With the average calorie consumption on Christmas Day being 6000 calories it is not surprising that it can feel impossible to not gain weight over the festive period – so how can you still enjoy yourself and be sociable without putting on that holiday ½ stone?
Preparation and planning is the key to not being caught out - we have compiled a list of tips to limit any damage to your good intentions and help keep you on track.
Don’t skip breakfast – and make sure it contains plenty of protein There are plenty of studies that show that having a big breakfast can help you to eat less calories throughout the rest of the day. Having eggs (a great source of protein) will not only help to stabilise your blood sugar levels but will also boost your metabolism and keep you feeling fuller for longer. Much easier to avoid picking at Quality Street and mince pies if you are not actually hungry.
Avoid the festive latte Every specialist coffee provider enjoys tempting us with those “Special Christmas Coffees” – flavoured syrups that include gingerbread or eggnog can add an eye watering 500 calories and a Peppermint Mocha Latte or Praline Latte will be hooching with sugar and unnecessary calories. Add this to your daily intake up the festive period and you could be looking at any extra pounds of unwanted weight by the New Year. Rather than suffer FOMO (fear of missing out) why not try a skinny latte with SF syrup – even Starbucks offer this.
Ensure you drink plenty of water Sometimes when we think we are hungry we actually just need a drink – the more hydrated you are, the fuller you will feel. If you can get into the habit of sipping water regularly throughout the day (500ml morning and afternoon) then you will also be filling up your tummy and so less likely to be filling up on Christmas treats.
Eat before you go out to party If you head straight out to a party from work without eating, then it is so much harder to resist the canapes and crisps when you arrive. Even if you just manage a simple meal of beans on toast or eggs, it will be so much easier to avoid those dangerous nibbles that can sabotage the strongest will-power.
Surviving the buffet Before you even start to load up your plate, have a good look at what is on offer and agree to limit yourself to 4 different choices. Research has shown that when faced with an enormous array of choices, we eat more if we allow ourselves a “little bit of everything” instead of restricting to just 4 different tastes – and try to keep these choices to high in protein options that will also satisfy our hunger more effectively. Keeping your fork in the wrong hand will slow down your ability to fill your plate (and keep the plate small)
Picking your meal options Many Christmas parties will ask you to choose your meal in advance. Do this after eating and suck a mint whilst doing so – you will not be able to imagine savouring each option and will be more able to choose options that can help to manage your weight – soup, fish and lean meat ( without all the trimmings) and fruit for dessert are your best bet.
Watch out for alcohol Everyone knows that Christmas parties are awash with drink, so it pays to plan ahead – not only for the calories but also to minimise the next day hangover.
- Avoid cocktails - Avoid beer/ lager - Clear spirits pose the least damage (vodka and gin) - Drink spritzers (wine mixed with soda) - Alternate the alcoholic drinks with soft options (preferably water) - Drink out of a smaller glass
You could even be really focussed and offer to be the driver if you really want to stay on track.
Take your own snacks/ dish If you are just going to be drinking and there will be canapes/ and nibbles, then taking your own snacks that would stop you from feeling left out – a small handful of nuts/ high protein crisps/ olives should suffice. If you can offer to bring something to the party, then create a healthy tasty meal that you will know exactly which ingredients it contains – and be sure to bring plenty of green vegetables to accompany it.
Learn to say “no” If you really don’t want to eat something, then just politely refuse – it doesn’t matter if your host has spent hours making a cake or huge trifle – you owe it to yourself to value your own wishes. Once you get used to saying “no” it is easier than you think. You could let your host know in advance that you would really appreciate their help in resisting temptation – and that way they may not wish to risk embarrassing themselves by being inappropriately persistent.
Make sure you get enough sleep Sleep deprivation stimulates your appetite and will increase your cravings for junk food and refined carbohydrates (sweets/ chips/ bread/ ice-cream/ pizza). Late-night partying risks inflating your waistline from every angle – is the morning-after hangover really worth its cost? Not only will you perhaps crave the very food that will undo all of your dieting efforts, but chances are that you will have no energy or enthusiasm to exercise or move either.
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