It’s less important what you eat in the 8 days between this Christmas and New Year than what you eat in the 357 days between New Year and next Christmas.
It’s said that most people put on up to 2 kilos over the festive season and holiday period. Spending time with family and friends should be about being with those you love and care for – just don’t forget that you also need to care for yourself.
If you overeat for a few special occasions during the year it’s not the end of the world. If you have a plan that’s been working for you, you’ll be able to reverse any holiday weight gain by getting back on your plan.
Just imagine if you put on a few kilos every year and did not manage to lose that weight. After 5 years you might have gained 10 kilos and after 10 years you would have gained 20 kilos. If you’re currently overweight, it’s easier for you to gain even more weight than people who are at a healthy weight.
We often hear people say that they just don’t know how or why they have put on so much weight over the holidays. We’d like to share a few tips with you for over the holiday period. These may make the difference between adding a few extra unwanted kilos or seeing the New Year in without having to adjust your belt buckle.
- Focus on fun activities and not food, even though many families use this time to show their love with an abundance of food, drink and treats. Enjoy a visit to the farmers markets, have a selection of board games to play, decorate the Christmas tree, chop firewood, fish for your lunch or dinner. Find activities that the whole family can be involved in.
- Prioritising protein in all meals and snacks will keep you satiated and less inclined to graze. Keep hydrated as thirst can often be misinterpreted as hunger. Try replacing one meal with a low-carb, low-fat protein shake. This will give you your protein and keep hunger at bay until your next meal. It’s much better than grazing on high calorie processed snacks like biscuits, cakes or plum pudding.
- Limit snacking as you will probably be having bigger meals than normal. Some meals may also be higher in calories and/or carbs and/or fat to what you have been used to. Limit grazing between meals as grazing will increase your calorie intake with you not even being aware of what has passed your lips. Socialising sometimes involves mindless eating and drinking. Fill up on the ham, turkey, and seafood. You may even find with larger meals that you only feel like having 2 meals a day.
- Use smaller plates to reduce portion sizes or the one-plate rule where you don’t go back for seconds are great strategies especially if you have two functions to go to in one day or over multiple days. If you’re still hungry and might be tempted by dessert, try another portion of meat, seafood or cheese as these would be more satiating. Alternatively, just remove yourself from the food table. Hit the dance floor instead!!!
- Do some activity every day and you will feel so much better and less bloated if consuming larger meals. Exercise won’t help with losing fat but it will help how you feel and certainly help you feel more comfortable and may even stop any feelings of guilt. It will help if you have overloaded on higher carb/fat foods and may even suppress your appetite. It’s also a great way to spend some time with family or friends. Activity does not have to be structured, perhaps a backyard game of cricket, a walk along the beach or a game of beach volleyball. Get some exercise and sunshine and have some laughs.
- Take platters of on-plan food to parties and BBQs. Most hosts are happy for a little extra help and who doesn’t love a meat, cheese and fruit platter or some meatballs or avocado salsa? These are easy to make and gives you a back-up plan to stay on-plan as much as possible.
- Maintain as much routine as possible over the holidays. It doesn’t mean that you are up at 6 and in bed by 10 but having some structure to your holiday helps you stay in control. We often find that it’s when we are tired, stressed or bored that we deviate and start looking for foods that aren’t that nutritious. If you are feeling any stress perhaps a short yoga or meditation session will put your mind at rest.
- If you do partake, drink alcohol for taste and water for thirst. If you use this rule and don’t confuse taste with thirst, then you know keeping hydrated will help you reduce your alcohol intake and help with fat burning. Alcohol is preferentially burnt as a fuel source and will delay fat burning of extra calories or even store them as fat if you have had a large meal. Just keep this in mind. Excessive drinking often prompts people to overeat, especially higher carb and higher calorie foods.
- Holidays should be a time for getting good quality sleep every night. Have a book by your bed, enjoy a cup of tea, soak in a bath, cool the room before retiring, there are many ways to get quality sleep. Alcohol puts you to sleep but does disrupt sleep so plan on as many alcohol free nights as possible.
And lastly, if you do gain some weight just feel comfortable that you have a plan to lose it again. Have the right mindset to get back on-plan the next day or as soon as possible, enjoy the treats and understand the weight gain is only temporary.
Remember, on holidays we probably don’t realise that we can be more active, taking walks along the beach, bushwalking, playing tennis, swimming, surfing, kayaking – you name it.
Enjoy the holiday period and reach out if you need any help. If you complete the form below we will be in contact soon.