you don’t have to jump in and try to run a marathon all at once, but introducing 20 minutes of exercise into your routine, a few times a week, will make a real difference to your energy levels, how you feel about yourself and your general motivation. It also boosts your metabolic rate, stimulates a healthy appetite and – perhaps most importantly – makes you more mindful of what you’re putting in your mouth and less prone to undo your good work by eating garbage. 
 
Once you’ve made a positive start, you might find that you want to build and build on it, in which case the world’s your oyster. However, for now, just try getting up a few minutes earlier and introducing 20 reps of a variety of exercises into your morning regime. For example, 20 squats, 20 lunges, 20 press ups, 20 crunches and 20 leg raises. Start with one set of each, and then gradually increase it to two, three and so on, progressing at your own pace. Look out for my forthcoming video series, in which I’ll be demonstrating these exercises to show you how to get the most out of them. 
 
Make it a friendly affair and increase your motivation 
 
Sometimes it’s hard to find the will power to do something new, which is out of your comfort zone. If you encounter this problem, try telling a friend what you’re doing, and see if they want to join in. You’ll be surprised how motivational this can be, and how much they will encourage you to stick with it. 
 
Another great way of getting in the right mindset to reach your goal, is to find a picture that illustrates either how you want to look, or how you look now and what you want to change. Pin it up somewhere prominent – like the fridge – as a reminder of the goal you’re aiming for and it will encourage you in in moments of weakness, by reminding you why you started your journey in the first place. Talk to yourself regularly, and remind yourself of the reason you wanted to do this in the first place. 
 
Special post-holiday Fat Buster offer 
 
If all of this has spurred you on to transform your lifestyle, you might be interested in my special promotional Fat buster offer. For £199.00, you could benefit from: 
 
• A free food journal, to record your diet and your thoughts, feelings and experiences en route to your goal 
• A free diet plan based on your own personal metabolic rate analysis 
• A bespoke exercise regime tailored to your circumstances and needs 
• Bags of support and encouragement to help you re-discover your fitter, healthier self! 
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