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Ditching the New Year 'miracle' diet

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I don't know what it is about January, but suddenly the frivolities of the yuletide period seem to manifest themselves in self hate, body loathing and nauseating disgust at the amount of mince pies and Quality Streets that you consumed in a very indulgent week. 

January becomes a time of purging, lamenting and repenting your diet misdemeanors and swearing blindly that this year will be different: this will be the year you will have a beach body, wear jeans a size smaller or even join the gym.

The problem with January 1st, is by January 2nd, all your will power and motivation goes out the window when you notice that Tesco are clearing out their Christmas stock and a box of mince pies are now reduced to five pence (true story, it took every ounce of will power I had to walk past them) and your only exercise is wrestling someone else armed with gift vouchers at the Topshop sale.

After hopelessly losing will power, the next step is usually opting for starvation or a variant of the extreme strategy often labelled by fashion and celebrity magazines as the 'miracle diet'. These usually guarantee to have you looking like you stepped off the pages of Vogue within days (instead of instead just looking like you've polished off a selection box.)

The problem you’ll find with miracle diets,  just like I did, is that it’s usually a miracle you don’t faint, put weight on or DIE as a result of them.  Often ‘miracle diets’ after Christmas limit your calorie consumption to levels less that of a child, and this just doesn’t work.

Losing weight is hard.  Our bodies are not physically designed to shed weight, but hoards it instead as survival instinct dictates.  Miracle diets can often cause your body to go into starvation mode, making your body store more of the calories you consume as fat - meaning you balloon further.

Last year I decided enough was enough, I too was going to try and lose weight.  At first I did a three day miracle diet.  This consisted of black coffee, grapefruits halves (without sugar), egg whites and not much else.  It was pure torture.  Especially since the rest of my family were on no such miracle hunts.

After nearly starving to death for three days, I tentatively got onto the scales, peeked at the digital display, and found that I’d put three pounds on. I’d religiously stuck to the plan so was obviously inconsolable.

This January I’m three stone lighter than this time last year.  Some could say it was a miracle, but it was genuinely healthy eating, sticking to a calorie controlled diet and allowing myself little indulgences so I don’t go off the rails and give myself over to gluttony.  It was hard work, but hard work is the only answer during those dark days when one selection box just doesn't seem like enough.

Miracle diets are short term solutions that often make you feel worse rather than making you look like Kate Moss. Everybody has probably over indulged this Christmas; the only miracle is that you didn’t manage to eat anymore! Keeping the will power and filling up on low calorie vegetables, fruits, yoghurts and lean proteins not only give you a new year boost that stop you feeling heavy and bloated, but may also trim that waistline too. 




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