The Health and Wellbeing column with Mel Spencer

The holiday season is upon us and it's time to show some of our body. Picture: Paul Atkinson.
The holiday season is upon us and it's time to show some of our body. Picture: Paul Atkinson.

It’s that time of year and holidays are on the horizon! As much as we look forward to them there’s always the baring of the body to contend with!

The worst thing that you can do at this juncture is commence with a starvation diet. As we’ve mentioned before, as the body goes into starvation mode we actually store fat – an evolutionary survival mechanism.

So what triggers starvation mode?

For this we need to look at calories – something I very rarely do, both personally and with clients.

However, to know when you have entered starvation mode you need to know what your BMR (basal metabolic rate), is and that is based upon calorific requirement.

Your BMR is the amount of energy required to keep your body functioning at rest – basically if you were to do nothing but sleep all day.

You can calculate your BMR using this simple equation:

Your body weight in kg x 25

So in my case:

63kg x 25 = 1,575 calories per day when at rest.

The minute I go below this, my body will start to hang onto any fat in panic mode. So the worst thing you can do before your holiday (or indeed at any time), is starve yourself.

Those amongst us who are those carrying muscle mass are the fortunate ones.

Their metabolism is flying as muscle burns far more calories than fat does.

So even whilst you’re lying by the pool, sipping your Pina Colada, you are burning calories a plenty.

In fact, you will be able to put your feet up whilst away and you shouldn’t gain size.

There are a few caveats to this – you aren’t on holiday for months on end and you get straight back into your weights routine upon return.

This is tried and tested. Many of my clients will disappear off on all inclusive holidays and panic at the sight of me wielding my tape measure on return, only to be pleasantly surprised to see their measurements haven’t changed. In fact, the rest will have done their bodies good.

Eat enough, build some muscle and you’re laughing! For more information contact me at

Happy holidays!