What is it?A straightforward diet based on 1,250 calories a day, using high-fibre foods to make you feel fuller for longer and have plenty of energy. The recipes are easy and most can be made in minutes. If you slip up one day, don't beat yourself up... just get back on track as soon as you can.
How does it work?The 1,250 calories a day are enough to lose 3-4lbs in the first week and a steady 2-3lbs a week after that. Because we've chosen foods with plenty of bulk or with a reduced Glycaemic Index (GI), which release sugar slowly, you'll feel full longer and won't want to snack.
Who is the Shape-Up For Christmas Diet good for?Anyone who wants a fuss-free way to lose a few pounds in the run-up to Christmas and New Year's Eve. It was devised with Christmas parties in mind, but it's a great way to lose a few pounds sensibly for any special occasion.. or just because you want to.
How to do it
- It's simplicity itself. For each week (one to three weeks, depending on how near your special occasion is) just choose one breakfast, one lunch, one dinner and one snack from those listed per day. Vegetarian options are marked with a V. Vegetarians should choose cheese made with non-animal rennet and yogurts which don't contain gelatine. They should be marked suitable for vegetarians.
- Drink at least 6-8 glasses of fluid a day, ideally water, but tea, coffee, herbal tea, diet drinks and squashes are OK too.
- You should also have 275ml (9fl oz) skimmed milk in tea and coffee or to drink (this is on top of any milk in the meal and snack suggestions).
- If you are still hungry, 'free' foods you can eat at any time are any type of raw, boiled or steamed veg (excluding potatoes and sweet potatoes) a green leaf salad dressed with lemon juice or balsamic vinegar, a bowl of fresh or frozen berries (raspberries, strawberries, blueberries) or fresh melon.
- Check you're getting your 5 a day. Most of the meal combinations should ensure this, but if not, add in extra fruit or veg from the free food selection above. A portion is 2-3 tablespoons of veg or a bowl of salad
- Try to choose one oily fish meal (salmon or sardines) a week. It's rich in heart-healthy omega-3s.
- One sachet of Oatso Simple porridge made up with skimmed milk. A small banana. V
- 1 slice of granary toast with a 200g can baked beans. V
- McDonalds Egg McMuffin (not the sausage or bacon options)
- Bowl (40g) of All Bran with 125ml (just over 4fl oz) skimmed milk. An apple. V
- 1 x 125ml low fat natural bio yogurt topped with two tablespoons of muesli and a handful of blueberries. V
- Bowl (30g) of Kashi Honey wholegrain cereal with 125ml (just over 4fl
- 1 Jordans Apple and Sultana Multigrain Bar & 250ml bottle Innocent
- 1 slice of soya and linseed bread (e.g. Vogels or Burgen) toasted,
- 1 slice of wholemeal toast spread with 1tsp low-fat spread. Serve with 1
tomato and 4 grilled medium-sized mushrooms.
- 3 tbsp unsweetened fruit and nut muesli with 125ml (just over 4fl oz)
- Bagel filled with reduced-fat cream cheese. Serve with a salad of
virtually fat-free fruit-flavoured fromage frais. V
- 2 taco shells filled with green leaves, tomato and peppers, 3 tbsp
- Half a small can of sardines in tomato sauce on two pieces of wholemeal
- 1 wholemeal pitta filled with cold skinless chicken, watercress and 2
- Half a 600g carton New Covent Garden Carrot & Coriander soup &
with sliced tomato. V
- One 250g pack John West Tuna Light Lunch Tomato Salsa and 125g pot
- Sandwich made with two slices of medium-sliced mutigrain bread spread
fillings below (follow with a piece of fruit such as an apple or pear):
Reduced-fat cheese. V
Reduced fat hummus. V
Tuna in brine
- A medium baked potato with any of the toppings below (follow with a piece of fruit like an apple or pear):
Handful of wafer-thin ham and two tbsp tinned pineapple chunks (in juice)
Half a can of ratatouille. V
Small pot of cottage cheese with chives, mixed with a grated carrot and chopped tomato. V
- Broccoli and Pine Nut Pasta, Boil 100g pasta and add 125g broccoli 5
pine nuts and 8 halved cherry tomatoes plus a tsp of olive oil. Toss
well and serve immediately. Bowl of raspberries. V
- Small roast chicken breast (no skin), 2 small oil-brushed roast
granules. Scoop of sorbet.
- 220g pack Dolmio Express Microwave Fusilli with 170g pack Dolmio Tomato
- Half a 270g Pizza Express margarita pizza with salad. Plus a bowl of fresh fruit salad. V
- One 100g (4oz) grilled salmon fillet, served with a small jacket potato
- Grilled fresh sardines. Crush one clove of garlic, rub into the inner
through. Serve with one boiled sweet potato, broccoli, and wedges of
lemon. Half a 420g tin of Del Monte Fruit Cocktail in Juice.
- 150g (raw weight) lean rump steak grilled and served with 100g (4oz)
- Vegetable Sweet and Sour Stir-fry. Stir-fry two large handfuls of
in a tbsp of rapeseed oil. Add 3 tbsp drained pineapple chunks in
juice, half a can of canned tomatoes, squirt of tomato purée, plus white
wine vinegar and honey to taste. Bring to the boil and simmer until the
sauce has thickened. V
- Prawn Kebab. Thread 150g raw king prawns onto 2 kebabs interspersed
oil and sprinkle with black pepper or a little mild chilli powder and
grill until cooked through (grey prawns turn pink). Follow with a Gu 50g
Cheeky Chocolate dessert.
- 7 roasted salted or hickory smoked almonds. V
- 1 pot of Muller Light Cherry yogurt
- 2 medium apples. V
- 3 slices of mango (fresh or tinned and drained) with 2 slices of fat-removed Parma ham
- 80g pack Boots Shapers Carrot Crunchies, one apple and a handful of grapes. V
- 3 teaspoons of peanut butter with carrot sticks. V
- 4 small squares of high quality dark chocolate with 70% cocoa solids. V
- 50g pack Weight Watchers cheese spread & spring onion dipper
- 100g prawns with one tbsp low-fat thousand island dressing
- Small handful of peanuts and raisins. V
Ready meals aren't out of bounds. For an evening meal choose one
with less than 400 calories and add lots of undressed vegetables or
A bought lunch-time sandwich or salad should have no more than 300
calories. Eat with a couple of satsumas.
You can swap your daily snack for 1 x 150ml (1/4 pt) glass of red or
white wine, or two small gin and tonics (each made with 25ml (1fl oz)
gin and diet tonic)
Where to next?
Christmas Sex positions and diets
Christmas recipe guide
Christmas money saving tips
If you are ready to start your Christmas shape up and want an easy way to keep track of those calories join the goodtoknow diet club. It has an online food diary with a database of over 90,000 foods to make calorie counting easy.