Christmas is traditionally a time of indulgence. The average person puts on 2lb (just over 1 kg) over the Christmas period that they never lose afterwards. Some people will put on a whopping 5lb! It’s well known that people often exceed 6000kcal on Christmas Day (about 3 times the female daily requirement). Then there’s all the calorie excess either side of the big day too! A single mince pie contains 250kcal (that’s without the addition of cream or brandy butter), and a single Celebration / Heroes / Quality Street-type chocolate contains around 50kcal, so it’s easy to see how the calories stack up.

So, with only a week left until the big day, I thought I’d give you my top 10 tips for keeping the weight off this Christmas:

  1. Watch those snacks – it’s all those extras that matter – the mince pies, nuts, sweets and chocolates. Try to stick to regular mealtimes, and limit your snacks on Christmas Day and surrounding days
  2. Watch your intake of sugary drinks – avoiding the classic Shloer, sparkling sugary drinks and regular fizzy drinks. Even fruit juice contains plenty of sugar and calories. Instead choose no-added-sugar sparkling drinks, some diluted pure fruit juice, or diet fizzy drinks
  3. Use a smaller plate and eat slowly – instead of piling on the food, using a smaller plate and eating slower than usual, will enable your body to take in less food and recognise the feeling of fullness sooner
  4. Watch the fat – instead of smothering your festive meat in fat and your potatoes in goose fat, brush with olive oil instead. This will reduce the calories and the fat you do consume will be much better for your heart
  5. Have your fill of fresh fruit & veg – fill half you plate with vegetables to reduce your overall calorie intake. Treat yourself to some ‘different’ fruits as a festive treat – there’s a great selection of fresh berries around at this time of year
  6. The Boxing Day Walk: On Christmas Day, Boxing Day and other festive days involving family and eating, take yourself out for a brisk, crisp family walk. Not only will this enable you to burn off some of those calories, but you will also savour that crisp winter Christmas feeling
  7. Move more! At Christmas, we have a tendency to sit down, relax, have a sleep after Christmas lunch (in between all the nibbling!) and generally give those extra calories lots of opportunities to get turned into fat tissue! Whether it’s going for a walk, doing the washing up, or running up and down the stairs, a change of scenery and flurry of activity is bound to get you re-energized, and stop that fat from taking hold!
  8. Get your beauty sleep – getting a good night’s sleep is really important in keeping your hormone levels in check, and helping to maintain your weight. If the excitement is too much to bear, and you’re having trouble sleeping, try having a bath and warm drink before bed
  9. Don’t deny yourself the occasional treat
  10. Watch your alcohol – we all like to have a few at Christmas. In fact, this Christmas is the first of several when I’ve not been pregnant or breastfeeding, so I will certainly be enjoying some alcohol. The key is moderation and type. Here are calorie contains of some common drinks:
  • A single measure of spirit with a low calorie mixer (e.g. vodka and Sprite Zero, or gin and slimline tonic) contains around 60kcal
  • Small glass (50ml sherry glass) or sweet sherry contains 70kcal
  • A small 125mlg glass of wine contains upwards of 125kcal (sweeter wines = more calories)
  • A small (35ml) serving Baileys Irish Cream contains 130kcal
  • A pint (600ml) of beer / lager / cider contains around 200kcal

Wishing all my readers a very happy Christmas, and success in keeping the weight off this Christmas!

christmas chocolate stirrers

The post How to dodge the Christmas weight gain appeared first on Expert Dietitian.


Annemarie Aburrow

Annemarie graduated from the University of Southampton in 2003 with a first class honours in Physiology with Nutrition. She went on to study a Postgraduate Diploma in Dietetics at Cardiff Metropolitan University, leading to registration as a Dietitian. Between 2005 and 2013, Annemarie worked for the NHS in a wide variety of clinical and community roles. More recently, she has specialised in health promotion and prescribing support. She has particular experience in obesity management (both adults and children), diabetes, nutrition for the under 5s and nutritional supplement prescribing. In 2013, Annemarie left the NHS to set up her private practice 'Expert Dietitian'. She now works as a freelance Dietitian, offering private consultations in Hampshire, telephone and Skype appointments, corporate nutrition consultancy and bespoke training. She has a growing portfolio of project work, including working with her local council to provide nutrition training and expertise to Early Years settings, article writing, work with schools and running training/workshops. Annemarie is a member of the British Dietetic Association (BDA) and is registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).

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