After the challenges of the pandemic, you may feel like you deserve every delicious Christmas morsel in sight. So, even the idea of moderating any food choices over Christmas may feel pointless. Yet, my wish for you is to not feel dreadful when you weigh yourself in January.
If you love food as much as I do, enjoying Christmas treats, but not gaining any weight is tricky. However, it’s entirely possible to minimise weight gain through the festive period.
The temptations of Christmas
Christmas is not the time to be a martyr about weight loss. And whether it’s Christmas or any other festive time, what you eat over one or two days doesn’t, overall, change your weight by much. Rather it’s what you eat most of the time that matters. Yet there lies the problem. Although the Pandemic has reduced the usual pre-Christmas parties, we have instead bought a lot more food and drink from the supermarkets. And so Christmas eating and drinking may have started earlier this year.
How then do you enjoy the season’s rich food and drink yet feel OK with what your bathroom scales say in January? It’s all about balance.
Seven Tips to enjoy Christmas without over doing it
1. Pre-Christmas Thoughts. Take some time to consider what you will and won’t eat. Just because mince-pies are on offer, buy one-get-one-free, doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to have twice the number of mince-pies in your home! Deciding a few things before you shop or eat, helps you make better treat choices.
2. Christmas Day and Boxing Day. These days are for enjoying food and drink without worrying. A traditional Christmas Dinner is mostly fresh food, so it’s not all bad. These’s usually lots of vegetables too. So, enjoy and savour each mouthful, and just possibly, have slightly less meat and trimmings and more veggies.
3. Go steady on alcohol. When drinking your favourite tipple, it stimulates release of the neurotransmitter Dopamine, which makes you feel good. Your brain loves this pleasurable high and sends cravings for more, so one glass tends to lead to a second and maybe even a third. As alcohol surges through your blood stream, your body wants to counter this, so starchy foods become appealing.
To modify how much alcohol you consume, alternate alcoholic drinks with soft drinks. Or dilute an alcohol drink with a soft drink, like 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 a longer article on this: Alcohol And Weight Loss: Can you drink AND lose weight?
4. Choose one day of light eating. Many people have a week or more off over the Christmas period. If this is you, can you choose a resting day for your digestion? On this day, eat lightly, or even do a 16—23 hour Fast. If doing this, honour your body and do it with love and not as a punishment for overeating.
5. Keep weighing yourself. In the run-up to Christmas weigh yourself weekly. Many people have a fear of weighing themselves at times like this, so like an ostrich they bury their heads in the sand. Bathroom scales don’t tell the whole story of what is going on inside of your body in terms of fat, muscle or water retention, but scales are a useful tool. Being aware of any weight gain helps you to moderate and make different food choices. Physically and emotionally knowing what’s happening is better than a shock of weighing yourself on January 2nd.
6. Keep drinking water. It can be surprisingly difficult to keep drinking water when your normal routine is changed. 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.
7. Making better choices. Subtle changes to your food and drink choices that collectively make a big difference to whether you sail through the season with little or no weight gain. Choose to eat more coloured vegetables than potatoes. 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. When you can, restart your healthy eating. If you need any further help – do get in touch with me.
Eat Well—Be Well 😊