The Christmas holidays are a time to enjoy quality time with family, friends and good food. This doesn’t have to mean gaining extra weight though..
Generally, people tend to consume a lot more calories during the festive season than they normally do, and this can lead to weight gain – that can then stick around and accumulate over time. Good news; the extra weight gain can be avoided with mindful eating, moderation in portions and a few other methods.
When you are preparing for a big festive feast, don’t skip any meals during the day as this can easily result in overeating. The most important thing to remember here is to have breakfast; research shows that those who eat breakfast, tend to consume less calories throughout the day. Why not try a Greek yogurt pot with a teaspoon of chia seeds and berry powder? It will give you a good load of energy, protein and vitamins you need to stay energised during the day.
Fibre it up! Make sure your diet consists of plenty of fruit and vegetables as well as whole grains. Foods high in fibre are high in volume, will keep hunger at bay but are still lower in calories.
Often holiday meals are large, buffet-style with second and even third helpings. Even if your holiday foods are healthy, eating too much of the good stuff will result in too many calories that your body can’t use and that extra will be stored as fat. So when you start the feast, aim to begin with the lighter, vegetables and salads, wait at least 20 minutes before going to get a second helping. This break will give your brain time to register the food that has already gone down. With this approach, you’ll be better equipped to plan what you’ll enjoy and this way you’ll also be able to enjoy dessert without feeling stuffed.
Additionally, don’t succumb to peer pressure about over-eating, you know your body the best and remember, you’re the one who carries the extra around if you over-indulge too much. :)
Another way to handle the portion size question is to simply use a smaller plate, this way you’ll still feel like you’re filling your plate but it will decrease the amount you gulp down in one sitting. As mentioned before, do wait 20 minutes before reaching for another helping. Eat slowly and taste every bite! The festive foods are unique to this time of the year, so savour them.
Finally, after dinner, go out for a walk, play with the dog or try your hand at a family sport. This will allow your body to use the calories ingested earlier and put them to good use!