Welcome to episode three of my recap of Get A Holiday Body. This dodgy titled Channel 5 diet programme sounds at first like it should be about crash dieting.
If it’s not your first time around these parts, then you’ll have read me saying something along the lines of the diet industry is trying to lead us all to financial ruin… However, as I explained in the episode one recap the show is really about longterm lifestyle changes. All we need to do to get holiday body ready is to book some kind of travel and preferably some time off work…
Antony Costa and Zoe Birkett were in week three of their lifestyle overhaul for this episode with more help from personal trainer Tim and nutritionist Linia Patel.
Nicky Taylor meanwhile continued to try and match their results on a budget without any professional help. I’m like Nicky in that I don’t have a PT or a nutritionist on my doorstep. Assume therefore any health claims below come from the show’s experts unless I’ve linked to someone else qualified. They say you shouldn’t poke a bear, but do poke me in the comments if I’ve forgotten to link anything because I’d rather not make any claims of my own.
As per usual I haven’t included the weigh-ins at the end of each episode. Linia says how much weight anyone loses from a lifestyle change depends on our build, body composition, age, and history with diets. So for example, a yo-yo dieter will usually lose weight more slowly anyway. Our weight is only one measure of health. I was more interested as ever in the health gains and whether all of it is really essential spending.
Here’s what I’ve covered below:
Get A Holiday Body Episode Three
- 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?
I’m continuing my misson to help others do what I thought I couldn’t and save for a house against the odds. I hope this latest dose skips the nonsense and helps you spend better on food and fitness. Then you can put your money towards a roof over your head instead.
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: Banana and oat pancakes with fresh fruit
They used a blender to make a batter from the banana and oats with yogurt and eggs. It’s possible to make banana egg pancakes without a blender because you just mash the banana and then mix it into beaten egg with baking powder.
Mixing raw oats into this without a blender isn’t going to have the same texture obviously. I wonder if oat bran would work…If anyone tries this before me, post your feedback in the comments!
This recipe uses coconut oil. Linia has written about coconut oil and when to use it if you feel like the news coverage on this oil is like a live demonstration of Katy Perry’s Hot n Cold.
I noticed Antony had Quaker oats in the background. These are priced high per weight compared to own brand porridge oats for 75p/kg in the discounters. Especially for something like this where we’re just blending it anyway, there’s no point in paying for a finer milled oat.
Even though this is a recipe from Linia, Antony only ate one of the pancakes because he’s convinced himself that carbohydrate is the source of his problems. Linia designed this recipe to balance blood sugar though. Low blood sugar caught him out during the first two weeks as he tried to exercise on an empty stomach.
Lunch: Tuna satay salad
Literally tuna, red pepper in peanut butter and sweet chilli sauce on green leaves. The sweet chilli sauce is optional even.
Look for tinned tuna from the discounters for a sustainable bargain and a peanut butter without added ingredients like Meridian. If you eat peanut butter regularly, it’s possible to get the kilo tubs from Holland and Barrett cheapest when they’re on offer if you stack them with other promotions. The same applies to Pip and Nut (which has salt added and tastes very much so).
Aldi do a peanut butter with nothing added that is the cheapest of all of these by weight when they’re all full price. This only comes in small jars most of the time, so it’s ideal if you’re not so much of a nut butter nutter. I did once successfully buy a 1kg tub though, so perhaps they’ll bring it back in a larger quantity.
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.
Dinner and snacks
The fish is baked with peppers in olive oil. Other frozen white fish are far cheaper. There’s another optional ingredient, so we can skip the capers to keep cost down.
Snack: Fruit dipped in dark chocolate.
Melt dark chocolate, dip any fruit, and put in the fridge or freezer shortly to set.
This was another chocolate solution for Zoe after the milkshake in episode one. She started looking for sweet things in the evening when her partner was eating dinner because she’d already had her dinner early with their child. Two dinners might be alright for a Hobbit, or the dudes I went to uni with who were bottomless pits who went to the gym twice a day, but it wasn’t quite in line with what Zoe wanted.
Tip: Veggies that grow above ground have more fibre and less starch than underground veg like potatoes. (Starchy veg doesn’t count as one of our 5 A Day).
Nicky’s Calorie Swaps: Desserts
Nicky so far had tended more towards snacks we can buy rather making anything from scratch (the latter is nearly always cheaper!) Given Zoe’s dessert dilemma, Nicky found some shop-bought desserts under 100 calories:
Muller rice 196 cals
Fibre One 90 cal brownies
Alpro mousse 87 cals
Hartleys jelly pots 10 cals
Halo Top 70 cals per serving
Obviously the temptation when it’s low calorie is to have more than one serving which can be counterproductive if we’re not really hungry. These were all branded too, but there are own brand versions of most of these except for the Fibre One perhaps. I looked at the ingredients for Fibre One and half the ingredients aren’t anything you would find in a domestic kitchen, so that was offputting.
I doubted the jelly would be satisfying, but I have seen a bodybuilder using these to fill up in between meals while on a cut (i.e. while in a calorie deficit to make muscles look “shredded”). The same dude did also point out though that they are a money pit…
It almost goes without saying that there’s basically no nutritional value to them whatsoever. I know that’s not the point of this segment, but it seems a shame to spend on something to eat when you’d get about as much value from chewing on your wallpaper… Linia’s idea is nutritious and cheaper.
Diet Problems: Mindless Eating And Carb Phobias
Linia had suggested these snacks also:
- Banana and peanut butter
- Houmous on oat cakes
- Hard boiled egg and tomato
- Nuts and fruit
However, Nicky was eating all of these snacks each day when Linia intended for her to choose one per day. Whoops! I’m not sure how she even fitted all this in as well as breakfast, lunch and dinner, unless she was eating every two hours or less during a twelve hour window?
Anyhoo, Nicky met a food psychologist who said this was mindless eating because we snack while doing other things, or as a stress response. If you’re stressed, she said take a time out before sitting down with any food. If you have any ideas on how to be more aware of this, shove ’em in the comments because the trick is recognising that it’s a stress response in the first place. Do you always reach for the same food when you’re stressed?
Nicky found an office employee who couldn’t even remember what they’d eaten for lunch. This is a classic example of mindless eating. She got them to eat a snack with no distractions and to actively think about the food in front of them. For the rest of the week the office weren’t “allowed” to eat at their desks, to see if it would have an effect on how much they ate and whether they’d remember eating at all!
One volunteer stopped snacking because she learned to recognise when she was full for the first time. (Unlike last week’s employee who when choosing between fruit and nuts or crisps and chocolate, decided they were never hungry enough to snack on fruit and nuts. There’s a balance available here between not eating if we’re not hungry and actually getting more nutrition from a snack swap).
Do you have a carb phobia?
Meanwhile, Linia wanted to cure Antony of his carb phobia since it was stopping him from eating the specially designed recipes…And if he won’t eat a nutritionist’s meal plan, what does that leave?
Linia took him for sourdough pizza. Sourdough is meant to be more digestible than a white dough base and is very chewy. She said one slice of pizza wasn’t going to be counterproductive. He could get his veg in from choosing veggie toppings instead of meat. The problem is only eating it all day every day.
What Does Paying For A Personal Trainer Get You?
Tim’s guidance this week was mainly from afar down to circumstance. Antony had to look after his daughter so Tim got Antony to take her to a Trampoline Park (or was his daughter really taking him?),so that he wouldn’t miss his training.
20 minutes can burn 160 calories and this is a type of exercise that continues to burn calories after the fact. On How to Get Fit Fast, Anna and Amar talked about HIIT and SIT which work on the same principle. (Antony also got his daughter to help him while he cooked; this is a way to get your other half or whoever you live with on board if you want to change what you eat).
The show sent Zoe to play football instead. How to Get Fit Fast singled out team sport too as an efficient way to exercise. This is partly because of the social element which makes players more likely to keep going.
How To Do HIIT At Home
PT and Strength Coach Caveman Dan the Exercise Man gave Nicky some ideas to exercise at home since she didn’t have the luxury of Tim’s input. She’d been cycling and going to Zumba twice a week, but worried about fitting it all in long term. She wanted ways to squeeze in activity without having the faff of leaving the house. (This implies the reason she had time to eat all of Linia’s snack suggestions in one day might have been if her only work while filming revolved around the food and exercise of the show).
Dan’s home exercise suggestions:
- Fill two four-pinters of milk with sand and use as a weight for squats
- Sprints on the spot
- Fast feet
- High knees
Joe Wicks has made his name on providing free HIIT workouts on YouTube. Here’s one of his videos that includes some of the above exercises.
Tim and Dan and most of the fitness industry would probably appreciate it if I point out that there’s always the risk of injury if you design your own exercise plan. However, there’s also a risk of injury with any form of exercise judging by the way footballers hobble around despite having all the professional help in the world… Start easy.
Nicky Investigates: Turmeric Water
Nicky spoke to a “turmeric advocate” who claims they lost 20kg because of turmeric’s effect on water retention. (Gosh, 20kg is a lot of water retention weight. An impossible amount to carry in fluid alone without drowning on the inside you might say…)
On How to Lose Weight Well they investigated water retention and cutting fluids like supervised athletes and actors do… As soon as you rehydrate, you just retain the water again. Everyone needs to drink daily to survive, so the idea that turmeric could shed so much water weight sounds like tosh on the surface.
Google turmeric teas or lattes and you’ll find plenty of recipes all with added sugar. I can eat sugar straight out the bag, and drinking some turmeric at the same time isn’t going to cancel out the consequences for my heart and my teeth.
An expert told Nicky there is some evidence that turmeric impacts water retention, but only if someone uses turmeric for longer than three months. The weight loss was a kilo or two i.e. less than you might lose doing other things.
Under three months, the impact was so small that there was almost nothing to measure. So unless you want to drink turmeric for the rest of your life, it’s probably not worth buying turmeric especially for this (tastes good in a curry though…) Perhaps just lay off the salt as the NHS and How to Lose Weight Well (linked above) suggest.
Are Alternative Weight Loss Treatments A Waste Of Money?
Zoe, Antony and Nicky all got stuck in this time trying alternatives to nutrition and exercise that are marketed as weight loss treatments.
Zoe used a body shake board worth £795. She didn’t fancy it as it she likes to break a sweat. You could break a lot of sweats with a PT for the same money.
Antony tried electromagnetic muscle stimulation for £45 a session. Again, they investigated this and similar principles on How to Lose Weight Well also. (Xand thought he was going through a simulation of the pain of childbirth, so he wasn’t a fan).
This can’t be used without a qualified expert or with certain health conditions/while pregnant, so there isn’t a free or budget version. On How to Lose Weight Well the expert suggested exercise would stimulate the muscle more than EMS if we’re in a position to exercise.
Can you freeze off fat?
Zoe and Antony also went for cryotheraphy which involves subjecting yourself to extreme cold temperatures in a chamber. Clinics market this with all kinds of claims attached. From a weight loss perspective I suppose you’re meant to shiver off some weight, or stimulate brown fat. Again there was no follow up so they could leave open the idea that this was all contributing somehow to the final episode reveal…
Xand tried cryolipolysis in another series of How to Lose Weight Well which applies extreme cold directly to body parts to break up fat. That made a visible difference to his abdomen. This might be one occasion where a treatment’s price reflects its potential, as opposed to the many extortionate treatments that do sweet nothing, but sound special.
Cryolipolysis is more for sculpting to get rid of stubborn pockets of fat that won’t shift in spite of nutrition and exercise, rather than trying to freeze off a lot of weight without doing any work of our own. (Oh, and like EMS, this one is also a case of no pain, no gain).
Xand got his cryolipolysis treatment at the Cavendish Clinic. No, an ice pack at home won’t do the same.
Nicky went sea swimming instead with the same intention in mind as the cryotheraphy. This at least has some novelty value if we’re bored of doing the same exercise.
Do you have any exercise gadgets you regret buying, or equipment you never use? Or do you have an investment you swear by? Do you have any tips on how to make sure you get in some weekly or daily exercise? Let us know in the comments!
So How Do You Get Holiday Body Ready?
Step one: book a flight… Step two: get on flight…
Forget achieving society’s idea of a “holiday body”. The real question is how to do we make sustainable lifestyle changes to stop us worrying about our health and money? (I think you’ll find one impacts hard on the other).
If you’re carb phobic like Antony, dig deeper to find out why a recipe has been recommended. It might be defeating the objective to skip the carbs included. The occasional qualified person is just as guilty of spouting pseudoscience as some bloggers, so there’s never any harm in researching a health claim. However, if you go with your instincts instead of trusting a recipe from a nutritionist like Linia, your regime is likely to be built on a house of sand. Or turmeric.
There are low calorie premade versions of nearly anything you can think of, but these often have a nutrition trade off. Often the makers replace fat with sugar, and they will nearly always cost more than making our own snacks and desserts.
We can experiment with eating meals/snacks with no distractions whatsoever to see if it impacts how much we eat. Eating out of boredom and stress is like setting fire to money.
If we exclude an entire food group like carbs in search of a benefit, we also lose out on some other nutrition. Aim for portion control rather than exclusion if you’re convinced that your day heavily skews towards one food group.
It pays to exercise (but you can exercise for free)
If other responsibilities clash with your planned exercise, see if you can’t turn any unexpected commitments into something active anyway.
Consider joining a team sport if you don’t get an exercise high, but like to socialise. The latter will give you the motivation to move.
Turmeric water seems unlikely to have a short term effect on weight loss through tackling fluid retention.
The alternative treatments were mostly very expensive ways to avoid exercise. However, exercise has other benefits besides its relation to weight. The evidence so far suggests nutrition and exercise will have more of an impact on weight than alternative treatments anyway. (Cryolipolysis might be an exception and was connected to this episode, but featured on another show).
Next time on Get A Holiday Body…
In episode four I’ve covered:
- Linia’s Recipe Suggestions
- Calorie Swaps: Takeaways
- What Does Paying For A Personal Trainer Get You?
- How To Exercise For Free: Apps
- Nicky Investigates: Heat Treatments
I have one more part to write and I’ll send a round up to the mailing list at the end. Subscribe if you want a reminder when it’s all ready (and for other tips on earning and saving more in all kinds of spending areas).