Guide to Maintaining Your Weight Over Christmas

Posted by Sarah Cox on Wednesday, April 30, 2014 Under: nutrition

Christmas is the main time when we get together with friends and family and there is a lot of food and drink around.  It is a fun and very sociable time so it can be easy to put on weight over Christmas, especially as we consume more calories than we normally do and a lot more than we need as well as generally being less active as we stay indoors.  The average person consumes around 7,000 calories on Christmas Day and according to the British Dietetic Association, puts on 2kg (5 lbs) over Christmas.  

You need to eat 3,500 calories more than you need to gain one pound of body fat.  It is easy to consume this on Christmas Day with Christmas dinner, pudding, mince pies, chocolates and alcohol. However, even if you overeat on Christmas Day and Boxing Day and put on 1 or 2 pounds, it won't be a big deal as long as you revert to eating healthily and doing exercise afterwards.  The problem comes when people continue to overeat after Christmas, particularly between Christmas and New year, so continue to consume too many calories daily as this will lead to weight gain over time. 
Christmas is a time to enjoy ourselves and not feel guilty about overeating.  It is definitely not a time to be dieting! No-one can eat perfectly all the time.  Therefore, the key thing is to manage your weight over the Christmas period by keeping the indulgences to one or two days and not letting it go on and on. Some people may think 'Oh well, I've blown my diet now so I might as well carry on eating like this', or 'It's only a week until New Year so I might as well carry on eating like this and then go on a diet in January'. It's relatively easy to lose a pound or two that have been gained over a couple of days; it is not so easy to lose 5-10 pounds, which have been gained over a week or more. The best advice I can give you is not to beat yourself up or feel guilty or bad about what you've eaten over Christmas, just acknowledge it and then get straight back on track by eating healthily and watching your portion sizes again from December 27th onwards.  

If you eat healthily for the rest of the year, eating a few extra chocolates or drinking a few extra glasses of wine at Christmas isn't going to make that big a difference, but if you continue to do this for an extended period it will!  It is as simple as this - what you eat most of the time, will determine whether you're overweight or not... 
The key things to do from now on are:
  • Resume eating healthily
  • Watch your portion sizes
  • Only eat as much as you need and avoid overfilling yourself 
  • Limit snacks, treats and alcohol
  • Drink more water
  • Get active - go out for a walk in the morning, go to the gym or go for a bike ride
  • Avoid being tempted to go on the latest fad crash diet in January.  It won't keep the weight off in the long term and will make it harder to lose again when it creeps back on
  • Enjoy yourself over New Year whilst staying mindful of what you are eating and drinking 

In : nutrition 

Tags: 'eating over christmas'  'putting on weight over christmas'  'how to stop putting on weight over christmas' 

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Sarah Cox
Balham, London
Sarah Cox

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