12 Tips for a Lighter Christmas

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Time to wish you a Happy Christmas and Peaceful New Year! We’re back in action on Monday 4th January.

Just a final word, from our Guest Blogger, Matthew Arrell, on how to remain healthy over the Christmas holidays. Matthew, who is starting a WeightWatchers class in the new year, works as a Fitness Consultant for Fitness First and is also a Personal Trainer.

Guest Blog Post by Matthew Arrell

So the festive season is upon us again, creeping up a little quicker than it did last year. Everyone takes it for granted that by the start of the New Year we ‘ll all be roughly half a stone heavier than we were at the start of the Christmas period. In other words, if you take all the parties, dinners, nights out, visiting relatives and generally spending too much time beside an open tin of Roses, Quality Street or whatever special chocolates someone received as a present, we are expected to gain 7 lbs in two weeks!

In terms of extra calories, that ‘s a whopping 24,500 extra within this time, or 1750 per day!! Even if you only were to gain half of this, that ‘s still an extra 875 per day.

Thankfully you can have a very Merry Christmas without gaining loads of weight. In fact, there ‘s no reason why you shouldn ‘t maintain your current weight. Most people have plenty of time for socializing and eating, so there should be time to plan your meals and fit in some physical activity.

  1. Parties don ‘t go out feeling hungry. It ‘ll only tempt you to snack on unhealthy nibbles. Better still, hold the party at your house and you can decide on a healthier menu! If you are visiting someone for dinner, take a good homemade soup or a fruit filled trifle to ensure there are healthy options for you to pick.
  2. Alcohol have at least 2 days per week when you have no alcohol at all. You ‘ll save on calories here and stay better hydrated at least for 2 days! Best to choose spirits with diet mixers, light beers or light wines when you are having a drink as they are lower in calories. And if you don ‘t go to the bar yourself, make sure they order diet/light!
  3. Water much more important than alcohol and totally calorie free! You ‘ll need a big glass in the morning if you had a heavy night on the drink. Aim to drink 2 litres per day over the holidays and it should become a habit for the New Year.
  4. Eat slowly whatever meal you are having, eat it slowly. Remember it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to get the signal that you ‘re full, so eat a little slower and lessen the chances of overindulging.
  5. Starters if soup is on the menu, go for it. It will take you a little longer to eat, should fill you pretty well and most soups contain vegetables.
  6. Dinners turkey has more protein and less fat than duck and goose dishes so try to get more turkey than the others. Avoid eating the skin due to the fat content. Pile up your plate with plenty of vegetables; they ‘re full of nutrients and not so much calories. So make sure you have a good stock of them in the fridge and if you can, steam them to retain more nutrients.
  7. Potatoes every dinner will have roasties on the menu. If you ‘re making them, cut them larger so they won ‘t absorb as much fat during cooking.
  8. Desserts portion control is the key here and trying to look for healthy alternatives is also good. Trifle again is good for the fruit content and if you had a good starter, you may not want a dessert!
  9. Small meals (snacks) a turkey sandwich made with thick brown bread and cranberry sauce is hard to beat. Try to buy fruit, mixed nuts and healthy dips for snacking on. You should be eating every 3-4 hrs ideally so that ‘s why I call them small meals, not snacks. Also snacking sounds like crisps and chocolates!
  10. Don ‘t buy it all the extra sugar we eat over Christmas is the reason why weight gain occurs. So don ‘t bring so much of it into the house and then it cannot be eaten! Instead of getting 2 or 3 tins of chocolates or biscuits (which we end up eating most of ourselves!), purchase one. That will be enough! Otherwise go back to tip 9 and have some alternative healthy snacks.
  11. Get active we have time to consume those extra 24,500 calories so we ‘re bound to have time to get out for 45 minutes every day. Just set a time and go for it. Tell the whole family so at least someone will remember and get everyone off the sofa for a brisk walk. Take the kids/grand-kids out and you ‘ll have to go that bit faster to keep up. Even better, stick them on that new bike Santa brought them and you ‘ll have to run! It’s not much time to sacrifice and you ‘re only going to spend it sitting in the house watching re-runs or eating! Look back at my previous blog on the benefits of exercise for more reasons to be active!
  12. Christmas breakfast discovered this one by accident a few years ago and it’s so simple. Get up on Christmas morning and make the kids wait a little bit longer – by sitting down and having a proper breakfast! It will make sure you don ‘t feel like filling up on chocolates and you can plan something special for the breakfast, since it’s Christmas!

So there are a few tips to keep you on the straight and narrow over the holidays. It ‘s not ‘Bah Humbug! ‘ at all, just a bit of simple forward planning, preparing to make healthy choices when the situation arises, learning to say “no” if you ‘re feeling full already, and making the most of your free time by keeping active. It will all pay off when you step on the scales in January!

Have a great Christmas and New Year!

Image credit: MGShelton.