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Weight Loss

The ultimate damage-control kit

No gym and an entire Selections box? No problem, you can limit the damage with these strategies, from nutritionist Charlotte Watts


OOPS #1 … What gym? I’m usually so good, but I just can’t seem to get going.

THE DAMAGE? We can often tip the balance of ‘good vs. bad’ around this time of excess. Exercise is needed for circulation, metabolism and blood sugar control so recovering from the ‘Christmas cheer’ can be harder without it.

SOS HELP Keep the body moving and interested by changing your routine; go for an invigorating walk in the country, go to a yoga class, but keep moving. Tap your whole head with your fingertips to wake up your brain and motivate your body.

WHY DID I DO THAT? Low motivation can be a sign of low B vitamins that help us to produce energy and these are depleted by alcohol and sugar. Try a good quality supplement such as Viridian B-Complex.


Christmas Pudding


OOPS #2 … I just don’t seem to have an appetite off-switch at this time of year.

THE DAMAGE? Our bodies don’t quite know that we won’t need as much energy as our ancestors to heat us up in the winter. So a raised appetite can leave us with an overloaded digestive system. This can cause us to feel sluggish and bloated.

SOS HELP Foods that have ‘high satiety’ will tell your brain you are full, like brown rice, potatoes or wholegrain wheat or rye bread. Also oxygenate your body with deep nasal breathing to bring down stress hormones that can signal the appetite.

WHY DID I DO THAT? Our metabolisms slow down to conserve heat in the winter, but central heating confuses this. Get out into the cold regularly to raise your metabolism and burn some calories off to produce heat.


OOPS #3 … I gave up smoking last year, but after a few drinks at the Christmas party, I just couldn’t help having a few sneaky cigs.

THE DAMAGE? Oh you know this…….cigarettes impair circulation, damage body cells and tissues, they are full of toxic metals, linked to cancer and heart disease…….and very ageing!

SOS HELP When you feel a craving, press the acupressure point in the middle of the right breastbone three times, holding each for twelve seconds. Almonds and sunflower seeds can be kept in your bag as they can stave off cravings.

WHY DID I DO THAT? Smoking reduces vitamin C levels in the blood and ironically low levels promote cravings; take two BioCare Vitamin C 500mg twice a day. See a hypnotherapist to address the psychological associations.


Christmas Sweets

OOPS #4 … Just two hours after dinner, I was scoffing cakes and the entire contents of a Selections box over Eastenders.

THE DAMAGE? When we go into cycles of cravings we are usually drawn to sugar ‘quick-fixes’ that promote vicious cycles of blood sugar ‘highs and lows’. This can lead to fatigue, irritability and low mood afterwards.

SOS HELP Try this alternative Christmas sweet treat: plain yoghurt, teaspoon cinnamon, ground almonds, unsweetened coconut and blueberries.  Try it before hitting the Selections Box and you might be too full to eat more than once chocolate.  It can really satisfy a sweet tooth too, whilst helping to get to the root cause of the cravings.

WHY DID I DO THAT? Winter can be worse for balancing blood sugar, as less sunlight lowers the feelgood brain chemical serotonin and the brain demands sugar to raise it quickly. See a nutritionist for help with your cycles of cravings.


OOPS #5 … Having fooled myself that I’ve eaten ‘healthy’ all day, I raided the fridge after the pub.

THE DAMAGE? Eating late at night is confusing for your body, which was hoping to shut down, rather than deal with an intake of food. This can be a bit of a strain on your liver and lead to bloating, nausea or headaches.

SOS HELP Eat before drinking, including plenty of vegetables and quality protein like chicken and well, turkey (stick to white meat) and Brussels sprouts (yes, have seconds). This helps provide a sustained source of energy and nutrients that your liver needs to clear the alcohol.

WHY DID I DO THAT? Alcohol is also a hefty dose of sugar that can cause a sugar ‘come-down’ later, so your body asks you to quickly raise these levels again with hunger. Snack on raw nuts whilst drinking to keep up blood sugar levels.


Christmas Champagne


OOPS #6… Had champagne for breakfast, then shared a bottle of Baileys with my granny.  Is that wrong?

THE DAMAGE? Don’t worry too much – moderate drinking (14 units a week for women) can be beneficial, though they’re best not taken all at once. Too much may lead to blood sugar problems, weight gain and diabetes, but you know that too so proceed immediately to SOS help (below)

SOS HELP Take a course of Lamberts Milk Thistle regularly over Christmas, upping the dose before you hit the sauce.  It will support your liver and help it to help you protect your body from excesses.  The homeopathic remedy Nux Vomica can help with a hangover the next morning.

WHY DID I DO THAT? Alcohol is often used as a social lubricant.  If it’s getting less jolly beyond the festive season, balancing blood sugar (as outlined above) can help reduce alcohol cravings. Alternate alcohol with mineral water with lots of lemon to both limit amounts, rehydrate and help liver function.

charlotte_watts_180Charlotte Watts is the author of The De-Stress Diet (Hay House £12.99) Find out more at

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