You Can Have Your Cake and Eat it Too This Christmas

Santa Claus

While the holiday season is full of delectable temptations, there is no need to be a Grinch over the festive period. In fact, according to research published in The New England Journal of Medicine, people tend to gain less weight during the holiday season than previously thought – on average 0.48kg, while less than 10% gain more than 2kg. Nevertheless, there are some sure-fire ways to keep your weight stable this festive season.

Eat intuitively

Maintaining your weight does not mean you need to deprive yourself of your favourite foods. Choose the foods you want to eat and be comfortable that you’re nourishing your body as you see fit. Listening to your body’s hunger and fullness cues will allow you to dictate how much you need to consume. The aim here is to eat enough until you feel satisfied, not overly full.

Get active

Dust off the sneakers, golf clubs, bathers or gym gear – whatever takes your fancy. Doing any amount of physical activity is better than nothing. Exercise not only helps with weight control but also leads to enhanced insulin sensitivity, better sleep, improved mental health outcomes and increased life expectancy.

Be a Teetotaler  – well almost

At 29kj/g, alcohol is second only to fat in the kilojoule per gram stakes. It certainly packs an energy punch. For example, one glass of wine contains 450kj; a stubby of beer has 560kj while a gin and tonic has up to 600kj – that’s more than two pieces of bread. If you’re going to have a tipple, keep it to a minimum and include non-alcoholic drink spacers such as mineral water in between. And be wary of soft drink and juice mixers, which can add up to another 300kj per glass; mixing your alcoholic drink with a diet soft drink or soda water is a simple way to reduce its energy content. In summary, you don’t have to abstain, but do be mindful of those extra liquid kilojoules.       

Should’ve, could’ve, would’ve

If you indulge a little more than you would have liked at a social event or on Christmas Day don’t beat yourself up over it. Jimmy Cliff summed it up perfectly when he sang, “Goodbye yesterday, welcome today”. There are NO hangover cures; big greasy feeds will not make that headache disappear. Eat wholesome foods and drink plenty of water to restore some balance. Consider doing some physical activity too.

Enjoy yourself this summer. Be mindful, get active and nourish your body as you see fit. Wishing you all a happy and healthy 2016.

A perspective study on holiday weight gain. The New England Journal of Medicine (2000) Accessed online:

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