HEALTH

WE ALL WANT TO EAT, DRINK AND BE MERRY, BUT HOW DO WE JUGGLE THAT WITH PUTTING OUR BEST BODY FOR­WARD THIS SUM­MER?

Food - - Contents -

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.

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