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With most of us just about recovering from the onslaught of food and alcohol we've been chowing down in the last few weeks, it comes as no surprise to find that losing weight is the most popular New Year's resolution on everyone's mind.
Research by Channel 4 revealed that 95 per cent of us have made promises to better ourselves in 2012, with curbing our weight, getting fit and eating more healthily the three most common resolutions.
But we all know that January is a difficult month to concentrate on healthy living - there's the cold weather, return to work and lack of money to contend with, and the warm, golden days of summer seem a long way off. There are still plenty of chocolates, cakes and biscuits in the cupboard left over from Christmas, so it can take every ounce of willpower not to succumb to our sugar cravings and undo all the good we've done in the first few days of this year.
But there are ways to beat the urge for sweet treats and it starts with a decent breakfast. Begin your day with a portion of protein to stabilise blood sugar levels, such as scrambled eggs on toast, or a handful of nuts and seeds sprinkled into your muesli or Greek yoghurt. A homemade fruit smoothie is another great way to get that sugar hit in a natural way - try freezing sliced fruit the night before and then blending them together to make a thick and frosty drink that will keep you going all morning. Avocados are particularly good additions to smoothies as they contain less sugar than bananas and are high in healthy fats, which help to keep the hunger pangs at bay.
For many of us, the hours of 11am and 3pm usually bring about strong sugar cravings, which mean that our blood sugar level has dropped. Restore it with an oat-based snack that will release a slow, steady stream of energy rather than a short-term spike, helping us to remain focused without wondering where our next sugar hit will come from.
Finally, if you want to lose a few festive pounds, remember that water is our friend. It's easy to mistake signs of dehydration for hunger, so drink a glass of water five minutes before your next meal or snack to make sure you are getting enough liquid in your diet.
Posted by Matilda Jones