Sobering thoughts about Christmas indulging!
Last snag on the barbie? Can’t get your eyes off the pudding? Too much red wine? The summer holidays are a silent nightmare for anyone watching their weight, let alone people with diabetes and excess weight.
And Christmas weight gain is no myth, with the average person gaining 0.48kg over the Xmas period according to The New England Journal of Medicine.
Whilst this isn’t significant in the short term, the bad news is that’s this weight is not lost over the next 11 months – and Christmas remains a significant contributor to obesity in later life, the authors concluded.
Christmas is a danger period for weight gain as most or our festive activities revolve around food, parties, celebratory drinks and edible presents.
Allowing yourself to eat endlessly from the beginning of December to the middle of January and then vowing to take it off “come the New Year”, is actually much harder than people realise.
This is because the body tends to recognise its weight “set point” as the highest it has ever been.
Top 20 Christmas Drinking and Eating Hacks
Here are my top 20 Christmas Drinking and Eating tips
- Christmas and New Year’s are known as the two highest risk days of the year for the Merry Christmas Coronary due to overindulging, so take it easy on the booze with these tips.
- Visit alcofree.com.au for a range of non-alcoholic drinks. The 2 most popular options are Lussory Premium Sparkling Brut ($13.99 per bottle) and Heineken Lager Beer 0.0 ($13.49 for 6-pack).
- Lighten up alcohol content by adding orange juice to champagne (Mimosa) or lemonade to beer (shandy). Your waistline will thank you too.
- Alternate with water. Keep hydrated with water to stop yourself from getting too intoxicated, and reduce hangover symptoms.
- Sip soda from a wine glass, so you don’t feel like you are missing out.
- Stop the top-ups. Drink your glass empty first.
- Know your “strength”. There are 8 standard drinks in a bottle of red wine, 1.5 standard drinks in a restaurant pour of wine and 1 standard drink in a stubby (mid-strength beer).
- Downsize glasses at home. Opt for a small (125 ml) wine glass rather than a large (250 ml) glass.
- Stop giving yourself permission to overindulge “for the next five weeks”.
- Instead make healthy choices throughout the Christmas break and leave Christmas and New Year as treat days such as enjoying that Pavlova or cheese cake.
- Choose salads (including, green leafy “Greek salad” with a small amount of fetta, baked sweet potato and quinoa) rather than filling up on white bread or pasta or potato salads.
- Choose lemon or vinaigrette dressings with small amounts of extra virgin olive oil than creamy mayonnaise dressings for your salads.
- Eat fresh fruit as dessert options over cakes and biscuits.
- However, opt for mostly low GI fruits (apples, oranges, strawberries, blueberries, peaches and plums) as opposed to higher GI fruits (ripe bananas, rockmelon, pineapple, watermelon)
- Choose turkey breast over salami
- Choose “the expensive stuff” eg fresh peeled prawns and grilled seafood over sausages or cured meats
- Exercise regularly in the holidays – but don’t overcompensate for exercise by eating more. Weight loss is still 80% eating and 20% weight loss.
- Use small plates to help portion control
- Use a food diary
- Photograph your meals on your phone so you can be accountable to yourself.
- Weigh yourself daily or at least three times weekly with the aim to maintain a healthy stable weight throughout the festive season.