Christmas can be the most wonderful time of the year. The opportunity to spend time with family and friends carving a turkey and dishing up golden roasted potatoes. Buying presents from a Christmas market, the air filled with the smells of mulled wine and bratwurst. You are laying out a mince pie and a glass of sherry for Father Christmas with the children. But, with so many of our festive Christmas celebrations centering around food and drink, Christmas can be stressful if you’ve spent the last twelve months carefully watching what you eat, checking packets, and weighing out ingredients as you cook.
From work drinks to cheeseboards, to seemingly endless rounds of Quality Street, there isn’t another holiday which is so focussed around food as Christmas. If the first strains of ‘Fairytale of New York’ are already making your heart sink, then read on for some tips to get you through the festive season without going up a jeans size.
Alcohol is Packed with Calories
Alcohol is one of the worst culprits when it comes to regaining weight during the holidays. Prosecco is one of the more diet-friendly options, fortunately, as it contains around 80 calories per glass, rather than a large glass of wine, which is 228. Put off having a drink as long as you can as inhibitions and will power are more likely to dissolve the more drinks you have.
Try and have a glass of water between each alcoholic drink. Not only will this make the morning after much more bearable, but it will slow down your drinking. Also bear in mind that, if you are drinking at your own or someone else’s house, you won’t be poured standard measures. A large glass of wine might be even larger, and a gin and tonic could be a triple rather than a double.
Rather than spending hours lingering over the table, where there will be a temptation to keep nibbling and sipping, bring a board game or a card game for everyone to enjoy. That way, you can move away from the table and engage with one another, distracting yourself from just another little wedge of Brie.
If there are dogs or children, offer to take them for a walk. There will be relief all round if you can stroll to a playground nearby with overexcited children, high on sugar and Christmas spirit, and let them burn off some energy.
Push them on the swings and avoid sitting on a bench watching. Equally, with taking a dog out – alternate fast walking with slower (but still energetic) to get your heart rate going and stay active.
Weight Loss Aids
Adults put on an average of 2 extra pounds over the Christmas festivities. If the idea of undoing your hard work from the last year is already demotivating you, then try a weight loss aid. You can now buy Orlistat online in the UK, and it’s the only weight loss medication licensed in the EU. It works by absorbing the fat from the food you eat so your body doesn’t. It is clinically proven to help you lose up to 50% more weight than dieting alone. If you know that weight gain during this time is going to make January even harder, then it’s worth giving yourself a bit of support.
Although this is something you probably already have experience with, at Christmas, it becomes even more important. Not only will you be tempted but, in some cases, also pressured, to just have one more, or take an extra spoonful.
We have an emotional relationship with food at Christmas. It forms a huge part of family traditions. But you can still have a little and appreciate it, rather than overindulging to the point where it’s no longer enjoyable.
Lean turkey, cold chicken, cooked prawns, ham off-the-bone – all these forms of protein will stave off hunger and prevent sugar cravings. There should also be plenty of wintery greens around. Kale, chard, watercress, brussel sprouts, and broccoli all help detoxify the liver. This is important during December because you won’t burn fat as effectively if your liver is tackling alcohol.
Be realistic with yourself, and cultivate a good mindset for Christmas this year. Set yourself some goals that are achievable and clearly set out what you want to do. ‘Have a healthy Christmas’ doesn’t give you any parameters to work with.
Are you going to limit yourself to one treat per day? Or commit to three exercise sessions over the festive period? Whatever it is, make it possible. And if you do slip up and scoff three mince pies in front of the EastEnders special, give yourself a break.
It isn’t the end of the world, and all is not lost – just get back on the wagon and persevere. You’ve come this far.