The challenge of the Christmas holiday, when entertaining and treats are plentiful, weight gain looks inevitable — but this year try to maintain your weight, not gain weight. This may be a more realistic and achievable daily mantra during the holidays – maintain, not gain!
‘Tis the season to be jolly with partying, with the stuffing of the turkey, bourgeoning buffet tables, clinking of glasses – the chances are you will be attending multiple occasions to overindulge and exceed your weight goals. Being mindful of your eating and drinking habits and your overall activity levels, we can navigate towards the holidays without the fear of stepping on your weight scales in the New Year.
So with this mantra pinned to your fridge, bedroom wall, kitchen cupboards, your desk at work, here are our 12 top tips to stop you gaining weight this Christmas.
1. Last in line with one plate Buffets are an easy way to overeat so instead of being first in line with a large plate piled high, resist and join the end of the queue and take a smaller plate and don’t return for seconds.
2. Be really active Walk 10,000 steps daily, which equates to about 60-70 minutes walking at medium pace and keep a record of this. You may not have the time to do this amount of walking in one session, but you can space it out during the course of your day by parking further from your work or getting off the bus/train a few stops earlier and walking the remaining distance. Taking the stairs and not the lift, or walking to the shops for those last minute groceries, rather than driving. Learn to record your activity on an Activ8rlives BuddyBand2 Bluetooth waterproof activity monitor and soon you will invent your own ways of achieving 10,000 steps.
3. Don’t party on an empty stomach Rather than “saving up” to eat with abandon at the party go along with some food in your tummy. Enjoy a small snack of nuts, cheese, yoghurt, fruit or wholegrain crackers before the party; this will satisfy your hunger.
4. Calorie counting is old hat Try a new way of tracking your food intake with the brand new and free Activ8rlives4 Wellness and Food Diary App. This App bases its success on the images taken of food and drinks we consume and a simple scoring system of Good Choice (green) or Bad Choice (red). If you’re a die hard calorie counter, then you can describe your foods composition and name the meal for future use. But our tip this festive season is to try to keep the red or Bad choices to a minimum each day but also balancing them across the week and avoiding the binging and starving that can occur. You will also be able to follow your activity and many more health parameters via their free service.
5. Learn healthy habits Sign up to receive health news from NHS Choices and by reading about healthier lifestyle choices you will be encouraged to be more mindful of what you are eating and improve your lifestyle habits.
6. Weigh yourself daily Doing this at the same time every day and after you have used the toilet, ideally in the morning. This will keep you informed as to your weight fluctuations and it will encourage you to think before something goes into your mouth because you are more informed about your own weight that day. It can really help moderate your food choices all day long and with a Bluetooth pair of smart scales the job of weighing daily is easy with the Activ8rlives Body Analyser.
7. Don’t skip breakfast Ensure you start the day well with a wholesome and nutritious breakfast and include some protein as your metabolism needs the fuel early in the day to kick start it and by skipping breakfast you simply make up the calories you have missed later in the day but without the benefit of a higher metabolic rate and time to burn off excess calories.
8. Use the serviette test Foods high in saturated and trans fat are best to avoid if you want to maintain, not gain. A simple test, if the food leaves an oily mark on your serviette leave it on your plate. Try semi or skimmed milk, rather than full fat, stock up on low fat yoghurts or snacks but be careful for hidden sugar in low fat products.
9. Beauty sleep never overrated Getting enough sleep also helps us maintain our weight, as we tend to consume more calories when we are tired, and typically we snack and pick more often in the evenings. As a result these extra calories do not have a chance to be burnt off and are stored as fat. The new Activ8rlives BuddyBand2 activity tracker also now records sleep quality and duration.
10. Rethink your drink Alcohol contains a surprising number of calories, especially if you are drinking spirits and mixers. Swap the mixer for a low calorie version. Keep your alcohol consumption to within the safe limits and alternate an alcoholic drink for a low calorie soft drink or water, thereby halving your alcohol consumption.
11. Together make it fun Family, friends, conversation and good times are what holiday celebrations are all about. Take the focus off food by encouraging your family, friends and colleagues along for a walk in the bracing winter sunshine but stop off along the way for a warming coffee or hot chocolate. Or dance the night away but by involving others around you in activity this will help your own motivation to be active and you will all get a boost to your mood and endorphins, and will sleep better after exercise.
12. Stop the “picking” Who can resist the leftovers and the delicious nibbles at parties? Your will power may not allow you to resist but after you have had a sufficient and appropriate amount to eat chew on some gum, suck a mint or clean your teeth with a minty toothpaste. It helps you to stop eating on autopilot. So this holiday season remember to not go crazy but to also allow yourself a little of what you fancy. The goal is not to put on any extra weight but to maintain your current weight. Your New Year resolutions may be different but we would all do well to just maintain, not gain and give our health and wellness a break from excess.