Here we are, the beginning of December and I know that many of you are feeling a little anxious about how to get through the next few weeks without undoing your good work from this year.
I’ve come up with lots of tips on how to minimise weight gain over the festive season.
- If you are invited out, offer to take a big green salad. How often have you arrived at a BBQ or dinner and found the salad offering to be either miniscule or non-existent? At least if you provide a big salad you can fill half your plate with good stuff.
- If you are asked to take nibbles or dessert, check out my ideas for healthier platters here: Savoury platter or sweet platter
- Simple, healthy food like blanched asparagus spears with a yoghurt dip, hummus with veggie sticks and a platter of fresh fruit pieces always go down well.
- Decide before you go if you will be drinking alcohol and give yourself a limit. Remember that each two glasses of wine is almost a dinner, calorie wise.
- The nibbles you have before dinner can easily exceed the calories in a healthy dinner, so don’t arrive hungry and then get stuck into the nibbles if you are watching your weight. Have a light snack before you go and then avoid the nibbles all together.
- If you are invited out frequently, then remember that nibbles + alcohol + dinner + dessert can equal at least half a day’s food! Pace yourself.
- If you really don’t want friends or family to give you food gifts for Christmas, ask them now not to do so. It’s all too easy to add treats into someone’s stocking at Christmas, but if you don’t want the temptation of having boxes of chocolates in the house, make that known now.
- What do you do if you are given treats that you really don’t want? Well you can: a) re-gift them. b) open them and share them around only when there are a good number of people to dispose of them. c) Take them to a rest home or similar on Boxing Day and get them out of the house.
- Don’t forget to exercise. Make time to go for a walk each day. The best time to exercise for fat loss is first thing in the morning on an empty stomach, so get out of bed and get your shoes on. It sets you up for the day. Come home and start the day with a good breakfast and you will feel great. The free app Sportstracker is a good app that lets you know how far and how fast you walk. Aim to keep to a pace of no less than 3 kilometres per 30 minutes. Dawdling doesn’t achieve much!
- I’m sure I don’t need to remind you, but do watch your portion sizes. Have a taste of something special and savour it, don’t demolish it!
- Remember if you are ordering at a café or restaurant, to ask for dressings and sauces on the side. A perfectly good salad can be ruined by being swamped with loads of gloopy dressing.
- If you are on the move, try to choose healthier places to buy food from. Pita Pit is one of the best, but you will find Subways in most areas and most of the fast food places now offer salads – but remember, ask for dressing on the side!
- The December issue of the Healthy Food Guide (available from supermarkets and book stores) has some great ideas for healthy summer salads and non alcoholic fruity summer drinks. Grab a copy now and swat it up.
- Here’s a link to how much energy is in alcoholic drinks from the Healthy Food Guide website. The page compares the energy in various drinks to slices of bread – go on, read it and be surprised!! It doesn’t show the energy in cocktails, but I can tell you that something like a Pina Colada, when made with cream, can contain almost as much energy as a light lunch. Cider has a lot of sugar, and pre-mixers are also high in energy. Light beers, low alcohol wines and vodka with non-alcoholic mixers are a better option.
- Remember to eat mindfully. Prepare your food so that it looks attractive on the plate and then eat slowly. Be aware of the texture, the taste and the sensation of no longer feeling hungry. Stop before you are full. There can be hundreds of calories difference between stopping when you are no longer hungry and stopping when you are full.
- Remember too, that it won’t be the last box of chocolates, tin of shortbread, packet of mince pies or slab of Christmas cake ever, so don’t feel that you have to have a bit of everything, pace yourself.
Christmas should be a time to be enjoyed, not dreaded, so choose wisely and use the tips above to help you get through. If it all turns to custard though and you do let rip, don’t feel embarrassed to come back and see me ASAP in the New Year and we can get cracking again, before the bad habits take over.
Eating well and managing weight is a lifelong commitment and there will always be detours. It is what you do after the detours that matters more than the detours themselves.