Top 10 tips for avoiding unwanted Christmas weight gain
Here are my top 10 tips for surviving Christmas without the inevitable weight gain:
- Keep active over the break. Go on a long walk after a big lunch. Get up early with your headache and have a swim or a surf. Play with the kids (I know shock horror). The more you move the healthier you will feel which will tie in with the way you feel like eating.
- Ham is a killer. It is so salty and if you don’t eat it usually and then all of a sudden you have heaps of it you may find yourself with a water retention problem. You will look puffy. So go easy on the ham.
- Survey the food on offer and think carefully about what you will have. It’s possible to fill yourself up with the healthier (but still delicious) options (eg, prawns, oysters, turkey) which will mean you will be less inclined to eat the desserts or other food which you know are not really great options if you are trying to avoid weight gain.
- Go easy on condiments. Many contain a lot of sugar. Try to wean yourself off having a large amount of cranberry sauce – just have a small amount. Same goes for stuffing and gravy. Simple is best.
- If you have had a big day of eating and drinking the next day keep eating but try to have a lighter day. Smaller portions of simple clean food and lots of water. Be active too.
- If you are going out and you know there will be a buffet of food on offer do not arrive starving hungry as you will probably overeat. Eat something before you go like some greek yoghurt, an egg or a banana so that you are not ravenous on arrival.
- Make a conscious decision not to “go crazy”. Rather than constantly grazing fill a plate with some food, eat it and then stop. Mindless grazing might feel like you are eating more lightly but in reality you are probably eating a lot more.
- Don’t miss out on anything you really want but have small portions. If you have ever checked the “serving size” on a product you will see that it is usually much smaller than you would think. You usually really enjoy the first few bites of something like a cake or ice cream but as you eat more the initial pleasure wears off. Don’t find yourself finishing off a large piece of cake just because you think you should finish everything. Stop when you have had a decent sized portion.
- Focus on what you are drinking as well as what you are eating. If you had 3 cup cakes you would not easily forget those. But it is so easy to forget about those 3 glasses of wine. Everything you eat and drink will count and alcohol is used by your body first before other food as it is very simple carbohydrates. Many mixers such as tonic contain a lot of sugar. Be conscious of how much you are drinking and factor it in. Drink a big glass of water when you arrive and then keep up the water interspersed with the drinks.
- Don’t be afraid to say no. You don’t have to eat or drink to please anyone. It’s your choice. I struggle with those boxes of chocolates that turn up in the house because it’s Christmas. Give them away or make a firm decision to eat one each day not one every hour!!! On the other hand don’t ruin this time by denying yourself everything. Just pay attention.
You will see that most of these tips have a common theme – that is to pay attention and be mindful of what you are eating and drinking and how much you are moving. It’s when we conveniently forget that we may end up with some unwanted kilos hanging around.
Finally, do not attempt to lose weight over this period. You are only setting yourself up to fail. Instead focus on maintenance over the holiday period. Approach this time with this mindset and you will come out the other side a success.