The diet hacks you need to prevent Christmas weight gain.
Chances are if you have spent the last few weeks indulging with plenty of Christmas cheer the clothes are starting to feel a little tight. The issue with gaining a couple of extra kilos at Christmas is that research suggests we rarely lose it which offers even more incentive to actively prevent weight gain this Christmas. And these are the simple diet and lifestyle hacks that will help you do it.
Stop giving yourself permission to overeat
Whether it is several trips to the ‘all you can eat’ buffet; twenty five high fat canapés or binge eating on foods you never usually would simply because it is holiday time, a crucial behaviour associated with weight control, even during holiday times is to maintain as much regular diet structure as you can. Let’s be honest, no one comes into your house and makes you eat far more food than you need or even really want. There is nothing wrong with enjoying good quality food with family and friends but binge eating foods that you never usually would simply because it is ‘Christmas’ makes no sense. So, rather than writing off the next month and giving yourself to eat whatever crosses your path commit to making good choices. This does not mean going without, rather not eating rubbish for no other reason than it is Christmas.
Don’t waste your calories
You may love chips, or chocolates or nuts or really good cheese but chances are you could take or leave some of the high calorie treats that will be on offer over the coming weeks. So, rather than eating whatever crosses your path mindlessly, make a concerted effort to only use your calories with foods that you actually really love. This means no more cheap lollies or fried foods being passed around at an event, instead making a decision of what to eat based on what you really feel like eating and then enjoying it properly. It may also help to keep a record through the day of exactly what you have consumed to help identify times when you may be more vulnerable to making poor food choices mindlessly.
If you are hosting an event this Christmas season, avoid the calorie overload with my top party foods.
Learn the art of compensation
Holidays mean fun times which can also mean extra treats and more down time. A key skill when it comes to achieving the right balance between good food, regular social occasions and weight control is learning to compensate when we have overdone things. Whether this means factoring in extra exercise, or an alcohol free period, a couple of days of light eating following several days of higher calorie eating or extra walks, learning to compensate when we have eaten more than usual is a useful strategy that will help you learn to control your weight for life. Most simply, next time you have a heavy meal or big day of eating, simply follow it with a light day of salad, vegetables, soup and grilled fish and you will feel back in control in no time.
Exercise, no excuses
For many of us, the holidays mean that we have a little more time rather than less. This means that considering the extra calories we will be consuming it makes sense to factor in more exercise. Daily morning and afternoon walks, an extra gym session and active family activities such as beach trips, bike rides and bush walks are all ways to include exercise as an integral part of the holiday season. The best way to commit to regular exercise even during the holidays is to plan ahead, schedule it and where possible commit to it first thing in the morning before other distractions pop up during the day.
Monitor your weight
It may sound harsh, but the simple act of checking your weight once or twice a week during the holiday season may be all you need to do to stop your weight creeping upwards. In fact, research into the habits of those who have lost weight and kept it off show that no matter what, they regularly monitor your weight. This way, as soon as you see the scales start to creep up, you can cut back rather than gaining 3-5kg and then having to do the hard yards to work them off. And remember, it is far easier to prevent weight gain than it is to get it off once it is there. . If you find weighing yourself regularly daunting, start with just once a week first thing in the morning. Tuesdays and Fridays (after the weekend and before the weekend) are good days to check your weight on a weekly basis.
Take some supplies with you
It does not matter if you are flying, going on a car trip, for a picnic or just to a friend’s BBQ, if you want to commit to eating well and controlling your weight for life, it is time to get into the habit of taking food supplies with you. Once you have some salad/vegetables and protein options always on hand, you are far less likely to over eat non nutritious, high carbohydrate snack foods that are readily available. This is not to say that you cannot enjoy treats when you are out and about, but it means that you never become a victim to your food environment and find yourself forced to eat high calorie, non-filling foods simply because you found yourself hungry and had no other choice but to eat what was there. Offer to take the salad; carry a protein bar in your bag and never arrive at an event hungry in an attempt to keep focused and your nutrition on track no matter what the event or occasion.
Here are my top Christmas party hacks to ensure you don’t leave the party having completely overloaded.