The unwanted side effect of all these festivities? Silly season weight gain – sigh! In fact, more than half of the weight gain we experience during our lifetime occurs between November and January. To add insult to injury, most people struggle to lose this extra weight, leading to slow, steady weight gain over time. While no one expects you to go without this Christmas, there are ways to keep yourself on track and avoid the extra kilos. Here are some tips we’ve put together to help you through the Christmas period without loosening your belts.
Christmas parties are abundant, so there will be times when you are not in control of what’s on offer. However, you ARE able to plan your food choices every other time – so make the most of this. If you know you have a Christmas party in the evening, make sure you have lean and nutritious meals and snacks during the day, and the following day. If you’re able to eat well for most meals, then the few meals that you have out won’t have such a big impact.
Depending on how you would like to approach your Christmas event, you may wish to adjust the quantity of food you eat during the day. For example, if you would prefer to eat only a small amount of food at your event, it’s smart not to arrive hungry! Make sure you fill up on protein and fibre rich meals during the day, and consider adding a snack just prior to the party. On the flip side, if you would prefer to enjoy the food and drink on offer without reservation, consider having smaller meals during the day, or forgoing snacking, to allow a little wiggle room (in moderation still, of course)!
While it’s okay to treat yourself over Christmas, there’s also nothing wrong with saying no to foods or drinks you don’t want, or with leaving food on your plate if you’re full. Don’t feel the need to eat or drink ‘just because it’s Christmas’, or to keep up with other party-goers. Eating mindfully also means eating slowly, and enjoying every mouthful. You may find this approach will enhance your experience whilst minimising excess eating, and the uncomfortable ‘overfull’ feeling that follows!
Over the festive season, our routine is disrupted and we may be tempted to let our exercise regime slip. It’s important to keep up regular exercise during this time, to balance out the overindulgences that come with the festive season. Fortunately, we have the warm weather and longer daylight hours to motivate us, and get us moving outdoors. Go for an early morning power-walk before work, join an outdoor group fitness class with friends, or do some laps in the pool ‘the day after’ to help you recover!.
Dehydration risk increases over summer, with symptoms including fatigue, low mood, and reduced performance. Dehydration can also be mistaken for hunger, and with more chocolates floating around the office, this can be dangerous! Make sure you’re drinking plenty of fluids, with still or sparkling water being your first choice. Be aware of the other drinks you plan to consume, too. Alcohol is a big contributor of excess kilojoules, and it may be helpful to give yourself an alcohol limit each week, or per event. Alternate your alcoholic drinks with water; this will help avoid a nasty hangover too. Summer smoothies, juices and mocktails may be high in sugar, so choose options that use fresh produce, with a higher vegetable to fruit ratio, and no sorbets.