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How to keep off the pounds at Christmas

image courtesy Fitness Body Pro

image courtesy Fitness Body Pro

We all love to indulge ourselves over the festive period, after all, it’s what Christmas is all about. But all those extra nibbles and drinks add up, and before you know it, you’ve put on a load of weight.

It’s no wonder when you consider that the average UK resident is likely to consume a whopping 3000 extra calories over Christmas, that’s the equivalent to 4 more pounds in weight. And this extra weight is tough to shift, with evidence suggesting it can take up to four months to remove, if at all!

So how do you keep an eye on what you’re eating without spoiling the fun of the festivities? Well it doesn’t take much to managing your food intake, whether it means turning down that extra mince pie, or foregoing the mulled wine on arrival at a party.

We’ve put together some easy tips and guidelines so all you have to do is enjoy the party season.

1 – Don’t arrive at a party hungry

There’s evidence to show that if you turn up to an event hungry you are more likely to over-indulge in party food. You might think a few nibbles here and there are a replacement for a meal, but typically these types of food are high in proteins, fats and sugars.

So line your stomach before you head off. Have a bowl of nourishing soup or a thick smoothie or a nutritional snack like beans on wholemeal bread before you go. And always make sure you eat breakfast. Never skip a meal in anticipation of eating party food later.

2 – Watch the party buffet food

Talking of party food, if you are concerned about putting on weight over Christmas then you have to think seriously about what you are taking from the buffet. Party food is mostly calorie high food such as sausage rolls, quiche slices, pastries, pizza slices, cocktail sausages etc.

You might think there’s no harm in a couple of sausage but each cocktail sausage amounts for around 60 calories!

Steer clear from the fatty options and head instead for low calories items such as crudities with non-creamy dips, rolls with lean meat fillings like turkey and chicken, leafy green salads and sushi.

It’s prudent to also remember that when you are standing about chatting to old friends you can lose track of what you are eating so fill up one plate and don’t go back for more.

3 – Alcohol has calories too!

It’s difficult to remember sometimes that alcohol also contains calories, and quite a lot of them. Perhaps it is because it is liquid, but when you think about it, one large glass of wine is the equivalent of a bar of chocolate. No wonder we put on weight when we drink.

In order to curb your alcohol intake, always ask for smaller glasses instead of the huge ones pubs and bars offer these days. And for every glass of wine you drink, have a glass of water as well.

Here is an approximate guide to calorie content in alcohol:

  • One average glass of white wine – 150 calories
  • One average glass of red wine – 160 calories
  • One pint of beer – 180 calories
  • One can of lager – 220 calories
  • One pint of strong cider – 240 calories
  • One single spirit – 55 calories
  • Bottle alcopop – 200 calories
  • Small Cream liqueur – 175 calories

4 – Don’t stop your normal exercise routine

Just because it’s Christmas doesn’t mean all normal activity should cease. Carry on with your typical exercise routine, if this means going to the gym or running every day, try and maintain a normal schedule.

You might feel that you are rushing around present and food buying and this is contributing to your weight loss, it will do but doing proper exercise also releases stress relieving endorphins.

This is good for this time of year when some people might also be suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a condition in which sufferers are depressed from a lack of sunlight.

Finally, as with all things in life, moderation is key. So enjoy yourself but no bingeing with food or drink and you won’t go far wrong.

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