How to enjoy Christmas without piling on the pounds!
The average Irish person will gain up to half a stone over the festive period as the temptation of never ending chocolates, mince pies and savoury snacks get the better of them! However, it doesn’t have to be this way! You can enjoy all your favourite Christmas foods & drinks as long as you exercise portion control, have a basic awareness of calories and do a little exercise to offset the extra calories. I shared my top tips with radio host Pat Kenny on Newstalk 106-108FM today and I’ve bullet pointed them below for you too:
Damage Limitation – Tips to offset Christmas Weight Gain
- Don’t go into ‘ah sure it’s Christmas’ mode too early! The Christmas period is starting earlier and earlier – were out at Christmas events/parties from November onwards so the overindulging period has turned into a 6 week time frame for many. Try to limit the damage by limiting the time frame you allow yourself to overindulge e.g. from 24th to 31st
- Have a little of what you fancy but don’t gorge – remember it only takes a few hundred extra calories in a day to trigger weight gain e.g. an extra mince pie or sausage roll.
- Don’t go into the ‘I’ll start my diet in January so I may as well eat whatever I want now’ mind-set – such a common trap to fall into! If you already need to lose a stone, don’t add on another half stone to this – you’ll feel much more overwhelmed and discouraged come January and it will take you a lot longer to reach your goal.
- Stay active – get out and exercise over the holidays to make up for some of the extra calories – even a 30 minute walk daily helps.
- Be reasonably aware of calorie/sugar content in Christmas foods– a slice of Christmas pudding contains approx. 350 calories & 12 teaspoons of sugar – by all means have a portion but bear this in mind before you start reaching for a second slice or start dipping into the quality street/mince pies afterwards.
- Over the party season – Limit the fatty finger foods like sausage rolls, vol au vents, crisps – Try to go for healthy snacks like vegetable crudites with houmous, a handful of nuts, smoked salmon etc. or better still save yourself till the meal and really enjoy it.
- Limit the soft drinks – 500mls cola = 13tsp sugar – try sparkling water with lemon/lime juice instead – liquid forms of sugar are a major cause of weight gain around the middle particularly if you’re overeating as well.
- Limit the late night snacking – in the main, try to stick to 3 meals a day and have a cut off time where you stop eating e.g. 8pm
- Christmas Day – Start the day with some protein like eggs or Greek yoghurt – a healthy base to keep you full until main meal.
- On Christmas Day – Load up your plate with the healthy stuff first – turkey, Brussel sprouts, carrots, parsnips, red cabbage etc. – this leaves less room for the not so healthy foods!
- Don’t buy too many treats like tins of biscuits, crisps, etc. to keep in the house ‘ in case anyone calls in..’ – if they’re there you’ll eat them, if there not, you wont!
Elsa Jones is a qualified Nutritional Therapist & Author of best-selling book Goodbye Sugar. She does 1:1 consultations in clinic/skype as well as online nutrition & weight management programs
Elsa specializes in Mind-Body Weight Management combining healthy eating plans with mind-set tools to overcome emotional eating, lack of motivation and sugar cravings. www.elsajonesnutrition.ie
Listen back here to Elsa Jones interview with Pat Kenny on Newstalk