Avoid excess this Xmas
KEEP those kilos under control this festive season.
IT’S the holidays. You have parties and Christmas lunch to look forward to; New Year’s drinks and a trip away. It’s tempting just to accept that a few extra kilograms will hit your hips.
“Research suggests people can put on up to four kilos during the Christmas break,” says accredited practising dietitian Milena Katz.
The problem with being complacent about holiday weight gain, even if it is only a kilo or two, is that it doesn’t magically drop off when the silly season is over. “You might lose a little of it, but the rest can hang around and even accumulate through the year.” So if you want to keep the weight off these holidays, follow these dos and don’ts.
DON’T Arrive Hungry
BEING famished when you hit a Christmas event makes it harder not to overeat. “Eat a salad, a piece of fruit or a toasted sandwich before you go,” says Professor Clare Collins, spokesperson for the Dietitians Association of Australia. Once there, don’t eat or drink to placate an insistent host. “Take a small portion to be polite, but don’t feel you have to finish it,” she says.
The difference between a large (125g) slice of cheesecake and a small (75g) slice is 170 calories.
DON’T Eat Just Anything
IT can be easy at parties to eat foods you’re not keen on just because they’re offered to you. “Make it a rule to only eat foods you really like,” says Katz. As long as you’re mindful of portions with your treats, you don’t need to feel deprived or risk a kilojoule blow-out...
HERE’S the proof. Eating a small amount of your favourite treats will satisfy your hunger, say experts, but you’ll eat 77 percent more when offered larger portions.
DO Pack Light
IF you’re going away for the Christmas period, make your suitcase reflect your good intentions, says Collins. “Pack your sports clothes first then your tightest shorts and party dress to help keep you on track. They’re as good as a set of scales when you’re away.”
Going up a dress size means that you’d carry an extra 4cm around your bust, waist or thighs.
DO Avoid The Holiday Buffet
YOU’RE more likely to overeat to get your money’s worth, says Collins. If a buffet breakfast is included in your holiday package, Katz suggests making it your main meal of the day. “Have a healthy cooked breakfast with lots of vegetables and a smaller lunch and dinner,” she says.
Think about what you have at breakfast: By not eating three bacon rashers and buttered toast you’ll avoid 394 calories and 20g of fat.
DON’T Do Seconds
TO control how much you eat at social gatherings, fill your plate just once.
Also, reach for the smallest plate or bowl possible. Research shows you’ll eat 22 percent fewer calories just by switching from a 30cm to a 25cm plate.
“Most of us will eat until our plate’s empty, regardless of the size” says Collins.
Eating 22 percent less of a roast beef Christmas dinner (three slices of meat, a baked potato, vegetables and gravy) will save you 136 calories.
DON’T Drink Your Calories
SOME cocktails can have the same calories as a meal. Alcohol can also affect what and how much you eat. Always make your first drink a mineral water because that’s when you’re thirstiest, advises Collins. “If you drink a glass or two of champagne fast, you’ll dilute your willpower and end up inhaling the appetisers.”
How many calories are there in your favourite drink? Small (120ml) glass champagne, 88 calories. Large (160ml) glass red wine, 108 calories. Mojito, 169 calories. Pina colada, 289 calories.
DON’T Forget Your Routine
STICKING to your regular exercise routine over the Christmas break will help combat holiday kilo creep. “Don’t let time pressures or school holidays prevent you from going to the gym or taking your daily walk,” says Katz.
A 60-minute brisk walk burns 293 calories, which equals one small mince pie and a partysize quiche.
DO Pay It Back
MINIMISE the damage of a big meal by eating less and being more active the next day.
“One big meal doesn’t make you overweight,” says Collins. “The problem is when one big meal becomes the trigger for giving up or continuing the blow-out for days or weeks.”
One solution? A 45-minute morning workout. It’ll decrease your appetite and make you move more for the rest of the day, say experts.
DO Keep Track
BEING aware of how much exercise you need to do to burn off the calories in the foods you’re eating can help you resist temptation. “Some treats might be worth a one-hour workout to you, but some won’t,” says Collins.
You’ll need to jog for 18 minutes at a moderate speed to burn off a medium slice of Christmas cake.
DO Dine Out Wisely
EATING in restaurants while on holiday can make it hard to control your calorie intake.
Collins suggests increasing your greens. “Most restaurant meals don’t come with any vegetables or salad. Order an entrée and a side dish of fancy steamed greens instead of a main meal”
Dining Tip: Choose a restaurant with dim lighting and soft music over a bright and noisy one and you’ll eat 18 percent less of the meal and enjoy it more, say experts.
DO Be A Generous Host
ENSURE there’s plenty of low-calorie food and drink options for people watching their weight at your get-togethers.
“If you’re asked to bring a plate to a party, take something healthy such as vegetable crudites with a low-fat dip or a summer fruit platter,” says Collins.
Swap one tablespoon of Three Olive dip (78 calories) for the same amount of Lite & Fresh Hummus (34 calories).