Surviving Christmas…

Some research indicates that, on average, people gain 2 kg in the four-week Christmas period. That is equivalent to an intake of an extra 600 calories per day in food terms; a few drinks and canapés at a party, or of course the take-away on the way home after a night out, or a fried breakfast the morning after seasonal excesses! One way to curb this gain is to to increase your level of exercise per day, but the easier option is to try to be sensible on our nights out and resist too much nibbling! What many of us don’t realise is that it is very easy to consume the equivalent of a full meal by nibbling on canapés at a party.

To avoid piling on the pounds over the festive season, try the following few simple guidelines;

• Have a carbohydrate rich breakfast to kick start the day remember how you start the day will influence
how you finish. Skipping breakfast results in over compensating for calories later in the evening.

• Have a balanced lunch, including something from each of the food groups. Don´t starve yourself at
lunchtime because you know you will be eating out later, doing that will result in you making poor food
choices at your evening meal.

• Basing your meals around low GI (Glycaemic Index) carbohydrates e.g. wholegrain foods, oats,
unsweetened mueslis, pasta and brown rice.

• Try to get a good nights sleep. A lack of sleep can lead to fake cravings for food or a sense of false
hunger.

• Don´t go to a party hungry: we often eat faster and more when we are hungry – therefore eat a
wholesome breakfast and lunch on the day, to avoid overeating at the party. If you´re going to a party
straight after work, have a small snack like nuts, a bowl of muesli or a yogurt with some seeds added,
before you go, so you don´t arrive hungry.

• Studies show that the greater the choice of food on offer, the more calories we tend to consume. So
rather than trying a little of everything, stick to a couple of smart choices.

• Just say ‘No’ to food e.g. ‘it looks delicious but I´m full’, ‘I already tried it and thought it was amazing’
or ‘I ate before I came but thank you’.

• Avoid standing right beside the food table or bar while you´re talking. Easy access to food or beverages
will be more of a temptation during any lulls in the conversation.

• Make healthier choices; choose to eat the healthier food available. Fruits, vegetables, salsa, yogurt-
based dips, hummus and pita bread. Also always keep portion control in mind.

• Quit while you´re ahead! Avoid the mentality of “I´ve already blown it so what difference does it make
now”. When you´re full, get rid of your plate and napkin and grab a glass of water. Most goodies are full
of sugar and salt and you´ll want to stay well hydrated.

• Above all, keep active. Anyone can survive the party season if they keep active and get fresh air.
Don´t let the weather get you down, wrap up and get out for a brisk walk.