Christmas and weight gain
Christmas time! Arguably the best time of year. Sun, sand, BBQs in the park, fun with family and friends, and it goes without saying… all of the incredible meals.
If you’re coming into the silly season worried about gaining some festive weight, then look no further. I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to navigate a minefield of events, throw in the towel when it comes to your health goals, and end up frustrated after December and January have passed us by.
Two fifths of Australians report gaining weight over the Christmas period with the average being approximately 3kg. Having said this however, you can very easily manage your opportunities for over-indulgence and make sure you’re leaving the holidays the same way you went in!
Practical ways to manage the holiday season festivities include planning in advance in order to pencil in your regular exercise and healthy meals around your celebrations. If you physically write down your party commitments and can see them in front of you, you can also use this as an opportunity to plan your healthy behaviours too. Look ahead and note down when you can get to the gym or go for a jog, once it’s written in - it’s locked in.
Exercise aside, let’s talk about the nutrition side of things. Realistically, you may have around 10 celebrations across the month when we take into account Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Years and an assortment of birthdays, work parties and catch ups with friends - maybe more, maybe less. If you eat 3 meals per day across the whole month of December, this is 96 meals. When you consider the 10 less healthy meals you might indulge in, you can see that this is just a small proportion of meals and is actually very manageable.
On days that you have a larger main meal, such as dinner, a good strategy can be to have a smaller main meal for the other two meals. Focus on getting nutrient-dense, low calorie foods in these meals to ensure you’re getting all the good things you need, such as protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals. If you prefer to have a meal replacement shake instead of cooking on these days, then opt for our Classic Shakes as they are formulated precisely for this reason.
When you’re attending events, be mindful of what you’re actually eating and take the time to enjoy it, instead of getting through a whole cheese platter whilst distracted. If we focus on the foods we’re eating at the time, this can help reduce overconsumption at a later time in the day. Research has shown that not only do we eat too much at the mindless meal, but that we don’t actually remember it properly later on and are more likely to go overboard with calories and food at the meal after too - not ideal when being health-conscious!
More helpful tips include:
- Being mindful of where you stand at events; if you’re positioned at the buffet or bar for hours, you might find yourself eating much more than you wanted to
- Eat a small protein-rich snack in advance of events, for example a Protein Shake, a handful of nuts, a small greek yoghurt, or a tin of tuna with some wholegrain crackers. This will ensure you don’t turn up starving and eating more than your share of the canapés.
- Try to alternate alcoholic beverages with non-alcoholic, low-calorie beverages such as soda water with lime or a diet soft drink. This will not only reduce the amount of calories you drink, but will help prevent that hangover the next day.
- See if you can bring along some healthy alternatives for entrees or snacks at your Christmas party. Everyone loves a fruit platter and this will help ensure you’ll have healthy food on hand to snack on instead of cakes.
Enjoy your Christmas lunch, try not to be stressed about weight gain and know that you can still strive for health goals over the festive season!
For some delicious and healthy meal ideas, exercise tips, and motivation tips, visit the 12 week plan.