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Feasting and Fasting during your Holiday

01 December 2020

by Dr Monique Hope-Ross

Merry Christmas to all our readers and a big thank you for all your messages and support in 2020. We wish you a safe, happy and joyous Festive Season and a Happy and Healthy New Year. We share with you some Whisperer-Top Tips to make sure you can enjoy a guilt free and wonderful holiday, without the need for bigger jeans in January!

Firstly, some simple facts. People gain weight over their adult lives, every single year. Approximately half a kilo or one pound. And guess when that usually happens? Yep, Christmas. Be reassured everyone here at Whisperer HQ, just like you we will be enjoying the festivities and the food. A few pounds sounds like a small amount, but the real issue is that people never shed the weight gained over Christmas. Even modest weight gains every winter are sufficient to tip the balance from lean and healthy, to obesity with poor metabolic health.

The good news is that you can (well almost) have your cake and eat it during the Christmas holiday, using whisperer strategies. And here's how to do it.

Wishing you a very Happy Christmas from Whisperer HQ, Monique and Paul


  • Making informed food choices can go a long way to give you maximum pleasure and minimum weight gain
  • Never, ever snack. This causes insulin to circulate constantly, making you feel hungry every few hours. And remember circulating insulin prevents fat-burn
  • Appetizers may look good, taste good, but pack a hefty amount of energy and you can easily eat a meal’s worth of food before you sit down. Consider your pre-prandial snacks! Healthy alternatives or none at all!
  • Go heavy on the greens and light on the white starchy foods; the greens also provide you with lots of fibre, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients
  • Portion control goes a long way to avoiding over-eating, and is a quiet way of eating a little less. Avoid those second helpings
  • Puddings pack a huge energy punch, so beware, they are a source of excess energy. Focus on your favourite treat, enjoy it and forget the rest
  • Try to eat only when you are hungry; why go to the fridge when you are not hungry?
  • Alcohol is very energy dense and is the cause of many peoples' seasonal weight gain. Straight spirits contain the fewest calories; or that long vodka!


  • Intermittent fasting is the bazooka of weight control. It allows you to feast and then fast and gives your insulin time to recover and allows your body to fat-burn
  • Watch your EatSpan. Eating all your daily food within a daily ten-hour window helps with weight control, even if the same amount of food is consumed
  • ‘Fat adaptation’ (see blogs and book) gives you all the tools you need to control your holiday indiscretions allowing you to easily use intermittent fasting to torch fat, including belly fat. You are in the pound seats, you can enjoy a feast, and then burn fat quickly and control your weight
  • If you are fat adapted and have overindulged, add in a long fast to really ‘burn’ that belly fat. Repeat until you reach your target weight, and resume your whisperer-stable plan, with a fasting regime to suit you
  • If you are fat adapted and you have had a blow-out for more than two weeks, consider going to the whisperer-recover plan, which will increase your fat adaptation again
  • If you are not fat adapted, and the entire holiday has gone askew, start the 12-week whisperer plan from scratch. Many people are able to lose a kilo each week (2 pounds) and your metabolic health will improve within weeks.


  • Weighing yourself every day is a proven, sure-fire way to help prevent weight gain and aid weight loss. Hard to believe but true. The converse also applies, studies confirm that when you stop weighing yourself regularly; weight gain is common


  • Social jet lag, where we change our daily rhythms during holidays or at the weekend causes disruption of our circadian rhythms
  • Social jet lag is associated with weight gain
  • Social jet lag disturbs our gut bugs and is associated with metabolic syndrome
  • We tamper with our body clocks at our peril


  • Exercise is critical for physical and mental health. We know it lowers blood pressure, cholesterol, slows ageing, and lowers the risk of cancer, heart disease and stroke. But you cannot outrun your holiday excesses, unless you are Dean Karnazes, an ultramarathon runner, who can and does run all day and all night. He is one of life’s exceptional people that can ‘actually’ outrun their kitchen
  • But, getting out in the morning daylight helps to synchronise your body’s clocks and aids your sleep. If you’re a regular athlete then great. However, if exercise is not your thing, just follow the normal whisperer advice. Go for a gentle walk instead.
  • If you don’t exercise regularly, this is not the time to start. If you’re thinking of starting exercise fitness in the New Year, then take our advice; get your weight down first and start very gently. Slow and long is much better than pushing too hard
  • And remember, don’t listen to those gym adverts; you don’t need one. We have a great blog explaining why gyms talk utter rubbish regarding weight loss. Our two favourite chuckles are “afterburn” and “building muscle to burn fat”.


  • Being part of a group, however informal, is associated with better weight control than trying to do this on your own
  • Obesity is contagious and you tend to follow the habits of those that surround you. Find a buddy that shares your goals and encourage each other; it will reap rewards

Oranges: Unpeel the Gift of Life

A recent study looked at the anti-ageing effect of oranges

  • During the Great Depression, oranges were an exotic, luxury stocking filler. The practice stretches back to the time of St Nicholas, who helped a poor man by tossing sacks of gold down his chimney, for his daughter's dowry. Oranges came to represent the sacks of gold.
  • Oranges are packed with rich phytochemicals, potent healthy antioxidants which have anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties
  • Wang et al demonstrated the powerful anti-ageing effects of oranges in laboratory experiments and elucidated how this works
  • Lifespan was increased up to 26% using orange extracts in nematodes (small worms)
  • Antioxidant enzymes were increased were increased and free radicals decreased

Vitamin D: The Vitamin that keeps on giving

Evidence finds that vitamin D reduces cancer deaths

  • It is estimated that 50% of people in the northern hemisphere are affected by low vitamin D
  • Vitamin D is found in fish, red meat, eggs and liver
  • The daily dose of vitamin D dietary supplements should be less than 100ug (4,000IU)
  • The VITAL study is an ongoing study, involving over 25,000 people, assessing the effect of dietary supplements with Vitamin D and omega-3’s. Key findings of the study published recently were:
  • Vitamin D supplements reduce the risk of cancer death
  • Vitamin D supplements reduce the risk of developing advanced or metastatic cancer
  • The strongest risk reduction was seen in those of normal weight

In the News: Published this Week

Your Dog and Diabetes. Do you and your dog share a risk of developing diabetes?

  • Like humans, diabetes in dogs is rising
  • An association between overweight owners and fat dogs has been previously described
  • In the BMJ this week, Delicano showed that dog owners who have a dog with diabetes, are more likely to develop diabetes themselves
  • This may be due to shared lifestyles
  • No association was found between cats with diabetes and their owners

Myth: Calorie Counting

Confirmatory evidence shows:

  • RA Lewis, a physicist published the result of a self study on energy equilibrium, in the BMJ this week. He confirmed the following:
  • Steep changes in energy intake do not result in step changes in weight
  • One extra apple a day will add 2Kg (4.5lbs) over a year
  • Weight can fluctuate by 2Kg (4.5lbs) over the course of a day
  • Weight loss of 0.25kg (1lb) occurs overnight

Wishing you a very Happy Christmas from Whisperer HQ,

Monique and Paul

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