With the seasonal celebrations approaching, our wallets emptying and our stomachs filling, it’s worth adopting some strategies to mitigate the expansion of the festive girth. If you want to save money on a January gym membership that you never use, or dispense with the New Year resolution that you struggle to keep, then read on:
- Start the day with a good breakfast – If you eat a good breakfast based around a quality source of protein such as eggs on wholegrain toast, then it is less likely that you will snack on junk food later in the day.
- Healthy snacks – Put out a fruit bowl, along with a bowl of nuts. If you are going to graze throughout the day, then reach for the fruit and a handful of nuts instead of the tin of chocolates.
- Drink plenty of water – Hunger can often be mistaken for boredom or thirst. Avoid high sugar fizzy drinks and pour yourself a glass of H20; add lemon or lime for flavour.
- Cut back on the booze – Alcohol makes you store calories as fat, stops you burning fat as fuel and makes you eat junk, therefore it has a threefold impact on your waistline. Offer to drive if you are going out for the evening and stick to alcohol free beers and wines or low sugar soft drinks. If you are drinking alcohol, then alternate alcoholic drinks with alcohol free / soft drinks throughout the night to reduce your total alcohol consumption. It will also help to reduce your hangover as you are more likely to be more hydrated when you go to bed.
- Eat before you go out – If you are going out to a party and there is a buffet laid on, then eat a healthy home cooked meal before you go out. If you arrive at the party well fed, then you are less likely to graze on the deep fried nibbles when you get there. If the temptation is too great as the evening wears on, then grab a small plate and go for the freshly prepared buffet options such as smoked salmon, prawns, chicken kebabs, salsa, guacamole, sushi, vegetables & dips, fruit, nuts.
- Eat slowly – It can take the brain around 20 minutes to realise that your stomach is full. So give your brain a chance to catch up with your stomach and slow down and chew each mouthful.
- Be socially active – Get off the sofa, wrap up well and head out to the park for a walk each day and take family, friends and some ball games with you.
- Don’t skip meals – If you go for long periods without food, your blood sugar will drop and you will start to crave high sugar snacks to satisfy your cravings.
- Get some sleep – If you don’t get enough sleep then your leptin (known as the obesity hormone) levels drop. This hormone is one of the main triggers of hunger, so if you don’t get enough sleep, you will end up eating more.
- Do something different each day – Don’t schedule the festive period around eating and drinking. There are literally hundreds of local events and activities taking place in December. Whether it’s Ice skating at an outside ice skating rink or cycling in local parks, there are loads of things to do with family and friends. Check out local websites for more ideas.
- Don’t crash diet – In the run up to Christmas, don’t start significantly cutting back on food to get yourself ready for the party season. Crash dieting will only make you eat more when the party season starts and you are more likely end the party season heavier than when you started.
- Knock the guilt on the head – Stay clear of the weighing scales for the festive period as they will only make you feel bad about yourself. Don’t set yourself unrealistic goals that you are unlikely to stick to and if you do over indulge, then don’t beat yourself up over it. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start again the next day. The key is to build a healthy relationship with food, alcohol and exercise which can be incorporated into everyday life.