Christmas & the Battle of the Bulge

Christmas is here again! It seems to come around faster each year. And just before New Year’s Eve come the “Lose Weight, Feel Great!” ads that seem to be everywhere! Well, although we all have the tendency to overindulge at Christmas, it is possible to get through the silly season without going up a dress size!

Common sense is the key!

Simple isn’t? Don’t overindulge – for several reasons:

  • It’s bad for your digestion. It puts extra pressure on your stomach, intestines & liver. And you feel rubbish afterwards.
  • It’s bad for your blood sugar levels. Especially if you’re eating carbohydrate rich foods – lollies, chocolate, chips, biscuits, pudding & so forth.
  • The energy you get from food that’s not used turns into fat.
  • It disrupts your hunger/satiety regulation. The hormones that control how hungry or full you feel can become imbalanced from overeating, resulting in larger intakes of food. (1)

Make wise choices about what you eat (& drink)

In Western society we no longer eat to provide our bodies with fuel they need to survive, we eat for taste instead. And while taste is important, nutrition is essential. So, finding a balance between the two is required. My tip: avoid carbohydrate rich foods. Meat, fish, fruit & vegetables are fine, and the occasional treat is o.k too. Sound like it’s taking all the fun out of Christmas? Not at all. It just requires a slight shift in thinking – fresh food is always best.

There are lots of goodies that can be made by substituting white flour for coconut flour or almond meal, and using dried fruit in baking to sweeten things instead of sugar. There seems to a multitude of Paleo/GAPS diet Christmas recipes out there – I highly recommend having a look at a few.

Alcohol can be a deal-breaker too. There are loads of calories in alcohol that often go unaccounted for. For example:

1 glass of red wine = 483 kj/117 calories

1 beer (375ml) = 455 kj/108 calories

Spirits (1 shot – 30ml) = 265 kj/63 calories

This may not seem a lot, but if you’re having more than 1 it mounts up quickly, especially considering there is little other nutritional value – just empty calories.

It’s a similar deal with soft drink. A small cup of soft drink has nearly 500 kj/119 calories per serve!

Make sure you get enough exercise over the holidays

Whether you train hard or not during the year, making sure that you get regular exercise during the holiday period is very important not just in terms of weight regulation, but it also aids relaxation & mood. A gentle 30 minute walk each day is great for body & mind!  If you stay in the habit, it makes it much easier to get back into the swing of things once the festive season is over.

Make a New Year’s resolution that is achievable!

If weight loss is your goal for 2016, make sure that you have a solid plan in place. You need to know what steps you’ll take to get there, & it has to be sustainable. Many people get caught up in the hype of ‘get fit quick’ weight loss schemes without considering the importance of long-term, sustainable habits.

If you are going on a diet, make sure that it’s one you can stick to. Make sure your exercise regime is enjoyable & something you can see yourself doing indefinitely.

Have a great Christmas!

I hope everyone out there has a very happy, healthy & safe Christmas and all the best for a peaceful & prosperous 2016!

 

(1)Lindqvist, A et al. (2005). Overeating of palatable food is associated with blunted leptin and ghrelin responses. Regulatory Peptides. Sep 15;130(3):123-32.

 

 

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