Every December, I receive hundreds of messages asking how to prevent weight gain over Christmas. If you want to learn how, while still enjoying Christmas, keep reading.
December is the month of Christmas parties, events and end of year functions that involve plenty of eating, drinking and socialising! This time of year is filled with fun, but it can also come with too many sweets, overeating, lots of alcohol and not enough exercise; which inevitably leads to weight gain. But it doesn’t have to be this way! What if you could could enjoy this time of the year, eat your sweet treats with no guilt, keep healthy and active and prevent any unwanted weight gain?! Well you can! Here’s how!
How To Prevent Weight Gain and Still Enjoy Christmas
- TIP ONE: Indulge in your favourite treat; not all of them! Christmas time is overflowing with sweets, cakes, chocolates, cheeses, ice creams, lollies, cocktails…the list goes on. It’s totally fine to enjoy your favourite treat when you’re celebrating with friends and family, but remember, you don’t have to help yourself to every treat that passes your way! If your favourite thing in the world is a Pina Colada, then have one and really enjoy it with no shame or guilt attached! But choose to say no to the other treat foods that are just s”so-so” to you. Choose your favourite; say no to the rest.
- TIP TWO: Slow your eating. Eating too quickly can cause you to overeat as your body doesn’t have time to register a feeling of fullness, and this can lead to weight gain. So slow your eating down.Allow yourself time to eat (at least 20-30minutes to finish your meal), chew each mouthful well, put your knife & fork down between each mouthful and remember to enjoy your meal and the people you’re eating it with this festive season. Click here for more info on slowing your eating.
- TIP THREE: Beware of your portions. Have you heard of portion distortion? Research has shown we eat more food when we use larger plates. We mindlessly serve more food onto a larger plate. And the more food we are served, the more food we eat. So serve your food onto a smaller plate. And portion your food out using my plate portion guide here.
- TIP FOUR: Include fruit and vegetables daily. With all the parties and eating out over the festive season, it can be easy to miss out on your fruit and veggies. But if you want to get your fix of vitamins, minerals and fibre, keep your gut healthy and happy and prevent any sneaky weight gain, then make sure you’re getting your daily fix of fruit and veg. Order a side of veggies or a salad when eating out; take a delicious fruit platter filled with in-season summer fruits like mangoes and peaches to your end of year parties, add legumes to your meals and snack on fruit when you’re out and about! And if you’re concerned about the sugar in fruit, click here for my article on fruit and sugar.
- TIP FIVE: Keep active! With Christmas falling during summer in Australia, it’s the perfect time to be active! Try to maintain your usual exercise program throughout December. If this is not possible (for example if your exercise classes don’t run during the holidays or you have the kids to look after), be active in other ways! Walk the dog, take the kids to the park and run around with them, play backyard cricket etc. You can even use catch-ups with friends and family to get some exercise in by walking to brunch or enjoying a swim at the beach with your friends.
- TIP SIX: Be aware of empty calories.The term “empty calories” refers to foods that contain calories but have little or no nutritional value, i.e. they are “energy-dense” but are also “nutrient-poor”. These are foods that are often heavily processed with many additives like refined sugar and fats that we don’t require in our diets. Eating too many food that contain empty calories like soft drinks, alcohol, certain sweets & pastries etc can lead to weight gain. For a list of foods that contain empty calories and how much you should limit them to, click here.
- TIP SEVEN: Skip the detox and just eat balanced meals. Did you know you can’t actually detox your body?! Click here to learn why. So what should you do instead? Eat healthy balanced meals filled with wholegrains (e.g. wholegrain pasta, quinoa and rice), protein sources (e.g. tofu, fish and legumes), healthy fats (e.g. nuts, seeds, avocado) and lots of veggies, fruit and water! This will keep you energised, satisfied and ensure your still consuming nutritious meals along with having room for those less nutritious foods and beverages that we all love around this time of year.
- TIP EIGHT: Moderate your alcohol intake. Alcoholic beverages like cocktails and those mixed with soft drinks, creams and juices can be very calorie dense. We also tend to eat more unhealthy, calorie-dense foods while drinking alcohol. So, enjoy a drink or two – but consider how many you will have throughout December! The guidelines state you should drink no more than 2 standard drinks on any given day and include non-alcohol days in your week. Click here for more info on alcohol and weight loss and how you can reduce your alcohol intake.
- TIP NINE: Set and track your goals. Set yourself some health goals this December like exercising every day, eating 5 serves or having 3 alcohol free days each week. Click here to download my free Goal Tracker in my free Get Healthy ebook so you can set and track your goals.
And remember….Enjoy Christmas Day! Enjoy the Christmas pudding, stuffing and other treats along with some fresh summery salads, fruits and roast vegetables! Enjoy time with friends and family and try new foods that guests bring to Christmas day lunch. You’ve maintained a healthy, balanced lifestyle over December and today is the day you can drink, indulge and be present and in the moment! Christmas only happens one day a year so don’t stress about the calories and just enjoy the food and fun! One day of letting loose and indulging isn’t going to cause you to gain weight or ruin your progress! Don’t let the worry of gaining weight on Christmas Day take away from what’s truly important about the holidays! Merry Christmas everyone!