Most people seem to gain between 4lbs and 5lbs in weight over the Christmas festivities!
It is a hard time for many reasons to be “on plan” and avoid all the delicious foods that are on offer in the home, office (there are often boxes of chocolates and biscuits looking very invitingly at everyone), at friends and neighbours and when visiting family.
Cold weather also predisposes us to eat more carbs and sugar – which when metabolised in the body, causes us to put on weight
So, in order to not gain an excessive amount of weight and then spend an austere January and February “detoxing” to try desperately to lose what you gained, and to help you avoid straying too much over the Christmas period, here are some “survival guidelines”
- Don’t go to the party hungry: eat a protein rich food before you go out e.g. a two-egg omelette or nuts and seeds, or a small pot of natural full fat yoghurt or even two hard boiled eggs.
- Put some unsalted nuts in your handbag and have a good few handfuls to help fill you up. Nuts are nature’s best snack – anywhere and anytime.
- Don’t feel obliged to eat everything.
- Head for the protein and vegetables
- Note the comments below on drinks
- Eat little and often – I’m sure you’ll eat often, the trick is to keep portions small!
- As always – avoid refined sugars, starchy food and processed foods.
- Include protein in every meal or snack.
- Eat plenty of green vegetables – they support your liver by producing metabolites that help detoxification. Steam or stir-fry lightly for maximum flavour and nutrient content.
- Keep active – we all know exercise time is likely to suffer but don’t vegetate totally; be the one to stir the family into a brisk walk to wake everyone up and increase your metabolic rate.
- Remember that sadly alcohol is a recipe for weight gain – try to be strong and drink in moderation e.g. go for a weak gin or vodka and slim-line tonic or soda, or whiskey and soda rather than the wine. Beer is particularly bad news. If you are having wine then consider spritzers, or, pleasingly, champagne is best if you’re not cutting it with anything sweet – so a Bucks Fizz is NOT good with all that high sugar orange juice!
- Don’t drink on an empty stomach – to slow down the glucose rush at least have some nuts or salami, cheese, ham etc before letting the alcohol hit the stomach.
- Don’t skip breakfast – having a healthy breakfasts like poached or scrambled eggs and smoked salmon on a small slice of 100% rye toast helps reduce food cravings and hunger pangs.
- Snacking – go for fruit such as satsumas or the low sugar dried fruits i.e. apricots, figs and prunes (NOT dates they’re horrendously sugary), and of course nuts and cheese
- Chocolate – if inevitable go for high quality, 85% dark chocolate.
- If you feel like a yummy hot chocolate after a brisk walk outside, go for one made with hot full fat milk (or almond milk if you are avoiding milk), 1 tsp of Green and Black organic cocoa powder and xylitol or stevia to taste.
- Christmas starters – salads, avocado’s, seafood or smoked salmon are good and light too so won’t spoil everyone’s main meal. Soup is another good option.
- For Christmas Dinner (or lunch, whenever you have your main meal) – feel free to fill up on turkey – it’s good for you. The same with Brussel sprouts, which have plenty of vitamins C and K and good folates. Just be mindful and don’t over-dose on the carbs.
- For dessert – you can always go for small portions to taste and choose full fat Greek yoghurt, yoghurt ice cream, full fat cream or crème fraiche instead of Ice cream or custard
- Cold platters are wonderful in that you can pick and choose cold meats, cheeses and lots of salads including home made coleslaw. Just hold the baked potato as these are really high in sugar ! So you will be OK on Boxing Day, the day after and the day after…………depending on how much you over-bought!
Looking after your wellbeing:
- Don’t set unrealistic goals over the Christmas period.
- Enjoy yourself and don’t feel guilty – you have a life! It’s about being sensible and making some informed choices.
- Have a Great Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year.