I hope you’re all set for a fun and happy festive period with your loved ones - Christmas really is a special time of year.
Getting time off work to spend with your family, and enjoying good food, alcohol, old movies, and the opening of presents are the things that make Christmas fun!
But they are also the things that can lead you to wake up on January 1st looking like Santa Claus himself!
If you’re trying to lose weight, or want to limit how much weight you gain over the coming weeks here's a few tips to help you.
I want you to enjoy Christmas and achieve your weight maintenance goals at the same time, which is totally possible if you follow the 5 simple tips I’m about to share with you!
You can use as many or as few of these tips as you like. The more tips you implement the better your weight loss/maintenance results will be.
My advice is to do what you want to get the balance between enjoyment and results you’re looking for.
I hope you enjoy my top 5 tips to limit fat gain over the festive period!
TIP #1: CREATE A HIGH CALORIE SANDWICH
You’re guaranteed to be surrounded by good food, alcohol, nuts and countless boxes of chocolates this Christmas!
And unless you plan on living like Ebineezer Scrooge you’re going to eat more than usual.
So rather than fight against the impossible by trying to resist these delicious temptations I suggest an alternative approach that can actually work.
Simply make room for the additional calories you’ll consume at Christmas to slide into.
By eating fewer calories than usual in the days leading into Christmas, as well as a few days afterwards, you can eat more in the middle, i.e. on Christmas Eve, Christmas day, and boxing day, without gaining a single Ib of body fat!
Think of your calorie allowance as a budget - you can only consume so many calories per day before you start gaining weight.
You’re going to gain some weight over the main Christmas period by eating more energy than you expend, accept that and simply balance it out by eating less in the build up and aftermath.
This is what I call the High Calorie Sandwich!
- Eat less than usual leading up to Christmas
- Overeat a little at Christmas
- Eat less than usual after Christmas
Heres an example of how this can work:
Step 1: During the 7 days leading into Christmas eat around 500 calories less than you need to maintain your body weight.
If you count your calories with an app such as myfitnesspal you can physically track this.
If you don’t count calories just use an alternative tactic such as - skipping a meal, or replacing 1 meal per day with a whey protein shake or a tin of lentil soup - both of which contain very few calories.
You can also try upping your level of activity on the days before and after Christmas to help torch some extra calories.
You don’t have to go nuts, simply walking more can be effective.
Step 2: Kick up your heels, enjoy eating and drinkning a bit more than usual and relax on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and Boxing Day.
Step 3: Reduce your calorie intake by repeating step 1 for a week or so after Christmas.
TIP #2: LOW-CALORIE SWAPS
My second tip is basically a damage limitation tactic.
The idea of low calorie swaps is that you still enjoy the tasty treats your desire, such as booze, soft drinks, or something sweet at Christmas, without consuming an obscene number of calories.
All you need to do is choose some low calorie swaps from the list below and put them into action - your waistline will thank you for it!
If you put a hanful of these simple food swaps into practice this Christmas you'll save yourself a LOT of calories without having to be a party pooper and say no to delicous food and drinks.
TIP #3: FIDDLE WITH YOUR FOOD ENVIRONMENT
It's not just the types of foods you buy at Christmas that you need to consider.
Where you place these foods can be just as important.
Putting an open box of chocolates on your living room table is going to end in you eating a lot of those chocolates simply because they are within sigh and within easy access!
So be strategic about where you place your foods.
- Keep boxes of chocolates out of sight in your cupboards
- Portion out chocolates into ziplock bags
- Buy unshelled nuts
- Keep bottles of alcohol in the kitchen
- Drink from small glasses
- Remove cookies, sweets and treats from the kitchen counter top
- Place treats in highly visible and easy to reach locations such as your living room table
- Eat freely from the chocolate box!
- Buy ready to eat nuts (nuts contain 180 calories per handful)
- Keep drinks beside the sofa within easy reach
- Use large glasses
- Leave high calorie sweet treats in easy to access spots
TIP #4: BE A BUFFET BOSS!
I do love a good Christmas buffet!
As delicious and satisfying as buffets are, they're not a great food environment for weight loss.
Increased food variety hikes up your hunger level and calorie intake whilst delaying feelings of fullness.
We all tend to pile up our plate when eating at a buffet.
Don't worry - we're all guilty of it!
But you don’t have to ban yourself from the Christmas buffets! You just need to play it smart when you eat at them.
Heres 4 quick tips to help you do this:
Buffet Tip #1: Drink 1-2 tall glasses of water around 15-20 minutes before your meal to make you feel fuller and reduce how much you eat.
Buffet Tip #2: Walk the entire buffet line BEFORE putting anything on your plate. This simple practice helps prevent you from placing every tasty looking food item onto your plate and hence save you a LOT of calories.
Buffet Tip #3: Start your meal with a good serving of protein and a simple side salad. Protein is great at filling you up and killing hunger whilst the fibre content of the salad also aids in satiety whilst providing minimal calories.
Buffet Tip #4: If you're going to treat yourself to something sweet, steer towards smaller portions of your favorite indulgence or opt for something equally tasty yet lighter in calories such as a fruit sorbet, fruit salad or some jelly.
TIP #5: BE ACTIVE
If you’re a regular gym goer, you don’t have to keep up your regular gym routine or exercise classes over the Christmas period if you don’t want to.
In fact, you could find it difficult to stick to your normal routine due to the holiday working hours.
But this doesn’t mean you cant burn off some of the incoming calories.
Simple daily activities like walking around, doing house chores, and playing games with kids can burn LOTS of calories.
Way more than you think.
Here are some ideas to make your Christmas more active:
- Walk more by setting yourself a daily step target, e.g. 10,000 steps per day. You can use the pedometer app in your phone or a Fitbit to track this. If you don’t want to track your steps, schedule 2-3 movement breaks into your day such as a morning stroll followed by another walk after lunch and dinner.
- Burn calories by being a great host. Get up and move by serving others drinks, fetching them food, taking away their empty plates and playing with the children in your house. Your guests will love you for this and you’ll burn off some of that delicious Christmas pudding in the process!
- House work. It might be boring but just because its Christmas doesn't mean your home wont need cleaning and tidying. When the time comes, get down and dirty with house work. All that hovering, plate washing and bin emptying burns calories!
- Most people watch loads of TV at Christmas, which means their calorie expenditure screeches to a halt. Prevent this by getting up and moving around during TV breaks.
- Stand up and pace around when great aunt Elsie calls you instead of sitting down.
TAKE HOME MESSAGE
Christmas is a special time of year you should enjoy.
If you want to stay in shape over the festive season you can - you just need to implement some of the simple tips from above!
If you struggle to do any of the above, or choose to do none, gain loads of weight and want to burn it off in the new year - get in touch and I can help you achieve the lighter, leaner body you’re after.
Click HERE to get your hands on a custom made nutrition plan that can allow you to lose weight at a speed you feel happy with, without giving up you favorite foods, exercising like an Olympian or turning your entire life upside down!