Despite all the forthcoming festive food temptations, getting into a slim mind set right now can help you stay trim until new year – and beyond!

You are, according to science, the slimmest you’ll be all year right around now. You’ll have lost any summer weight, the lure of stodgy food hasn’t fully kicked in, the temptations of festive socialising are not yet upon us, and the British weather still hasn’t put the mockers on outdoor exercise.

Capitalising on all this by slipping into the right mindset means you needn’t make losing weight a New Year resolution as you’ll be able to stay healthy and slim over the coming months, all by creating new thinking habits.

Tapping into techniques such as cognitive behavioural therapy, Alexander Technique, mindfulness and even mindlessness, can change the way you view winter eating and exercise and escape seasonal diet pitfalls. So get ready to think slim all season…

Winter slim mindset 1: “I am in control”

When it comes to keeping on top of a healthy diet, the key is planning. Eating can spiral out of control all too easily if you leave it purely to impulse. But planning doesn’t have to be meticulous or time-consuming – even having a very loose plan can keep you on track.  There’s no reason to eliminate any food, just limit when and how much of it you choose.

Make a plan

Try writing down what you plan to eat tomorrow then make a note of what you actually do eat, including any off-plan foods – the MyFitnessPal app is good for this. If you find you’re veering off course, tweak your plan and adapt it to accommodate and compensate for the things you can’t resist.

Practise saying no

Another mind trick to stay in control is to actively practise saying no, which flexes your mind’s resistance muscle. Each time you say no to temptation, you help create a habit and increase your confidence in being able to resist.

Distract yourself

You can also help maintain that feeling of control by having a list of go-to distractions to quash cravings: go for a walk, drink tea, chew gum, brush your teeth, call a friend – anything that gets you to dodge impulse snacking.

Focus on goals

Finally, re-set your thinking by focusing on the pay-offs instead of what you’re giving up, with a list of reminder cards such as, “I’ll have more self-confidence”, “I’ll be stronger” and “I’ll feel more attractive”. ‘Every time you read the cards, you’re strengthening neural pathways and helping re-wire your brain’s automatic thinking.

your slimmest winter! 

Winter slim mindset 2:” I will keep moving”

Avoid the urge to hibernate by the time frosty weather bites by creating an inbuilt habit to move more right now. Increasingly, research is showing that one of the keys to health, and staying slim, is less about formal exercise regimes and more about embracing everyday movement and simply sitting still less often. So, how do you make regular natural movement a habit? Try these…

Reframe how you think about exercise

Getting your daily fix doesn’t have to be done in one big chunk. If you can’t face heading out into the cold for a morning run, do smaller bursts of activity throughout the day: take the stairs, do 15 minutes of interval training at lunch or even some vigorous housework – these can be just as effective as a long workout.

Take more movement breaks

If you have a job that means you spend the bulk of your day sat at a desk (the average Brit sits for 8.9 hours a day), set up an app on your phone or computer that reminds you to take a movement break, ideally every 20 minutes.

Ditch the sofa

If you’re at home, consider swapping the sofa for a treadmill or cross-trainer when you watch TV. Otherwise, try some squats or lunges during adverts, or do some stretches on the floor. Any movement is better than none.

Read the full article in the December issue of Top Santè, on sale now!