Joe Wicks on why you shouldn’t try restrictive dieting this January – Irish Examiner

Posted: January 12, 2020 at 2:43 am

January usually happens like clockwork: a slew of new self-help books, articles and slimming blogs encourage you to be your best self, often by adopting a radical new diet that promises to blitz those spare inches around your waist for good.

The problem is, many crash diets encourage periods of miserable fasting and cutting out sometimes entire good groups overnight, and demonise food to the point where youre whole relationship with eating can be under threat.

According to fitness guru Joe Wicks who has successfully helped thousands of people to lose weight staying on these restrictive diets for a long period of time is often unrealistic and unhealthy. Even if you do lose weight initially, its not unusual to gain it again (plus even more, in some cases) before the spring comes around.

Thankfully, attitudes around diet culture are changing. A new survey commissioned by recipe box company Gousto ( has found two-thirds (68%) of UK adults believe the one-size-fits-all model just doesnt work.

So, how can you shed those excess pounds in a safe and effective way? We asked Wicks to give us some quick tips

Why should people avoid restrictive diets in January?

Its the time of year now where everyone wants to make changes to their life, whether thats with exercise or food, but the last thing you want to do especially if youre someone who really loves food is to go on a low-calorie diet, says Wicks, 33.

Sure, it will work in the short-term and youll probably lose weight on the scales, but emotionally its going to absolutely ruin you. Youre going to be so exhausted, you wont enjoy it and its not going to be a sustainable approach.Joe Wicks is urging people to avoid jumping on the crash-diet bandwagon (Gousto/PA)

Try to think about a long-term vision, as opposed to a quick crash diet. Incorporate it with exercise and cooking with fresh ingredients at home; youre much more likely to succeed throughout the year.

Why do people fail at New Years diets?

Because theyre awful, arent they? Dieting is normally all about how little you can eat and how much exercise you can do. When you combine those two things, it effects your sleep, your mood and your energy levels.

If I could give you one tip, its to focus on getting yourself moving instead. I always tell people to start with 15-20 minutes a day of exercise at home; this will get your energy levels up and your self-esteem boosted. Exercising is going to have a massive effect on your food choices and your ability to go into the kitchen and cook yourself something healthy.

Trying to do everything all at once is a bit much, he adds. Focus on fitness first, and the rest will hopefully follow.

What other tips do you have for those looking to lose weight this year?

Have a look at your portion control. Im not saying to count calories, but to keep your plate to a healthy size. The good thing about exercise is that it elevates your mental health and your mood so much that you dont want to go and put junk food in your body afterwards.

Meal prepping is one of the best things you can do too. If you leave the house without food, youre going to grab options on-the-go, which will likely be unhealthy convenience food.

Thats fine to do once or twice a week, but if youre doing it a lot, youre never going to truly know exactly how much youre consuming. The simple act of making some overnight oats for breakfast, or a salad for lunch can make a huge difference over time when it comes to staying lean.

What are you favourite ingredients for healthy eating?

I really think its great to have chopped tomatoes, coconut milk, curry powder, spices and tins of lentils, pulses, grains and beans in your cupboard. With these key ingredients, you can make really amazing veggie curries, or you could throw some chicken in there for some extra protein. Rice is also a great staple for making quick stir-fries after work.

Theres no magic fat-loss food; its all about getting a good balance of everything and getting lots of fruits and veg in your diet.

Its good to be a bit intuitive with it ask yourself what foods make you feel energised and healthy? Dont think you have to jump onto a certain diet because everyone else is doing it.

Do you follow a flexitarian diet yourself?

Yes. I eat a lot of veggie meals and with Gousto, I get four recipe boxes delivered per week that I can make at home. Three of those will be vegetarian and one will be meat-based.

Thats a massive step for me. During the process of researching and writing my veggie cookbook, Veggie Lean in 15 (16.99, Pan Macmillan), I realised that you can get really amazing food as a vegetarian. Im still not fully committed to going hardcore vegan though.

Many people feel like they dont have time to cook healthily, do you think thats untrue?

I really think you have to remove that time barrier from your mind. We know full well that we can smash a Netflix series in a couple of days or watch our soaps, so we can all find half an hour to exercise or cook well if we prioritise it.

It doesnt need to be hours in the kitchen either. My whole philosophy with my Lean in 15 series is that you can make a really healthy and nutritious meal in just 15 minutes, and have some leftover for lunch the next day.

Its that kind of mentality of prepping in advanced and being organised that works in the long-run.

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Joe Wicks on why you shouldn't try restrictive dieting this January - Irish Examiner

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