Welcome to episode two of my recap of Get A Holiday Body. As if this title wasn’t dubious enough, the subtitle of this Channel 5 diet programme is Lose A Stone In A Month.
I’ve written all about why we can ignore the title in the episode one recap. Since this aired, Dr Michael Mosley has been trying to get volunteers to Lose a Stone in 21 Days on another channel, much to the dismay of other doctors. I’m all for rapid overhauls of our finances, but it seems our bodies don’t respond well to break neck changes for good reason. Unfortunately it’s hard to extricate our money from our health, or vice versa.
The show is really about gaining a kickstart that rolls on into long-term lifestyle changes. Otherwise all we need to do to get holiday body ready is to book some kind of travel and preferably some time off work…
Following a linear format, episode two caught up with Antony Costa and Zoe Birkett in week two of their activities with personal trainer Tim. Journalist Nicky Taylor meanwhile continued to try and match their results on a budget without any professional help. Nutritionist Linia Patel provides all the food advice for the show. (If I add anything below beyond Linia’s input, I’ll link to someone qualified cos that ain’t me).
Again, I haven’t written anything about the weigh-ins at the end of each episode because how much weight anyone loses doing anything is individual. Linia says it depends on our build, body composition, age, and history with diets, so a yo-yo dieter will usually lose weight more slowly anyway. Our weight is only one measure of health.
Here’s what I’ve covered below:
Get A Holiday Body Episode Two
- Linia’s Recipe Suggestions
- Diet Problems: Needing Vegetable Inspiration; Snacks On The Go
- Which Exercise Burns The Most Calories?
- How Does A Personal Trainer Create Abs?
- Are Salon Weight Loss Treatments A Waste of Money?
- Nicky Investigates: Chilli
- Nicky’s Calorie Swaps
This blog is my misson to help others do what I thought I couldn’t and save for a house against the odds. Here’s another dose of why crash dieting is a false economy, eating nutritiously doesn’t have to be expensive, and how to exercise for less so that we can hold onto our earnings for longer. The diet industry isn’t your friend compared to compound interest.
While I’m anti-crash diets and I’m not trying to invent my own health claims, this blog post references parts of the show that could bring up memories of disordered living for some of you e.g. over-exercising or calorie counting. If you’ve had an eating disorder before, or suspect you have an eating disorder, please speak to a professional ASAP.
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Linia’s Recipe Suggestions
Breakfast: Overnight oats with yoghurt, milk and berries (and chia seeds and vanilla if the budget stretches).
Since Nicky’s involvement in the show was to see if she could replicate Antony and Zoe’s efforts without paying for a nutritionist or PT, I thought I’d do what I usually do and analyse how to make any of the recipes cheaper without sacrificing the nutrition.
I think one of the big reasons lifestyle changes fail is because the change often completely ignores any financial implications. Financial and health goals are very difficult to separate. If we really want to eat more nutritiously or exercise more, it’s not just about building habits. We need to be able to sustain the change financially.
To chia seed or not to chia seed, that is the question…
In another Channel 5 show Diet Secrets and How to Lose Weight Linia suggested some alternatives to chia seed for plant-based omega 3. If we don’t eat oily fish like salmon, we might be used to seeing chia recommended as an alternative. I’d say chia is often priced as something trendy rather than priced as something that gets stuck in your teeth and looks a bit like frogs spawn when it’s absorbed liquid…
It does depend on where you buy it though. Even Lidl now sell milled chia for £1.25/200g last time I checked. That’s the cheapest I’ve seen. Because it’s milled, it won’t go in every recipe as lots of recipes rely on soaking the whole seed to create a pudding consistency. The whole seed also has more uses if we’re baking with it, or using the soaked seed as an egg replacement or binder in sauces (not likely unless you’re vegan!)
Skipping the chia seeds altogether will also change the texture of this therefore. The oats and seeds form more of a jelly consistency than the porridge texture of soaked oats by themselves.
If you don’t have a discounter nearby either, then you’ll struggle to find chia this cheap. Paying over the top though isn’t going to make you live longer. It might do the opposite if overspending on fancy schmancy ingredients is keeping you up night with money worries instead and taking years off your life!
Are you an Amazon Prime member? Occasionally their deals blow everyone else out the water (especially if you don’t live near a discounter in the first place and rely on grocery deliveries). Amazon Fresh are now offering free delivery to selected postcodes. If you usually pay for food deliveries, see if it nets you a saving with a 30 day free trial of Amazon Fresh first.
If you’re not a member, you can get a 30 day free trial of Amazon Prime beforehand. That should give you time to do some price comparisons on your food shopping (while you access everything else included like access to the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, free streaming of TV and music, and one-day delivery on your orders).
Students will want a free trial of Prime Student instead as the free trial lasts six months, and you pay 50% less if you decide to stay.
How to get omega 3 for less
Linia’s alternative suggestions were walnuts and flaxseed. The latter is a common breakfast topper but can also be mixed in like chia seeds and crops up in another recipe from the show: Breakfast Smoothie Recipe
Flaxseed can also be a salad topper, so you may find it better value than milled chia if you can add it to other things you like. I’ll think you’ll find it cheapest in a big bag from Tesco. I don’t like the taste personally, so it might be a Marmite situation: you’ll either love it or hate it! Lidl do a berry powder version that’s more palatable but also more expensive by weight, so it’s swings and roundabouts.
Walnuts are probably best as a topper rather than trying to mix them in. If you don’t like walnuts much, try toasting them. I like any nut I meet so long as it’s toasted first. You can soak them instead to make them less bitter. You need to dry them out properly to avoid mould if you are soaking a big batch to store though. (Roasting them should dry them out, but doing both makes it all a bit arduous). Toasted walnuts also go well in salads or on top of bolognese.
The cheapest I’ve seen walnuts is also at the discounters, at around 99p/100g. They actually cost more by weight than the chia therefore, but they are more versatile.
I’m sweet enough, honey: berries and vanilla extract
As far as I can tell the vanilla extract is just for flavour. It’s also one of the most expensive ingredients around depending on what’s happening with vanilla crops at any given time, so a budget version of this could leave out vanilla. Lidl do a very cheap vanilla extract, but that’s because it’s mostly a little bottle of liquid sugar with a tiny bit of vanilla added.
I think Linia said you can add some honey for sweetness. Sometimes berries on their own are sweet enough. If we drown it in vanilla extract with added sugar anyway, then we can probably skip the honey.
Overnight oats will soak in milk alone if we don’t have any yoghurt. No added sugar yoghurt adds protein and some fats while also giving this a thicker consistency.
Lunch: Vegetable Omelette
Vegetable and Feta Cheese Omelette Recipe
They used peppers and spinach with crumbled feta on top but the Get A Holiday Body recipes page refers to tomatoes instead. Once you know how to make an omelette though, I don’t think Linia will mind me saying you can put almost any veg you want inside.
Read the Save Money Good Food recaps on the blog if you want more ideas on how to make popular recipes cheaper without compromising health.
Dinner: Teryiaki beef stir fry
They used reduced salt sauce, and cooked the beef in coconut oil. Linia has a detailed post here on the research so far on coconut oil and when to use it/how often to use it as there’s been mixed messages over the fat it contains.
Ideas for veg to go in this include carrots, sprouts, sweetcorn and Chinese cabbage.
Diet Problems: Needing Vegetable Inspiration & Snacks On The Go
Zoe struggled to get in enough vegetables at the start of week two as she didn’t know what to prepare. Linia said aim for at least three different colours on your plate for a varied diet.
In the first episode she outlined the portions she expects her clients to eat for lunch: half a plate of veg, a quarter of the plate as carbs, and a quarter of the plate given to protein.
She took Zoe to a restaurant to test a bunch of sides so that she could get some ideas e.g. beetroot with ricotta, arancini with peas and broad beans.
Cheap “healthy” food on the go
Zoe also struggles whenever she’s employed because she ends up buying food on the road from service stations. Nicky suggested shop-bought lunches she’d found for less than 300 calories, but the number one way around this is to take our own meals and snacks with us.
On Shop Smart Save Money they found that shop-bought sandwiches are even worse value for money then they might first appear as lots of them are underfilled anyway. That’s an expensive way to eat less…
Anthony also needed tips on snacking because he gets caught out by low blood sugar. Linia suggested filling tupperwares with boiled eggs, nuts and fruit. She said you can boil an egg while in the shower (don’t take the egg in there with you). That must be a short shower! Good for the energy bills too then I suppose…
Which Exercise Burns The Most Calories?
Without a personal trainer Nicky wanted to prioritise exercise that burns more. In the first episode she looked at exercise that costs nothing at all. This time she was interested in exercise classes at the gym.
This is what different classes can theoretically burn:
- Yoga 200 cals/hr
- Low-impact aerobics 400 cals/hr
- Zumba 500 cals/hr
- High-impact aerobics 600 cals/hr
- Martial arts 800 cals/hr
The gym recommended she choose the thing she’ll enjoy most though as she’s more likely to keep going. Most of these can also be done for free via YouTube though.
I covered in How to Get Fit Fast (For Free) the most efficient and economical exercise for the best fitness and financial results if we’re short on cash and time.
How Does A Personal Trainer Create Abs?
Tim gave Anthony tranverse exercises to strengthen his abs. I’m pretty sure Linia said abs are made in the kitchen in episode one. So the answer is…it doesn’t matter how much you pay a personal trainer if the nutrition is askew.
Besides nutrition and targeted exercises though, Tim was also more concerned with Antony’s posture as correcting the way we stand flattens the stomach. He also champions better posture for lots of other wellbeing benefits because it’s harder to feel down if you’re looking up.
Strengthening muscles serves its own purpose obviously. To look strong on the outside though means shedding as much subcutaneous fat to reveal the muscles underneath.
To this end Tim’s outside gym continued to give Antony a combination of cardio and resistance training without using traditional dumbbells. Tim got Anthony pushing tractors and chopping wood instead. Most of us won’t recreate this on our own, so paying for a PT comes with a certain novelty factor.
In a group session with Zoe they all got in some rope climbing and boxing. Again see my recap of How to Get Fit Fast linked above for why boxing is like two exercises for the price of one.
Here’s a link again to Tim’s free Get A Holiday Body exercises which will go some way to achieving the same aim without the price tag of any of the above!
Are Salon Weight Loss Treatments A Waste Of Money?
They tested three treatments individually, but they didn’t feedback on the results in this episode. (It wouldn’t be any more scientific if they had since only one person tested each treatment).
It also leaves the door open to suggest that the treatments contributed to Antony and Zoe’s weigh-ins in the final episode which is debatable. Luckily a few of these treatments have been investigated on other shows which gives more of an idea of whether they’re worthwhile.
Ant went for ultrasound cavitation. This sounds like something Xand van Tulleken would love to be a guinea pig for on How to Lose Weight Well which I recapped also recently. From what I can see of the limited research so far, this has genuinely reduced abdominal fat in experiments, but they’ve all been on a small number of subjects.
Zoe paid £250 per session to zap her cellullite with high intensity infrared. Xand did investigate infrared treatments in series five of How to Lose Weight Well. The idea behind this is that the infrared light is meant to damage the cells that store fat.
An independent expert told Xand there’s some science behind it. However, he thought the light by itself won’t do much and that it has to be combined with exercise. Zoe was exercising, but it does lead to a bit of a chicken or the egg scenario… If her cellulite improves is it because of the infrared, the exercise, or both?
Nicky used a high street cream instead and a massager. The latter can still cost between £21 and £900. A doctor told Nicky a bit of massage might have some effect on the structures under the skin (since cellulite is fat poking out of the structure) and that exercise might make it appear better because of an overall fat reduction.
On The Truth About Looking Good they found dry brushing most effective, but they also pointed out nine out of ten women have cellulite and it’s not a disease… So why do we pay to get rid of something that occurs naturally?
Nicky Investigates: Chilli
A blogger in New York told Nicky to drink chilli-infused water to speed up her metabolism and credited her 18kg weight loss to adding lots of chilli to recipes.
A Warwick researcher said instead that there is some evidence that a chilli-based meal might have a small effect on weight loss… Or in other words, there’s no conclusive evidence that it has any significant consequence, so don’t punish yourself if you don’t like chilli. Especially as abusing chilli for weight loss can be fatal.
On a Tonight special for ITV that aired in January 2018 a woman told the story of her mother dying after using an anticellulite cream with chilli powder in the ingredients. She died from septic shock after using it and taking fat burning pills at the same time that she had bought online.
This combination of supplements is allowed under the regulations, but there is nothing online to warn you that the cream and the pill together could have this kind of reaction… Alone they seemed fairly innocent products. Combined they ruined more than one life. If you don’t know what the interaction’s going to be with anything else you take, best to stay alive, no? There are safer ways to lose weight if necessary at all.
The average Brit has a whole host of potions, lotions and pills that they pop without thought (and that’s just the legal ingredients…) It only takes one of these to have irreversible consequences. Makes you think twice about diet supplements I hope, chilli or no…
Nicky’s Calorie Swaps
In her quest to work out what to eat without the same professional assistance as Antony and Zoe, Nicky focused on eating her go-to foods, but while reducing calories. Last week was chocolate, and this week she was on the hunt for bags of crisps under 100 calories.
I’m not going to list the crisps. Nicky proceeded to demonstrate exactly what I was thinking during this segment by visiting an office and replacing their crisps with nuts, fruit and seeds. The latter are more nutritious I think you’ll find…
One worker lost weight swapping to the new snacks. Funnily enough more than one employee stopped snacking altogether as they realised they had been eating out of habit, not hunger.
Nicky also thought she’d been overeating, so she switched to smaller plates and smaller cutlery as an automatic way to keep her portions in line with what Linia recommended.
So How Do You Get Holiday Body Ready?
I keep telling you my fellow bears, all you have to do is go on holiday… Job done.
Otherwise here are the takeaways from this ep:
If you’re buying expensive ingredients especially to make a “diet” recipe, ask why the ingredients are included. If there’s more than one ingredient just for flavour or sweetness, start with the cheapest and then only add more ingredients if needed. (I’d favour eating anything that requires the least amount of effort on this front and still tastes good…)
Look in your cupboards for substitutes. As established in my recap of The Truth About Carbs, most foods are never a straight swap because they’re nutritionally unique. If you switch an ingredient to get less or more of something, there is always a trade-off. However if you’re buying chia just for the omega 3 or baobab purely for vitamin C, and so on, these can be found in cheaper sources depending on where you shop.
To fill half your plate with veg requires a bit of experimentation or you’ll quickly get bored of boiled veg. Look at restaurant menus for inspiration. I’ve got a blog post coming very soon about how to eat plant-based without undereating OR boredom, so subscribe at the bottom of this page if you’re stuck for ideas and want to know when that’s ready.
If you buy nuts, fruits and seeds, don’t unpack them straight into the cupboard or a fruit bowl. Portion them right away into tupperware so
that you’ve got snacks organised for the week to help you resist impulse buying on the go.
Add chilli to recipes if you like chilli, but don’t expect it to lead to significant weight loss. Be wary of anyone promoting supplements containing chilli, supplements sold online, and beware mixing creams and supplements.
Make exercise pay instead of just paying to exercise
If you’re paying for the privilege to exercise, have a go at classes that are intended to burn more to make more efficient use of your time. Otherwise some of the same exercises can be done for free via YouTube.
Paying a personal trainer won’t magically give us abs without careful attention to nutrition and a lot of hard work (and without improving our posture).
If you’re tempted into a miracle salon treatment, check the science behind it, and whether it’s only meant to be effective in combination with exercise. If the latter is true… how do you know you won’t get the same results just exercising for free?
Have you ever paid for a personal trainer? How did you get on and is it still a spending priority for you? Or was it not a cost you could justify in the long term? Let us know in the comments.
If you want to go back here’s the links to the previous recap again:
Get A Holiday Body Episode One Recap
Next time on Get A Holiday Body…
In episode three I’ve covered:
- Linia’s Recipe Suggestions
- Nicky’s Calorie Swaps: Desserts
- Diet Problems: Mindless Eating and Carb Phobias
- What Does Paying For A Personal Trainer Get You?
- How To Do HIIT At Home
- Nicky Investigates: Turmeric Water
- Are Alternative Weight Loss Treatments A Waste Of Money?
There’s one more part to go after that. I’ll send out a roundup to the mailing list when it’s all posted with the weekly tips on how to earn more and save more, so subscribe if you don’t want to miss those tips or the final parts.