Christmas revolves around all the important F-words.

Family, friends, festivities, fun and food.

But while everything might go to pot on Christmas day, there are a lot of parties to hit before that, and a lot of slinky dresses to slip into. So when should you start getting in shape?

christmas weight

According to HuffPost UK blogger and personal trainer Charli Cohen: "Christmas is only 7 weeks away, so if you want to make a noticeable difference in time for the party season, now is the time to start."

"As winter is approaching, outings to ice rinks and skiing are a lot of fun," says celebrity trainer and HuffPost UK blogger Hayley Newton. "They burn lots of calories, providing a hidden workout while enjoying a social activity with friends. Exercising can fit into your lifestyle and can be fun, so take advantage of the winter season and use it to get fit. Pick activities that fit the season rather than ones that fight it."

We pulled together a potted history of five of the most popular diets around. Take a look...

Dukan Diet


The Dukan Diet allows you to lose weight without counting calories and without getting hunger pangs. In theory.

As a hyper protein diet - most famous for being allegedly favoured by Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, before her wedding - it is based on a list of over 100 allowed foods, as well as four specific phases.

The initial attack phase (a 'pure protein' phase) is said to be the most difficult one, only allowing the consumption of lean protein foods like lean meats and fat free dairy foods.

The cruise phase alternates pure protein days with days where non-starchy vegetables are added.

The consolidation phase has some added carbs and there is still one pure protein day a week but on other days the protein, vegetables and one serving of fruit, two slices of 100% whole wheat bread and one serving of cheese.

The permanent stabilization phase is pretty self-explanatory - there are three rules to follow: pure protein every Thursday, three tablespoons of oat bran per day and preferably walking instead of taking the stairs or elevators.

Typical Daily Menu

Breakfast: warm drink (no sugar, can use sweetener or skimmed milk) with low fat yoghurt with oat bran

Lunch: steamed fish/grilled chicken breast with herbs plus low fat cottage cheese

Tea: tea or coffee, no sugar with oat bran muffins

Dinner: oat bran chicken nuggets/peppered steak


5 2 diet

The 5:2 diet is Europe's favorite regime, mostly because it generates results quickly, and if you're prone to overeating, it is probably the easiest one to stick to.

It involves calorie restriction for two non-consecutive days a week, which means you can pig out the other five days.

The diet requires "fasting" for two days a week, (not to be confused with its literary meaning) but allows normal calorie intake the other five days.

On fasting days men may eat 600 calories and women 500.

Celebrities like Miranda Kerr and Hugh Jackman are big fans too.

Typical Fasting Day Daily Menu

Breakfast: 300kcal - for instance two scrambled eggs with ham, green tea, black coffee and of course water

Lunch/Dinner: 300 kcal - grilled meat or fish with vegetables

Atkins Diet

Atkins Diet claims that you'll lose 15 pounds within two weeks while eating lots of fatty foods.

It is a low-carbohydrate diet consisting of fours phases - induction, ongoing weight loss, pre-maintenance and lifetime maintenance.

The idea is to limit the consumption of carbohydrates to switch the body's metabolism from focusing on glucose as energy over to converting stored body fat to energy.

Therefore sugars and starchy foods like potatoes, white bread, and rice are not allowed, whereas protein and fat like meat and eggs are encouraged.

The phases allow you to slowly build up calorie intake, starting off with very little and a great body for life should be achieved by simply steering clear of sugar and potatoes, while indulging in all the fat in the world.


Typical Daily Menu

Breakfast: fried egg and bacon, cup of decaff coffee with single cream

Lunch: chicken breast topped with melted mozzarella, mixed lettuce leaves with some olive oil

Dinner: pan-fried steak with spinach and sour cream

Paleo Diet

paleo diet

The Paleo Diet is a diet based on what cavemen ate in stone age times. You'll be eating wholesome, contemporary foods from the food groups our ancestors would have eaten - including fresh meats, fish, fresh fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, and healthy oils.

However, it does restrict all "inflammatory" foods like grains, legumes, dairy, refined sugar and processed foods.

The diet also claims to ward off diseases like diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure.

Typical Daily Menu

Breakfast: kale and kiwi green smoothie

Lunch: grilled chicken strips and asparagus

Dinner: grilled tuna with celery

Gluten Free Diet

gluten free

A gluten-free diet is a diet that excludes foods containing gluten. Gluten is a protein complex found in wheat (might also exclude oats) and makes some people prone to bloating.

It is recommended to people suffering from coeliac disease (gluten intolerance) but for non-sufferers, there is some debate as to whether they benefit from gluten-free diets.

Common foods that have gluten include pasta, bread, cakes, pastries, cereal, beer, dressings, sauces.

However, there is a common misconception that anything labeled "gluten-free" must be good for you - desserts can still be bad for you if they are laden with sugar, but there is a natural way to go gluten-free with a diet rich in whole foods, vegetables and lean protein.

A wide selection of gluten-free baked products (made from corn, rice, soy, nut or potato flour) are available to you.

Typical Daily Menu

Breakfast: cereal (labeled Gluten Free) and dairy free milk, piece of fruit

Lunch: gluten free hot dogs, steamed vegetable (cauliflower, broccoli, beans) and sweet boiled carrots

Dinner: meatloaf, oven fries, green beans and fruit salad

One last thing to keep in mind is that moderation is key.

You don't necessarily have to jump into these diets right away, they could just inspire you to try indulging in food consciously this holiday season.

Diet and fitness should go hand in hand, so it is crucial to incorporate a little bit of exercise into your every day life - try going for a walk on a cold winter morning all bundled up with your loved ones.

See Also:

Move Over 5:2 Diet

Forget The 5:2 And The Atkins Diet

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