If you have adopted Clean Eating and are losing weight, what do you do when facing the biggest eating and drinking event of the year? With so much tempting food and drink around is both possible to enjoy Christmas without gaining weight?
Christmas is not the time to be a martyr over weight loss – it’s time to enjoy the wonderful foods of the season. What you eat over one or two days will not seriously impact on your weight. And yet therein lies the problem for most people. Christmas celebrations now begin on December 1st and go all the way through to the New Year. There are more than the usual social get-togethers with office do’s, mock-Christmases, sports and club parties and parties because it’s good to celebrate Christmas! Eating and drinking more than usual on ALL of these occasions as well as on the Christmas Day and Boxing Day – will most likely lead to gaining weight. As with many things then, there needs to be a balance of enjoying the season’s rich food and drink combined with a modicum of restraint.
Tips to enjoy Christmas without gaining weight
Following are some ideas to keep you (loosely) on track. Some may not work for you: that’s OK but the really important part is to think it through so you don’t begin the New Year sad and mad with yourself because you’ve piled on the pounds. Thinking things through before all of the parties and celebrations can make a big difference to how much or little weight you gain.
- Christmas Day and Boxing Day – enjoy the food and drink without worrying. If you are having a traditionally cooked Christmas meal, it will be mostly fresh and mostly additive free. Enjoy and savour each mouthful.
- Alcohol intake in December radically increases for most people, and this can be big downfall for those trying to keep their weight steady during this time. Why? Because when you drink your favourite tipple, it stimulates release of the neurotransmitter Dopamine, which makes you feel good. So good in fact that your brain (almost) demands you have another drink. The pleasure felt intially increases, but your cognitive abilities also diminish so one glass leads to another – and on another level you body is trying to sober up and so starchy foods become very appealing creating a double whammy in terms of the impact on your blood sugar levels. One way of modifying how much alcohol you consume is to alternate alcoholic drink with a soft drinks – or to dilute the alcohol with a double mixer, have a wine spritzer or a shandy. Also know that sugar from alcohol is more likely to get stored as body fat if you just have the drink by itself: having a glass of wine with a meal is less likely to cause a blood sugar spike. See Alcohol And Weight Loss: Can you drink AND lose weight?
- Many people have the week off from Christmas Eve to January 2nd. If this is you, choose one day in this week as a digestive resting day with a detox of some sort. I like to have a mung bean soup day. Download a pdf to read more about it. There are many different ways to detox; from a hard core liquid-only day, to a gentler one where you simply cut out all of the junk. If you choose to do a detox, please honour your body and do this with love and not as a punishment for overeating.
- Weigh yourself regularly. Many people have a fear of weighing themselves at times like this – fearful that they have put on several pounds (or more) and so like an ostrich they bury their heads in the sand. Your scales don’t tell you the whole story of what is going on for you – but they are a useful tool and should just be thought of such. Weighing yourself once or twice a week (remembering that your weight will naturally fluctuate 1–2 lbs) allows you to keep track of what is happening to your weight. If you find you have put on 3 or 4 lbs then you can reign yourself in a little. This is much easier to deal with physically and emotionally than if you wait until January 2nd and find out you have put on more.
- Keep drinking water. If as part of Clean Eating you have increased the amount of water you drink, remember to keep this up. This can be surprisingly difficult when your normal routine is changed and water isn’t readily offered. Be aware of your water needs as this helps your digestive system as well as help you minimise your desire for other drinks or reaching for food by mistaking thirst for hunger.
- Making better choices. Without stepping into martyrdom, you can none-the-less make subtle changes to your food and drink choices that collectively make a big difference to whether you sail through the season at the same weight or put on weight. Choose to eat more coloured vegetables than white ones which are typically more starchy. Have more vegetables than meat. Have a slightly smaller portion of Christmas pudding, or just one mince pie, or just a few chocolates instead of the whole box.
Finally, be very forgiving of yourself if you go way off track and bring yourself back to Clean Eating as soon as you can. If you need any further help – do get in touch with me.
Eat Well—Be Well 🙂
I am always interested to hear your thoughts, views and ideas. Get in touch via the comments box below.
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