Already feeling the party dress panic? There’s just enough time to tone up for the festive season with our four-week body-con challenge

The challenge

Jane Shackleton, 32, works in marketing. All she wants for Christmas is an LBD-ready body

‘Earlier this year, I managed to lose 1st 10lb, but only by following a quick, faddy diet. Since then, I’ve struggled to shift any more weight and my enthusiasm has nose-dived. I’ve got some serious wobbly bits. I hate my waist and saddlebags, and the thought of baring flabby arms in a dress makes me shudder.

‘Christmas is always a hectic time for me. I have a really busy social life anyway, so I struggle to fit exercise around seeing my friends at the best of times. This year, though, I’m determined to walk into my office party pull of confidence, wearing the sort of sexy body con dress I’ve never been able to wear before.

‘I know it’s going to take a big effort I tend to rely on microwave dinners when I’m busy or out a lot but I’m ready for the challenge. I’m fed up of feeling big and uncomfortable during those inevitable meet-ups with old friends and family. This Christmas I want to look and feel my fabulous best and stay that way in 2013…’

The solution

Personal trainer San Feltham (smashthefat.com), says, ‘Jane’s busy bad food choices, so, first up, she has to take control of her diet. She should start by taking photos of all her meals – it’s easier than writing a food diary, and she can visibly check she’s not slipping up. To see results in just four weeks, she needs to cut down on sugar, wheat, alcohol and processed foods, and eat more lean protein and veg.

‘If Jane really wants to slim down by Christmas, she needs to create some exercise time and be uber-committed to the workout I’ve created for her. It’s a simple circuit that targets every part of her body, but really focuses on those classic party dress hotspots – waist, legs and arms. Combined with one intensive work out a week and a couple of fun, low-intensity exercises such as swimming or cycling with friends, I guarantee this plan will leave Jane looking and feeling fabulous in her perfect party dress. Surely that’s worth four weeks of hard work?

The diet rules

1.    Fill up on healthy proteins such as lean chicken, lean turkey, seafood, eggs, nuts and seeds, and plenty of non-starchy veg. Add flavour with herbs and spices.

2.    Drink 2.5l filtered or mineral water a day, to reduce toxins in your body.

3.    Don’t eat any wheat-based foods, such as bread or pasta, for the next four weeks, and no starchy foods (rice, potatoes) for the first two weeks.

4.    Limit fruit to two pieces a day (due to its high content of natural sugars).

5.    Limit your alcohol intake to one or two glasses of wine a week.

6.    Sip herbal and fruit teas to stay hydrated. Tea and coffee are fine if you can’t do without, but don’t add any sugar.

Plus: Aim for seven to nine hours of sleep a night, to reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol in your body, which can make it more difficult to lose weight.

A day in the diet

Breakfast: scrambled eggs with green beans, asparagus and spinach

Lunch: prawn salad with lettuce, tomato, red onion, red pepper and avocado

Dinner: turkey fried in a little oil with broccoli, mushrooms, courgette and carrots

Snack: handful of sunflower seeds with paprika and chili flakes; an apple

A day in the diet

A day in the diet

The workout

·         Monday: upper body circuit, three times, with two minutes’ rest in between

·         Tuesday: rest

·         Wednesday: lower body circuit, three times, with two minutes’ rest in between

·         Thursday: total body workout (upper and lower body circuits)

·         Friday: total body workout, plus 1 mile run, 20 up-hill sprints for 20 yards, and 1 mile run back

·         Saturday: low-intensity activity (eg, long walk, gentle bike ride)

·         Sunday: low-intensity activity

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