Posted by Perryn Carroll on 07 December 2016
Many people find it difficult to stay healthy over the silly season, with an array of temptations to throw you off track… Christmas treats, chocolate in abundance, large amounts of alcohol and more.
Ignorance can be bliss, but knowledge is power!
To finish off December without your health going downhill, here are the key temptations you need to watch:
Food and generosity go hand-in-hand
Food items can be a great Christmas gift, but keep an eye on how much you are 'picking at' over the day. As a treat, 1-2 fruit mince pies or 1-2 gingerbread men are fine – have more, and you risk weight gain.
It’s easier to pick at treats the closer you are to the food source. No one can resist constant temptation! If possible, try to sit away from the goodies or keep them out of sight.
Excess is everywhere
At functions where canapés are being served, be conscious of the amount you are eating.
If a plate is available, fill one (or two smaller plates) with your food options. This will give you a visual signal that you’ve had enough. In addition to this, keep an eye out for the vegetarian choices.
A beverage or two...it all adds up
Drinks contribute to your calorie intake, and with its appetite-stimulating effects it can make managing weight difficult.
Aim for 1-2 alcoholic drinks at an event, and keep two days of the week ‘alcohol free’. Consider every extra alcoholic drink you consume as calories you need to burn off through exercise.
No need to order extra
Portions can be tricky when eating out.
A good rule of thumb is to stick to two courses. Pick meals which contain some vegetables, and those you can visibly see on the plate. If vegetables are limited in your chosen dish, consider ordering a side-salad. Basically you should aim to eat a third of your meal as vegetables or salad.
It’s not all ruined during the silly season
Weight gain doesn't occur from one or two days of slip-ups. Don't be disheartened if you lapse! The silly season often presents as a health challenge, so recognise your temptations and learn for next time.
Realistically, you gain weight when you give up. And saying phrases like “the diet starts next year” should be avoided. It's not perfection, it’s progress.
Enjoy the holiday period and remember – if you do better than the last silly season, you have been successful!
Perryn Carroll is a weight-loss dietician who actively contributes and comments on obesity management issues. A self-confessed diet geek, Perryn writes for her website, Diet Duchess. She also regularly guest blogs and is a media spokesperson for the British Dietetic Association.