You can avoid the kilo creep during the party season with a few healthy tactics, writes Paula Goodyer.
Enjoy the holidays without the dreaded kilo creep.
Christmas is a tough time for keeping the kilos off, not because of the day itself but rather the social marathon that starts in November and extends into the New Year. “You could have up to 10 parties on the calendar, and that means a lot of treat foods,” says Melbourne-based dietitian Melanie McGrice.
We also cling to the old idea that Christmas is a time for feasting. That was fine a few generations ago when we had less food, but high-kilojoule food is now so abundant that we’re feasting all year round.
On average, Australians gain between 800g and 1.5kg over Christmas, according to Nutrition Australia, and research suggests this weight often stays put. But with the right mindset and forward planning, you can kick off 2019 at your pre-Christmas weight, says McGrice. Here’s how… Be realistic about future weight loss “One reason people put on weight is [having] the attitude that it’s okay to indulge over Christmas because they’ll lose it in the new year, but for some people this weight is harder to take off,” says McGrice.
Have a plan Decide on a couple of occasions for enjoying treat food, but stick to healthy eating the rest of the time. If you eat a big lunch, keep your dinner light.
Eat… just enough. You might even enjoy Christmas food more if you eat less of it. “Some people eat to the point of discomfort,” says McGrice, “but where’s the enjoyment in that?”
Lend a hand Be the guest who offers to pass the food around or to help out in the kitchen. As McGrice points out, you are less likely to be picking at food if you’re busy.
Take control If you’re invited to a party or barbecue, take a healthy dish to share – perhaps a great salad. When it comes to drinks, try to limit your intake of alcohol as it’s high in kilojoules. Otherwise, look for lowerkilojoule options such as wine or vodka spritzers with soda water.
“People are becoming more conscious of staying on track with healthier food through the holiday season,” says McGrice. If you’re eating out more often than usual, check restaurant menus ahead of time to make sure they include leaner options such as fresh seafood, salads, stir-fries or barbecued meat.
‘Suggest active get-togethers over the holidays. Combine a social catch-up with a picnic and a walk or swim.’
Beth Sheehan, Exercise & Sports Science Australia