When it comes to the holidays, it’s a well known and accepted truth that along with our presents, a lot of us will unfortunately be getting a little fatter for Christmas. The average person gains six pounds over the festive period – you can thank the turkey, chocolate, cake and roast potatoes for that one.
After binging out continuously and staring in horror at our widening waistlines, January often brings out the worst in us in terms of starvation diets and strict meal plans. However, there’s no need for such drastic measures if you take a few steps to avoid sheer gluttony over the holidays.
You can still indulge – but you’ll step into 2016 without the added bulge.
1. Accept the inevitable
Look. It’s the holidays. Despite what we like to think, the likihood of being able to escape without eating a little something naughty is highly unlikely. The worst thing you can do is deny yourself those treats – it will only result in you feeling deprived and binging on half of your family’s chocolate hoard later.
Go ahead and have a few indulgent delights – but don’t go crazy. Just because you’ve had one slice doesn’t mean you have to have another. The same goes for weight gain – if you’ve put on a couple of pounds already, don’t give up and view the rest of the festivities as a food free for all.
2. The Magic Word
Remember, celebrating does not mean we have to eat ridiculous amounts of food. It’s not mandatory. A lot of my relatives enjoy feeding up their guests as much as possible – I’m talking plate upon plate of lavish desserts and dishes. It’s like a marathon of culinary delights that results in everyone passing out on the couch in a mild food coma.
There’s no need to deny yourself sampling a few treats, but don’t feel obliged to stuff yourself to the brim at every gathering. Learn to say no when you’re passed the biscuit box or that bottle of wine. You’ll be surprised at how much weight you can avoid gaining by simply avoiding a few extra mouthfuls.
3. Fit in a little exercise
If you’re going to be taking more calories in, it’s time to be exerting a few extra out. Find ways to fit in a little more movement. Whether it’s a sociable family walk or trying a new exercise class with friends, there’s plenty of ways to add in a little cardio.
My normal gym has been shut a lot over the holidays, so I opt for simple alternatives such as hiking, running or dancing with friends. You’ll feel so much fresher too – it’s time to get moving!
4. Alternate your indulgences
Avoid fat gain by planning ahead. If you know you’ve got rich desserts or decadent dinners on the horizon, plan your meals for the day and opt for healthier options. That way, you can still treat yourself without binging or feeling like you’re going to burst. There’s no need to starve either – choose plenty of fresh fruit and veg with protein rich sources of energy to keep you going.
5. Drinks count
It’s easy to forget about the calories in drink, especially when there’s so many tipples on offer during the holidays. Just like snacks, those really do calories add up.
If you’re looking to avoid gaining too many unwanted pounds, alternate every alcoholic beverage with a non-boozy (and lower calorie) drink to counter it. Your liver, your skin and your waistline will thank you for it when January rolls around.
Till next time – Soph x