Christmas is just around the corner – which means feasting, holidays and for some of us, we take a few extra kilos into the new year.
We often blame Christmas for the extra dress size but it’s important to recognise that Christmas is only one day, so it can’t be the only reason we gain weight, it’s a range of reasons including:
We eat 40% more during the holidays
We’re out of our normal routine
We eat different foods – because we’re eating out or eating food that other people prepared
It’s a festive season, so we drink more
We make NY resolutions to lose weight and get fit, so we splurge in December in anticipation for the January famine
Studies show that the average weight gain during the Christmas holidays is 0.5 – 2.5 kg – not a huge deal, but the concern is that most people don’t ever lose the extra weight they put on during the holidays.
So, how do we enjoy a festive holiday and avoid holiday weight gain? Here are three effective strategies:
1. Savour the splurges
Of course, there will be treats, sweets and splurges. That is part of the holiday fun! Notice them, savour each bite, and instead of eating just to eat, take a moment to really enjoy it.
To savour the splurges, eat treats and sweets slowly and mindfully so you can really taste and enjoy them. Find the slowest eater at the table and eat at their pace; this will leave you feeling more satisfied and less likely to overindulge.
2. Don’t wait till January
Waiting to ‘eat well’ in January promotes an all-or-nothing mentality – I’ll eat all the food now and in January, I’ll live on salad, green juice and yoga. The reality is, January will come and there will still be temptations and celebrations. So, enjoy the festive eating and drinking but contain it to Christmas day (and maybe a bit of leftover roast and trifle on boxing day).
3. Balance your plate
A great trick to fill your plate but reduce the number of calories you’re eating is to fill half of your plate with vegetables, ¼ with the protein portion of the meal and ¼ with good quality carbohydrates.
Vegetables are low in calories and full of vitamins and minerals and they’re high in fiber which helps you to feel fuller longer. If half of your plate is vegetables, you are able to enjoy a bit of everything – including dessert - without overdoing it.