The New Year Diet

Jan 2, 2016 | 8 comments


Well, here we are again, another January 1st, and all the usual resolutions apply.

I'm on a diet

The next 12 weeks

I’ve signed up at the gym I go to to their new program.  In a couple of days, I’ll be going to set up a 12 week program with them. They go through all your targets, do bio-mechanics, work up a nutritional program and a workout sheet for each day you go per week ( so as I aim to go 4 times a week, that would be 4 different programs, one for each day). As they are a small team, they take an interest in everybody, it’s very motivating. And as far as the nutritional aspect goes, I’m expecting to be held accountable – ooh, eek, a bit scary, no excuses.  The chap that I have asked to be assigned to used to be a chef before this job, so he knows all about the recipe testing pitfalls. I really hope that I can lose significant amounts of weight this year, I’m sick of the battle.

Do you want to lose weight this new year?

If you too are staring the weight loss battle down the barrel, and are skint, the meal plans could help. Each meal plan provides 2000 calories for an adult woman, plus 2500 calories for an adult man. Around 500 calories on each plan is provided by the extra bits and pieces, the cakes and bakes. So if you need the average amount of calories, follow a plan, leave out the cakes and bakes, and you should lose weight, and  save even more money.

Ha, sounds easy doesn’t it, I know it isn’t.

Need to stretch that cash?

If the diet you need to go on involves your purse more than your waistline, let’s start from basics, and draw up a plan. We all need to know where we are so we can work out how to get where we want to go. Writing it down and staring it in the face is the worst part, be brave.

Get a pen and a piece of paper. Now write down your income on the right hand side, any extra little bits of income you may have too and total it up. Now on the left hand side, write down all your outgoings, absolutely everything. If you can do spreadsheets, an Excel is perfect here.

All the non-negotiables, and fixed, expenses first, mortgage/rent, council tax, water bills, that kind of thing. And if you have an overdraft, loans or debts, how much goes out on those.

Now try and work out how much you spend on other things. How much do you spend  on groceries each month, how much on going out, clothes, birthdays, the garden. Write it all down.

Now the really scary part. Add up both columns and see what the difference is.  If the left hand column is larger than the right hand column, you have more income than you are spending. Well done you, keep it up. Can you put any more aside for your future? Setting up a standing order from your account to a separate savings account is a great way to accumulate a nest egg, emergency fund, big holiday. Use a standing order, and you’ll soon stop noticing it even going out.

If the outgoing column is bigger than the income column, you are spending more than you have coming in, and you probably already know that. Look at what you can cut out or cut down. Are there any subscriptions you can get rid of, magazines, Sky etc; anything in your bank account that shouldn’t still be going out – old direct debits or standing orders that need to be cancelled ; any fripperies that can be trimmed, but don’t be too strict, or you won’t be able to stick with it. Go through that budget with a fine toothed comb and see what you can get rid of. The objective of course is to balance those incomings and outgoings.

The Money Advisory Service have an extensive planner that can be saved and tweaked as you work on it that may help you to remember all incomings and outgoings, and see what else you can do to balance it. If you don’t want to save it there, you could use it as inspiration for a spreadsheet that you set up yourself. MAS also has a lot of good advice on how to tackle a difficult situation.

One of those often said pieces of advice is to use a meal planner. It sounds too easy to do anything, but it really does work. By using one, it helps you to see what you need to buy, and perhaps more to the point, what you don’t need to buy, when you’re in the supermarket.  I’ve drawn up this simple one on the computer.

If you’d like to use it, download the Excel file here – weekly meal planner, or print the pdf above using the Print Option button

I’ll be using the Meal Planner a lot in 2016 as I need/want to make serious inroads in my stash of groceries. I’ll be using it to plan meals using items I already have as much as I can. I’ve been using it for a few weeks now.

What are your plans for 2016?




  1. Lesley

    Wonderful, I’m glad you found some things you like. I didn’t have time today, but I should do tomorrow.

  2. Chrissie

    I have perused your meal plans and esp 2 and 4 which have some wonderful recipes that are mostly vegan or easily veganised! You are a clever lady to work out balanced, frugal meals and even some calories calculated too! I now have some really good options and have today made your granola which is so yummy! Thank you.

  3. Lesley

    love the synchronicity of the 60, gives something specific to aim for
    I have started noting which recipes are vegan, so I’ll have a look at the list and see what I can suggest
    Have a group coming round in 10 minutes for a cooking session, so will do it later

  4. Chrissie

    You can tell I’m no good at this, I have sent you 2 messages as I thought 1st didn’t go, I am a numpty! Apologies!

  5. Chrissie

    I too need to lose weight, 60 this year and have been dieting on and off for 40 of them.I don’t eat meat and have decided to go the whole hog(whoops) and go vegan. Any ideas on frugal meals for just me as the rest are meat eaters? I am going to try excercise at home( cover the birds, pull the curtains and blindfold the dogs) and increase walking! With you all the way, good luck with the diet it’s not easy!

  6. Chrissie

    Well, here we go again, another year, another diet! I’ve done it so many times but I’m a comfort eater don’t smoke or drink and life is really stressful due to two adult sons with problems and a husband who won’t wear his hearing aids!Conversations are weird and frustrating! Don’t like meat and thought I’d go the whole hog ( whoops!) and go vegan.Any tips on frugal vegan meals, trying not to buy too many processed meals. I am 60 this year and want to lose 60 lbs and anything extra is a bonus. Good luck with your diet, with you all the way!

  7. Lesley

    Aw, Thankyou Paula. Dieting is a complete PITA, and I’m sick of it. I’m hoping I can finally kick it into touch this year.
    Good luck with the fasting. And the budgeting. And I laughed re the tweaking, I would too 🙂

  8. Paula Higgleton-Wood

    Thank you for this post Lesley, I’m getting back into my fasting after the festivities but also want to trim expenditure even more of possible so I’m intending to follow your plans fairly closely on non fasting days. I shall of course be making tweaks (can’t help myself lol) but hoping that the calorie count days between fasts means I shall shed some serious amount of fat! Good luck in your gym quest, I’m intending to do more walking, gradually building up distance in hopes of not upsetting my back and I shall also be doing Callanetics (love them)
    Happy New Year to you and look forward to reading many more of your useful, informative, inspiring and entertaining blog posts.
    Paula x

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I’m a perpetual dieter, and to help with that endeavour, there is now also a Thrifty Lesley dieting group, a lovely, growing community.