How to enjoy yourself while keeping your wellness habits intact.
As much as we all love the fun and frivolity that the silly season brings, it’s not the easiest time for our health. Once New Year’s Eve rolls around, many people find themselves dealing with the after-effects of over-indulging in less-than-healthy Christmas treats.
The post-Christmas period comedown commonly manifests with unwanted weight gain, decreased energy levels and just generally feeling less-than-optimal (AKA feeling blah). This in turn can often lead to the setting of New Year’s resolutions to get fit, lose weight and be healthier…
Then, another year goes by, Christmas comes again and the cycle continues – year in and year out.
Sound familiar? Well, what if we told you it’s possible to get off this merry-go-round of overly strict, virtuous eating and unbound indulgence?
Women’s Health Australia spoke to Kate Save, accredited dietitian and founder of weight loss meal program Be Fit Food, to find out her best tips for having a healthy Christmas while still enjoying yourself.
Prioritise portion control
Portion control plays a huge role in keeping your diet well-balanced throughout Christmas. “Whether it be a full hot Christmas lunch or a seafood platter, just make sure you have a small portion and don’t overeat. Protein is essential to help to increase satiety,” says Kate.
“If you are going to go back for a second helping of anything, make it the salad (as this is the lowest calorie option) with small amounts of lean meats and seafood. For dessert, have a small serving of plum pudding and custard and fill the plate out with some fresh berries,” continues Kate.
Cut back on alcohol consumption
“Minimising alcohol on Christmas Day or at least alternating each alcoholic beverage with a glass of mineral water will slow down the alcohol intake while minimising the consumption of empty calories. Plus you will stay in control of your inhibitions and be able to exercise better dietary control,” says Kate.
Nowadays, there is also an incredible range of no-alcohol and low-alcohol wines, beers and spirits. Below are some of our current favourites (that actually taste good!) plus you can find more in our no and low-booze beverage guide.
A delectably drinkable alcohol-free rosé perfect for summer barbecues: McGuigan Zero Alcohol Rosé
From international award-winning winemakers, McGuigan Wines comes this bright, summer-ready rosé. With subtle rose and strawberry notes and a crisp finish, it’s perfect for hot summer days and long lunches.
Lyre’s award-winning Classico features aromatics of classic green apple tartness followed by a soft richness of pear, peach and red apple. Perfect for celebration season!
Step away from the starchy carbs
Avoid riding the blood sugar rollercoaster by steering clear of starchy carbs. “The main foods to minimise are starchy carbs and snack foods such as bread, rice, pasta, potato, chips, crackers and fried foods as they will cause a spike in blood sugar levels, followed by a drop a few hours later, leaving you feeling hungry again. Rich desserts should also be minimised to one serve – although not necessarily avoided as it is Christmas,” says Kate.
Up your water intake
Getting enough hydration is important at any time of year but Kate says it’s especially key during the silly season. “Keeping water intake up will help to keep you hydrated and assist you from confusing thirst with hunger, preventing mindless eating,” explains Kate.
Being aware of what and how much you’re eating is one of the best tools for achieving a healthy Christmas. “Portioning out your nibbles onto a plate helps you to control your total snack food intake rather than grazing over many hours and underestimating actually how much food you are consuming. The same applies at meal times so that you are in control of exactly how much you are consuming,” says Kate.
Take things slow
“Slow down. Chew your food well and eat your meal slowly. If you finish after everybody else has finished, you are less likely to want a second helping,” suggests Kate.
Walk it off
Getting your body moving is the best way to burn off extra Christmas calories. “This could be getting up and going for a walk on Christmas morning in preparation for the feast or an evening walk on Christmas night. Once Christmas has passed, return to your regular exercise regime and if you have overindulged slightly, then make the walk a little bit more intense with hills and a little longer in distance to burn off some extra calories,” says Kate.
Try intermittent fasting
Been thinking about giving intermittent fasting a go? It’s an excellent tool to have under your belt over the silly season. “Use the principles of the 2:5 diet and try having a few ‘fasting days’ with 500 calories for females and 600 calories for males two days per week then return to a normal healthy diet to help compensate,” advises Kate.
“Alternatively, you can consider a weight loss meal program like Be Fit Food which considers the macronutrient content of foods and uses nutritional science to induce healthy, rapid weight loss. The advantages of using a real food weight loss meal delivery program is that it ensures you are having the portion sizes, calories and macronutrients you need with the convenience of not having to make the meals yourself,” continues Kate.
With all that said, it’s still important to enjoy yourself. After all, Christmas only comes around once per year! “Don’t spend the whole day stressing about your weight or weight loss goals. Relax, enjoy yourself and keep portion and balance in your mind. Keep your plate colourful and choose nutritious foods rather than ‘beige’ foods to help keep you healthy and satisfied too,” says Kate.
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Source @womenshealth.com.au: Read more at : womenalive.org