Avoid The Pain of Winter Weight Gain
Posted on November 21, 2012
The season to be jolly is fast approaching and we all love a little festive indulgence over the Christmas period. It can be difficult to avoid excess eating when being assailed by mince pies, alcohol and party nibbles from all sides, but amidst the merriment do you ever stop to worry whether your waistline can emerge from winter unscathed? It’s an oft-cited statistic that the average Brit will put on up to half a stone during the festive season, which is easy to believe if we consider a study by the British Dietetic Association which found that we tend to consume 6000 calories on Christmas day alone, as well as an extra 500 calories for each day of the holiday.
We only need to take in 3500 unnecessary calories to gain 1lb of body fat, so it’s hardly surprising that most winter weight-gainers are still struggling to shift the pounds in Spring, a whole quarter of a year after the main event. All of a sudden those multiple mince pies, at 450 calories a pop, seem a little less justifiable. Not to mention the average Christmas dinner; typically it clocks in at 2300 calories (more than the recommended daily intake for women) leaves only a paltry 200 leftover calories for men for the rest of the day.
Avoid certain dietary disaster with this seasonal strategy for keeping those Christmas calories under control:
- Don’t skip your usual healthy, balanced meals because you know there is going to be a free buffet at the office Christmas party. There’s no need to put yourself in the tempting situation of feeling ravenously hungry whilst simultaneously being surrounded by high fat and high sugar snacks. You should eat small meals beforehand to maintain your blood sugar levels and prevent bingeing. Fill up using a small, dessert-sized plate and then refrain from lingering too long near the buffet table.
- If you indulge in a tipple too many on seasonal social occasions, intersperse your alcoholic drinks with glasses of water, and dance off that bellyful of booze.
- Order your Christmas groceries online so you’re not seduced by supermarket special offers.
- While everyone else is cramming in carbs and filling up on fats, remember who your true food allies are. One third of any main course should consist of vegetables, so pile your Christmas dinner plate high with unbuttered carrots, cabbage and cauliflowers. That way you won’t be tempted to survive solely on roast potatoes, Yorkshire puddings and stuffing. And you’ll only manage a smaller serving of that calorific Christmas pudding afterwards.
- If you have time off work over the Christmas period, try not to fritter away all of your spare time sitting in front of festive television treats. Get out and about by hitting the sales early. Even if you don’t intend to buy much, a moderately energetic shopping trip, replete with trying on clothes, can burn 180 calories per hour. Join in any boisterous activities with children at family gatherings – perhaps suggest a group fitness session the morning before a big midday meal.
- If you normally exercise in the evenings, move your workout to an earlier time in the day, before you’ve eaten stodgy foodstuffs such as mashed potatoes or stuffing. This way your massive meal can actually help you to build muscle while you eat.
- Stick to the mantra of ‘out of sight, out of mind’. If you’ve stocked up on nibbles and chocolates for when you’ve got company coming round, hide them in the back of a kitchen cupboard until you need them, so you’re not lured into grazing all day long.
- Finally, if all else fails, make it your New Year’s Resolution to put in more hours at the gym!