Christmas is the season of abundance and plenty – particularly when it comes to food. And with so much festive fare constantly on offer, it can be really hard to prevent our weight from creeping up over the holidays. But it can be done – and more painlessly than you may think! Use the tips below to make sure you step into January in perfect shape.
No one wants to literally go cold turkey at Christmas when it comes to the festive goodies available. But making a few little switches can make a big difference to the effort of maintaining your waistline. For example, chocolate is not off the table completely, but choose dark chocolate over milk chocolate. As well as being generally better for you, nutritionists found in a recent study that those who ate dark chocolate consumed less of it before feeling sated; it was even discovered that just sniffing dark chocolate can result in a reduction of appetite.
Snack on nuts rather than sweet treats: fill bowls around the house with a festive selection of Brazil nuts and clementines. As well as being a source of healthy protein and fats, the former also won’t result in a spike in your levels of blood sugar that a sugary delicacy would induce. Clementines are packed with Vitamin C and fiber to help optimize the immune system and maintain good digestive health.
At mealtimes, load your plate with veggies, and opt for just a small serving of carbs and fats. Turkey is lean meat, so don’t deny yourself a helping if you’re a fan. And buy (or make) mini mince pies rather than full-sized versions as an easy way to cut back on the calories. Just don’t eat double the amount, as I did last year.
Join A Weight Loss Group
Enlist support in your plan for a healthier Christmas by signing up to a weight loss group. Many now have in-person or online meetings, and the focus is on helping members to make good food choices to maintain a healthy weight long-term. Read more about one such option by clicking here, where you can access information on how the group operates to support each of its individual members in working towards their weight loss goals. This particular group offers a plethora of recipes for their followers, online diet plans, and, if required, the opportunity for one-on-one coaching.
This could be a great step in taking control of your diet over the holidays to help you maintain your weight.
One of the most effective things you can do – especially if you’ve fallen off the wagon and done some serious mining in the Christmas chocolate tin – is to stay as active as possible, no matter how big the temptation is to snuggle under the duvet on the sofa watching festive films until Spring.
If fitting in a daily workout isn’t realistically going to happen, find other ways to keep moving: get out for an extra walk with the dog, join in with the kids when they’re playing an active game on-screen, or play some Christmas crackers and have some impromptu family kitchen discos!
When you’re out and about, take stairs rather than lifts and, if you can walk short journeys rather than taking the car. Make little changes to keep your steps up, and you’ll see and feel a difference in your overall fitness levels.
Be Careful Of The Booze
Many people don’t realize just how many calories and how much sugar is contained in our favorite Christmas tipple – or, like me, choose to be in denial about these facts. The festive season tends to offer many more opportunities to indulge in alcohol, so being aware of the impact that drink can have on your attempts to stay in shape is important.
To help you stay on top of your weight in this regard, make sure that drinks are ‘long’ by, for example, asking for an extra measure of sugar-free tonic in your G and T. Make sure, too, that you opt for small glasses of wine – three large glasses of wine equals a whole bottle.
On a night out, alternate alcoholic drinks with water as a way of both cutting back on your consumption of units and to help you stay hydrated. At home, filling a champagne flute with carbonated water can often trick your brain into thinking it’s getting alcohol and is a great way to still feel like you’re celebrating, even if you’re staying sober.
Other Little Swaps
If you’re making mulled wine, use sweetener rather than sugar in the recipe, and opt for sherry over dessert wine to lessen the number of calories you’ll be consuming. If you’re desperate for something sweet but are trying hard to resist the lure of the selection box, choose dried dates instead, which are deliciously sweet and good for you, too.
If you’re going to be attending a finger-food event, eat a proper meal before you leave to prevent filling up on a pile of calorie-laden morsels later. And meal prepping through December is the perfect way to make sure you always have some healthy options on hand that don’t involve brandy butter or twenty pigs in blankets.