Did you know that the average weight gained during the holidays is 0.37 kg for a lean person, and greater than 2.3 kg for an overweight individual? While this may not seem like a lot, people rarely lose this weight the following year, so in just 5 years a person could gain 2 to 12 kg just by overindulging at the holidays!
While making healthy choices during the festive season can be challenging, arm yourself with these tips to feel healthy and keep holiday weight gain at bay:
Start With Your Mindset
1. Make a goal to work toward. Whether you want to lose or maintain your weight, or just feel healthy and vital throughout the holidays, keeping your eyes on the prize will inspire healthy choices. Need help with your goal? Keep your eyes peeled for a blog on creating specific and achievable health goals coming next week!
2. Take the focus off the food. The holidays are ultimately about spending quality time with family and friends. Make people your focus by starting up conversations at holiday events, helping the host, and even approaching lonely-looking guests for a chat.
Prepare For Events
3. Go in with a plan. Decide how much you’re going to eat ahead of time (for example, one plate of food and one dessert). Stick to the plan.
4. Bring a healthy plate. Contributing something wholesome to the spread will give you and other guests a healthy choice.
5. Don’t fast. Don’t try to ‘save’ your calories for the event by not eating during the day; being hungry may trigger overeating. Instead, eating a healthy snack just before the event may help you moderate your intake.
Be Smart at Parties
6. Keep it in proportion. Fill half your plate with vegetables, a quarter with grains, bread or potatoes, and a quarter with meat or other protein sources (e.g. beans, nuts). This will give you a balanced meal that is likely to be lower in calories.
7. Step away from the buffet. Standing at the buffet table may inspire overeating. Instead, serve yourself and walk away.
8. Slow down. Taking the time to chew each mouthful properly will allow you to both savour and properly digest your food. Doing this helps prevent both overeating and indigestion. Try putting your fork down between each bite to with assist this. Keep in mind, it can take as long as 20 minutes for the body to register that you’re full, so take a break before you go in for seconds.
9. Choose deliciously. Choose only the dessert(s) that really appeal to you; leave everything you’re not crazy about.
Avoid Binge Drinking
10. Keep it under four. According to the NHMRC Australian Alcohol Guidelines, drinking more than four standard drinks per night is classified as binge drinking; that equals two restaurant servings of wine, or two and a half full-strength cans of beer. Avoiding binge drinking helps prevent hangovers, nausea and vomiting, as well overeating calorie dense junk foods (that seem like a great idea in the moment, or feel necessary the morning after).
11. Alternate with water. A glass of water between each drink helps keep you hydrated, reducing the risk of a hangover. This also slows your alcohol intake, giving your liver more time to process it.
12. Eat before you start. A starchy meal slows the absorption of alcohol, helping your liver cope.
13. Exercise in the morning. Get a session in before things like Christmas shopping and events take over your day!
14. Schedule it in. Booking in your workouts as unbreakable dates will help you stick to them. Add them into your calendar and set reminders for yourself.
15. Have an active Christmas. Incorporate some exercise into your family Christmas ‘do’, whether that’s backyard cricket, footy, or a family walk.
By using the tips above you can look forward to a festive season feeling healthy and vital, and most importantly, preventing dreaded weight gain! For tailored assistance with weight loss or maintenance over this festive season, click here to talk to a Practitioner today.
 Roberts SB. Holiday weight gain: fact or fiction?. Nutr Rev. 2000 Dec 1;58(12):378-9.
 Roberts SB. Holiday weight gain: fact or fiction?. Nutr Rev. 2000 Dec 1;58(12):378-9
 National Health and Medical Research Council. Australian guidelines to reduce health risks from drinking alcohol. Working to build a healthy Australia. 2009.