Fitness expert shares best diet plan to lose weight after Christmas ‘Sustainability’s key’

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With everyone keen to make this Christmas the best ever, it is no surprise that in January, clothes may feel a little tighter. For anyone looking to shed a few festive pounds, Express.co.uk spoke exclusively to Kathleen Trotter, MSc, about the weight loss and fitness industry where she shared her thoughts on the most popular diets some might try. 

Kathleen said: “There is no one ‘best’ diet. What is ‘best’ will depend on your goals, your age, your gender, your exercise history, your life realities, etc. 

“Stop trying to ‘find’ a diet plan. I believe everyone must create the ‘nutrition mix’ or ‘recipe’ that works for them. 

“There are pros and cons to every diet, and the pros and cons are relative to the person creating the mix. 

“What is considered a pro for you will depend on your individual history, genetics, goals, your pro might be your best friend’s con,” she added. 

In terms of how to successfully lose weight, the fitness expert continued: “Sustainability is key.

“Creating a plan that won’t cause you to yo-yo diet is key. Crash diets are not helpful long term. 

“Unrealistic and extreme diets and exercise regimens can be detrimental for your hormones, weight, metabolism and mindset. 

“For example, consuming too few carbs, especially if you are female and active, can negatively impact your thyroid hormones and disrupt your HPA (hypothalamus/pituitary/adrenal) axis, metabolism and reproductive hormones. 

“For a more detailed explanation of carbs and metabolism; life is long, and your choices today impact your metabolism of the future. 

“Everything you consume – as well as the foods you skip – will impact your hormones. 

“We often frame food as ‘calories’, but every food is so much more than its caloric number. What we eat effects our microbiome, our energy, our sleep. Food constitutes the building blocks of hormones and neurotransmitters, etc.

“Plus, when it comes to nutrition, most people don’t need complexity; they need to follow the basics consistently,” she remarked. 

Kathleen went on to say: “Put another way, don’t ‘mow the lawn when the house is on fire’. Don’t get focused on the stuff that does not matter. 

“When it comes to our health it is easy to get mired in the muck – spend too much time thinking rather than acting.” 

Elements of health to focus on to lose weight: 

– Focus on nutritionally dense foods, stay away from processed [food]. Eat real food. Whenever possible, eat food where the only ingredient is the food. The ingredient in broccoli is broccoli. When you do buy foods with a label, make sure you can pronounce the ingredients. 

– Listen to your body. Eat when you are hungry, stop when you are full (or before you are full), and eat mindfully.

– Be mindful of hydration and embrace that liquids ‘count’. Calories count, even in liquid form. Pay attention to what you drink, not just what you eat. Alcohol counts too.

– Keep portions and planning in mind. One cookie is not the same as five cookies. Portions matter. Always have a plan – prep healthy food, know what you will eat at parties and have an advanced plan of attack in social situations.  

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A post shared by Kathleen Trotter (@fitbykathleent)

– Stay away from sugar and be on the lookout for ‘unhealthy healthy foods’ e.g foods high in sugar and/or salt that masquerade as ‘health food’. 

Think store-bought muffins (just cake in the shape of a muffin), juice (liquid sugar), most store-bought granola (sugar and fat), frozen ‘healthy’ dinners (preservatives and salt), most gluten-free desserts (just because they don’t have gluten doesn’t mean they are healthy) and ‘fat-free’ snacks (usually devoid of nutrients and full of artificial ingredients and sugar).

– The key to eating well is mindfulness and awareness. Whatever method/program/plan allows you to be consistently aware of what you put in your mouth is the method you should use. 

For anyone looking to lose weight, Kathleen said they should “embrace the process”. 

“Health is not a finite game; I don’t want anyone to reach their goal and quit,” she added. “Sure, aim to lose some weight or run a 5km race, but when you reach your goal keep being aware of your health. 

“If you are lucky enough to be alive you will be lucky enough to be navigating your health. So, embrace a long-term approach and a growth mindset. 

“Everything that happens is ‘data’. Learn about yourself and what works – and what doesn’t work.” 

Elements of health to focus on to lose weight: 

– Focus on nutritionally dense foods, stay away from processed [food]. Eat real food. Whenever possible, eat food where the only ingredient is the food. The ingredient in broccoli is broccoli. When you do buy foods with a label, make sure you can pronounce the ingredients. 

– Listen to your body. Eat when you are hungry, stop when you are full (or before you are full), and eat mindfully.

– Be mindful of hydration and embrace that liquids ‘count’. Calories count, even in liquid form. Pay attention to what you drink, not just what you eat. Alcohol counts too.

– Keep portions and planning in mind. One cookie is not the same as five cookies. Portions matter. Always have a plan – prep healthy food, know what you will eat at parties and have an advanced plan of attack in social situations.  

– Stay away from sugar and be on the lookout for ‘unhealthy healthy foods’ e.g foods high in sugar and/or salt that masquerade as ‘health food’.  Think store-bought muffins (just cake in the shape of a muffin), juice (liquid sugar), most store-bought granola (sugar and fat), frozen ‘healthy’ dinners (preservatives and salt), most gluten-free desserts (just because they don’t have gluten doesn’t mean they are healthy) and ‘fat-free’ snacks (usually devoid of nutrients and full of artificial ingredients and sugar).

– The key to eating well is mindfulness and awareness. Whatever method/program/plan allows you to be consistently aware of what you put in your mouth is the method you should use. 

Kathleen also advised people to not “get so caught up in the end result that you lose the pride and ownership of the process of the daily little wins”. 

“We all get so focused on the outcomes that we often lose sight of the enjoyment and identity-building aspects of the process. 

“You don’t run a marathon to have a taxi drive you to the finish line. You do the marathon to get better at running, to test yourself, to work on your inner willpower.” 

She rephrased this as: “In Kathleen-speak this translates into ‘stop wanting to be fit  and actually start working towards being the person who consistently works out’. 

“Nothing happens overnight. You must work now to create the future self you want to be,” she said. 

Kathleen Trotter’s book, Your Fittest Future Self: Making Choices Today for a Happier, Healthier, Fitter Future You is avavilable to buy on Amazon. 

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