WE ALL WANT TO EAT, DRINK AND BE MERRY, BUT HOW DO WE JUGGLE THAT WITH PUTTING OUR BEST BODY FORWARD THIS SUMMER?
Tips to beat Christmas weight gain
Festive flab is one of the downsides of the season of indulgence – made all the more frustrating because this is precisely the time of year when we want to dust off the swimwear and let it all hang out in the sun. With studies estimating we’ll pack on anywhere between 0.5kg and 4kg during the two weeks before and after December 25, and take an average of five months to shed it, weight gain is the element of Christmas we could all do without receiving.
However, there is hope. While no one wants to be the grinch who turns down treats over the festive period, there are tricks you can adopt in order to eat, drink and be merry without giving your figure the gift of a spare tyre.
1 TAP INTO A MIND INTERVENTION
When all you can think about is eating the entire family-sized box of Roses you were given for Christmas, banish the thought by tapping your forehead for 30 seconds. A study by Richard Weil, director of the New York Obesity Research Centre, found this diverts attention and leads to restraint. “It requires work in the brain, and thus, more distraction,” he says.
2 DON’T SKIP!
It might make sense to avoid lunch so you can pig out at the Christmas party later on, but starving yourself will mean you’ll be famished by the time you get there, and likely to dive head first into all the fatty treats on offer. Instead, have a light lunch and eat some fruit or yoghurt before heading out in the evening, so you don’t feel the need to inhale a dozen sausage rolls before you’ve even removed your coat.
3 PLATE UP SMART
Buffet-style eating is common at this time of year, making it easy to mindlessly load up. To manage portion control, pick a smaller salad plate or a side plate. The Smaller Plate Study found using a 25cm plate instead of a 30cm plate results in 22 per cent less calories consumed.
4 GIFT THE LEFTOVERS
When there’s half a tub of paté, a few roasties and a big wedge of pavlova winking at you after your Christmas get-together at home, it’s tempting to finish them all off. Avoid this by investing in some plastic containers ahead of time, then filling them with those leftover treats to present to your guests as they depart. You could even decorate the boxes to make them feel like a party favour – and chuck in a few of those Roses you’re trying not to eat.
5 EXERCISE WITHOUT MUCH EFFORT
This is not the time of year to take up marathon running or bodybuilding, but research published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine shows incidental exercise throughout each day can be just as beneficial for maintaining a healthy weight as a gym workout. So park up the road from the mall and stroll back to the shops – it also means you avoid the battle for a parking space. Also take the stairs at work, do some weeding in the garden, and hang up the laundry instead of using the tumble dryer.