The average person puts on between 0.8 and 1.5 kilos over Christmas each year, and many people never shed this excess weight.
So how can you indulge your inner pudding monster and enjoy the festive treats without popping the button on your pants?
It’s okay to occasionally give in during the festive season, as long as you learn how to compensate for the unhealthy choices.
Here are 6 RedHOT Tips to make sure you enjoy Christmas without having to play kilo catch-up in the New Year.
1. Don’t starve yourself
With a huge day or night of party and celebratory eating on the horizon it can be tempting to be overly restrictive with your diet and even eat less than you usually do in the lead up. This is a NO NO.When you're in energy-restriction mode and eating fewer calories than you're burning, you can hit a point where the 'famine reaction' is triggered and that primes the body for fat storage. Your metabolism will be slowed down, your hormones will be altered and your body will be geared to store each little thing you eat as the survival response. Instead, follow a balanced, nourishing and healthy eating plan in the lead-up to Christmas and make sure you have a nutritious protein based breakfast on the day so you’re not hungry and ready to binge on the very foods you were trying to avoid.A well nourished body staring down the barrel of fatty and sugary delicious treats is more equipped to moderate or even avoid eating them.
2. If you fall off the wagon, get back on quickly
One of the key skills of people who keep their weight stable is being able to compensate when they have overeaten says nutritionist and author of The
Monday to Friday Diet Susie Burrell. This may mean having a light salad or soup for dinner on Boxing Day or doing some extra exercise the following day.
3. Choose the right foods to indulge in
Try to keep the sugar and starchy foods to a minimum and go light on the sweets, pastries, biscuits, milky chocolates, chips and breads. Yes the tasty Fat attack ones. When you eat sugary or starchy foods, we trigger a pro-inflammatory release of
sugar into our bloodstream, which causes our body to store fat.
Eating sugary foods also triggers a spike in insulin levels, which in turn increases our appetite setting up a vicious cycle of overeating. No a good thing at this time of the year.
Instead load up on delicious but healthier choices such as blueberries, green leafy vegetables, beans, whole grains. horseradish, garlic, onions and spices such as cinnamon and turmeric. These foods are high in folate and foods with antioxidants which assist cell-regeneration.
Foods with a high alkaline content, such as avocados, leafy greens, soya beans, radish and broccoli also work to help regulate the pH of our blood cells.
When we eat too much and the body is forced to draw on its alkaline stores to balance the surplus acid. The acid then creates nasty things like yeast, harmful
microforms, mycotoxins and bacteria which throws your digestion and health into a unhealthy spiral.
4. Don’t stress
Between trying not to burn the potatoes and keeping your relatives from throwing dishes at each other, Christmas can be a stressful time of year. But stress and lack of sleep raise the hormone cortisol in our bodies, which sends us into panic mode making it harder to digest our food.
Try to get eight hours of undisturbed sleep each night, breath deeply, stay away from too much caffeine and most of all remember Christmas is supposed to be about family and friends not how crunchy your pork crackling is and who can eat and drink the most.
5. Swap this for that
Making a few simple tweaks to your food choices means you can indulge in a few treats without fear.
The following measurements are provided as an estimate per 100g
Keep to a minimum:
• Beef sausages on the BBQ = 1093kJ,
• Hollandaise sauce = 1793kJ and 14.3g of saturated fat
• Chocolate log of slice with nuts = 2214kJ and 11g of saturated fat
• Chicken liver pate = 1328kJ and 9.1g of saturated fat
• Cream-filled Pavlova = 1522kJ and 8.6g of saturated fat
• Cabanossi = 1167kJ and 10.1g of saturated fat
6. Burn off those Christmas kilojoules
Undo the damage of your festive excesses with some fun exercise.
• 375ml beer (570kJ) = 27 minutes of fast walking
• 190g of ham off the bone (837kJ) = 30 minutes of medium-pace jogging
• A mince pie (921kJ) = 62 minutes of power walking Christmas shopping
• 5 sugared almonds (419kJ) = 55 minutes wrapping presents
• Portion of salted mixed nuts (1017kJ) = 34 minutes of bike riding
• Portion of Christmas pudding and custard (2374kJ) = 1 hour 37 minutes of
• A slice of chocolate log (423kJ) = 53 minutes putting up decorations and
• 3 chocolates (557kJ) = 1 hour 7 minutes playing board games
• 30g piece of crackling (684kJ) = 30-minute walk