19 Dec 10 tips to survive Christmas without putting on (too much) weight
Lots of people talk about their fool proof plan to not put on any weight whatsoever during the holidays. But let’s be honest, Christmas is about unexpected plans and just having fun!
To avoid regretting those extra pounds gained during the holiday season, we’ve put together some tips for you that will keep your health in check over the festive period, without having to make great sacrifices or punish yourself with impossible diets.
1. Don’t change your routine
Lots of people believe that the best way to deal with heavy Christmas meals is to eat less the previous days. Truth is, they couldn’t be more wrong! If we eat less the days before, chances are we will end up eating more, because, to put it simply, we’re going to be hungry! Also, if we’re not feeling ravenous, it’ll be easier to go for the healthier option.
2. Don’t deprive yourself of anything, but do be selective
Potatoes, bread, sweets and homemade desserts are all part of a traditional Christmas. Let’s face it; we don’t want to break any traditions, and even less if they are as tasty as Christmas ones, so why not just diversify? If you have meat with roast potatoes on Christmas Eve, skip the dessert until the next day, where instead of potatoes you can pile your plate high with vegetables and treat yourself to some pudding.
3. Moderation is key
Especially when it comes to alcohol. We won’t deny that a glass (or two) can help make a family get-together much more fun, but in some cases, after the wine and champagne come the long drinks and liqueurs, where we sip large amounts of calories without even realising it. Best to just stick with wine and a glass of champagne for the photo.
4. Keep up your daily activities
Just because there are several bank holidays within a very short period of time doesn’t mean we should stop exercising. A group class in the gym might be just what you need, not only to burn a few extra calories, but also to release endorphins that will put you in a good mood during the holiday season.
5. Don’t leave your christmas shopping till the last minute
We all know how stressful shopping centres can be, especially at this time of year: people everywhere, anxiety over finding that one present we still don’t have, everyone in a rush, noise…, etc. If, on top of all that, we also go shopping on an empty stomach, chances are we will succumb to the lovely Christmas decorations and the delicious aromas coming from the nice cafeteria and end up eating a large piece of chocolate cake. How best to avoid this common scenario? Make sure you have all your presents well in advance. If that’s impossible, at least make sure you have something to eat before you head out shopping, and keep a healthy snack in your bag in case hunger strikes…
6. Sleep well
It’s never a good idea to modify our sleep patterns, and especially not around these dates. That’s because when we do, it can lead to a sense of anxiety, and then we end up choosing sugar- or fat-laden “comfort” foods. Even though there’s a lot of catching up with friends and family to be done, we should still try to stick to our usual bedtime.
7. Drinks lots of water & tea
Drinking water is vital as it eliminates toxins and purifies the body. If you drink water during your meal, you’ll feel full quicker, which helps to avoiding overeating. A cup of digestive tea can work wonders after a heavy meal; try a chamomile or mint tea or one with ginger.
8. Out of sight, out of mind
If you know that you have a sweet tooth, it’ll be much easier for you if you’re not constantly surrounded by all those Christmassy sweets and chocolates. One or two won’t hurt, but the holiday season can be long, and it can be tricky not giving in to temptation when there are chocolates, cakes and other delicious treats everywhere you turn.
9. Organise an outing or two
Family gatherings don’t happen often in some cases and once we do get together we seem to spend most of the time eating. If your family has come over to spend Christmas with you, why not do something different and plan an outdoor activity? Instead of eating at home or in a restaurant, enjoy a nice day out. Not only will you catch up, you’ll also get your body moving.
10. Enjoy yourself!
Let’s be realistic, Christmas only happens once a year. So, if the rest of the time you lead a pretty healthy lifestyle, it really won’t be the end of the world if you indulge in a delicious piece of cake that your aunt bakes every year, or your grandmother’s mouth-watering roast potatoes. Eat slowly and taste every bite, Christmas is meant to be enjoyed.