Along with fitness expert Peta Bee, I have devised a simple 14-day plan to help get you back into good habits. My daily meal planners are nutritionally well balanced and satisfying, but with only 1,500 calories each, you could lose 1–2lb a week (more if you have a lot to lose). Add in Peta’s gentle daily exercise ideas and you should soon regain your va-va-voom in time for the big departure.
How the daily eating plan works
My eating plan is based on healthy eating guidelines. There’s nothing extreme or faddy – and it’s easy to stick to.
1 Simply follow the daily menu plans, although it’s fine to swap meals around or replace them with other HFG recipes. Choose something with a similar calorie content, though, to keep the balance. In this plan, breakfasts provide around 300kcal, lunches 400kcal, dinners 500kcal and snacks around 200kcal. We also allow for a daily milk allowance (see number 3).
2 It doesn’t matter when you eat your snack – just have it at a time that suits you best. If you have only a little weight to lose or are struggling to shift those last few pounds, it’s fine to leave it out altogether. Or, if you have a lot of weight to lose (or you’re male), you may like to double it up. As a rule, you should aim to lose around 1–2lb a week. You may, however, lose a little more than this when you first start out as your body adapts to a new way of eating.
3 In addition to your meals and snacks, have 300ml skimmed milk (providing an extra 100kcal) every day for a burst of bone-building calcium as well as protein to keep you fuller for longer. Add it to hot drinks, have it on its own or make a shake with some of the fruit in the menu.
4 This plan contains plenty of fruit and veg so you should easily achieve five-a-day – and probably closer to seven, which a recent study found is even more beneficial for health. If you find you’re still hungry, simply serve bigger portions of veg or salad with meals.
5 Avoid adding extra calories but don’t miss out on taste: instead of mayonnaise or butter, drizzle salads and veg with balsamic or white wine vinegar, or look for virtually calorie-free ready-made dressings.
6 Keep hydrated but don’t waste too many of your calories on drinks – stick with water, tea and coffee (with milk from your daily allowance and a sweetener, such as stevia, instead of sugar), herbal and fruit teas and calorie-free soft drinks.
How the exercise plan works
Peta Bee’s easy daily fit tips are perfect for beginners or for lapsed exercisers.
Her plan is designed to get you started and into the groove in just a few minutes a day. Research has shown that spending hours at the gym is unnecessary. Shorter, more intense bursts of physical effort, combined with everyday activities such as housework and gardening, are all that’s needed to improve your overall fitness (but if you’re new to exercise, check with your GP before starting this, or any, programme). Even after a couple of weeks, you’ll notice that you get less breathless when you exert yourself and that your arms and legs feel more toned.
You’ll probably find you want to keep going after the two weeks. So, as you repeat the plan, add an extra minute to the ‘fast’ walking and stair climbing days. As you get stronger, gradually increase your workouts in this way, keeping activities varied to stay motivated.
Get the 14-day diet plan.
*Weight-loss results will vary and are down to your individual circumstances and the amount of weight you have to lose.