‘Tis the season of good health
Christmas and New Year’s is about the shared experience, it’s a time to celebrate the year and your relationships with work colleagues, friends and family. Focus on catching up with those you love, rather than focusing on food and indulgence.
A few simple easy to follow tips and tools are listed below to help you get through the next few weeks without harming your health or waistline.
Prepare yourself with a plan. It is much more difficult to avoid over-eating if you are unprepared and don’t arm yourself with the necessary tools.
Eat breakfast on Christmas day
You are more likely to overeat and more likely to choose foods higher in calories, fat, and salt if you skip breakfast. You may think that fasting is a good idea, trying to create a calorie deficit, however you will have more control over your appetite if you have a small breakfast in the morning. Include some protein, and healthy fats to help keep you fuller for longer e.g. 1-2 eggs with wholemeal toast or sweet potato.
Exercise the morning of days when there are been big meals planned. Particularly cardiovascular exercise such as running, cycling, walking, or swimming, has been shown to suppress appetite. Not only will you want to eat less, the calorie deficit from the exercise will help limit some of the excess calories you may consume.
Try including some physical activity with your friends or family during the day such as touch football, a game of soccer, boules, or backyard cricket.
Oh the calories!
Christmas day will be filled with foods that are higher in calories than your usual meals, so focus on foods that are filling and nutritious, and cut out the foods that are high in calories and low in satisfaction.
Remove or reduce your intake of liquid calories such as soft drink and alcohol, choose sides that are lower in calories such as yoghurt or hummus not sour cream, use garlic and herbs instead of salt and butter, add less sugar to dressings and desserts, use almond meal instead of wheat flour and sugar.
Use a plate
So many of the excess calories consumed can be in the first part of the day, while sitting and chatting with friends and family while nibbling on some foods. Humans are not great at doing two things at once, and being mindful of your food and socialising are no exception to this rule.
By serving yourself a plate of food, you are making a mental note of how much food you are eating, and by sticking to that plate, you are much less likely to over-consume on these calorie rich nibbles.
Slow down and avoid second servings. It takes 20-30 minutes for the hormone Leptin to take full effect and bring the feeling of satiety or fullness to the forefront of your mind.
That means it is incredibly easy to over consume if you eat quickly and head back for seconds. Take your time, eat mindfully, and savour the meal you have served yourself. After you have finished, going back for seconds isn’t necessary, considering dessert is being served soon, it is unlikely a second serving is necessary. Enjoy some leftovers the next day.
Drink lots of water. The calories from alcohol, juice, and soft drink can quickly add up. Foods around Christmas are more likely to be higher in salt and sugar, which will increase your thirst. Satisfy this with water or mineral water. Try having water or mineral every second drink to slow down those liquid calories. It’s about friends and family!
Decide beforehand on your goals for the day and implement the tools and tricks above. This will help you stick to your goals for the day. Go easy on yourself. After a long year of stress, work, family, trials, and tribulations, the holiday period is a time to be with loved ones and friends and relax.
Understanding where this fits in with your goals is important and accepting that it is ok to over indulge on special occasions. Focusing on getting back into healthy eating and lifestyle behaviours plays a key role.
Don’t let a day, or a few days of not being perfect ruin all the hard work you have put it. Use the tips and tricks above then accept the day’s events and then move forward with your healthy eating and lifestyle behaviours.
If losing weight is on your New Year’s wish list, call Elevate on 9252 2225 to make an appointment Nutritionist, Naturopath & Medical Herbalist, Amanda Harasym.