f you’re trying to loose weight, Christmas can be a very challenging time. If you don’t want to see a big increase in the January Scales, then it’s worth doing some planning up front – and that means now.
Here are my top 10 tips for surviving Christmas without adding too many pounds.
1. Decide how much leeway you will give yourself now, before the madness starts. Will it be a disaster if you put on a pound? What about 7? What about 10? Decide what you are comfortable with as this will determine how strict you need to be.
2.Look at your commitments for the whole month ahead – how many parties, dinners, family meals etc do you have? If it’s only a few, then you can probably afford to relish all of them – but if it’s lots, then you’ll need to prioritise them in terms of how much you will allow yourself to consume at each.
3. On days that you don’t have festive engagements, try and stick to your normal diet, or be even stricter with yourself – that way you won’t compound any increases
4. Don’t stock up on Christmas treats early – unless you have superhuman willpower, that tin of chocolates or bottle of vodka will be gone by Christmas if you buy it by the end of November. If you want to spread the cost, get someone else to store your food. Mince pies with a best before date of Dec 15 are a definite no-no unless mince pies are included in your diet. If you want to buy early and don’t have someone to store things, buy things for the freezer – brandy cream, turkey crown, chestnut stuffing etc can all be frozen and aren’t as tempting as a bottle of Baileys.
5. Find non-foodie treats to enjoy – festive games, pampering treats, those huge bumper magazines and supplements you get at Christmas.
6.Try and plan in some fun exercise – you probably have extra time off work, so a long walk, sledging or even playing with the kids will all help burn off a few calories – but don’t eat more because you’re exercising – use this to burn off what you “had” to eat or drink at parties etc
7. Offer to drive and stay off the drink – you will be popular with everyone and won’t have added to your waistline by having “empty” calories. Make a deal that if you drive, they buy your drinks all night, and stick to low cal soft drinks.
8. Decide which festive treats you really like, and prioritise those. Which do you just eat because they are there? Can you do without them? I used to eat sausage rolls, but then realised that I didn’t really enjoy all that pastry, and so now I leave them, or just eat the sausage and leave the pastry.
9. Don’t worry about upsetting someone by saying “no” to offers of cake, sweets, food etc – it’s your body and you are the one responsible for its maintenance. You can tell them you’ve just eaten, you’re not hungry, you just don’t fancy it or that you’ve already eaten/drunk too much this Christmas – whatever you need to do. When you get on the scales in January, it will be you, not them, you will have to face up to.
10. Write your own list of goals and rules for the month ahead – things like: I will only drink on the following occasions – X, Y and Z, I will not aim to eat all the Christmas cake by New Year’s eve, I will not beat myself up about having more than 2,000 calories / 15 sins whatever, as long as I have fewer on other days, I will try and keep any weight gain to less than X lbs and I will do at least 3 30 min exercise sessions before New Year
So, everything in moderation – pig out some days, but then restrain yourself on others. But most of all, enjoy the break, find non-foodie treats and get at least a bit of exercise.