Christmas Weight Loss Tips
or the "silly season" as it is affectionately called, is a
particularly perilous time for those of us who want to lose
In this article we provide our top ten weight loss tips for the holiday season so that many of us can maintain our weight loss momentum, maintain our weight in an acceptable zone for the holiday period, or at least minimize the 'weight gain damage' so that come January 1, we'll have a few less kilos of weight loss attached to our New Year's resolution.
Tip 1. Keeping our alcohol consumption in check.
Alcohol is high in kilojoules/calories. In fact 1g of alcohol contains around 28 kilojoules or 7 calories. In addition, all of these calories are known as "empty" calories because they provide no real nutritional value to our body.
One of the reasons many of us put on weight during the Christmas season is because our alcohol consumption 'goes through the roof' during this time.
Drinking at office parties, get-togethers with friends, Christmas Eve, Christmas dinner and of course the big one, New Years Eve are all part of the festive season and at most, if not at all of these occasions, alcohol consumption is part of the social mix.
But we don't have to be a party-pooper if we're watching our weight. We just need a strategy to cope with the situations we know we'll find ourselves in.
For example we can try:
- Alternating alcoholic drinks with low calorie non-alcoholic drinks or water.
- Using or asking for low calorie/diet mixers with our spirits.
- Making wine Spritzers using mineral or soda water and our favourite wine.
- Substitute pre-prepared "alcoholic soft-drinks" with a shot of our favourite spirit and a low calorie mixer.
- Making allowances for alcohol in our daily diets (kilojoule/calorie quota) - without skipping meals to compensate, which is not a good idea.
- Remembering that moderation is the key.
Tip 2. Ask for sporty presents for Christmas.
If our partner, family and friends don't know what to buy us for Christmas, perhaps we should suggest that we would like something sporty or that involves physical activity of some kind.
For example, why not hint that we would love to receive:
- A new pair of walking or jogging shoes.
- Some new workout wear, like t-shirts, shorts, or a new tracksuit.
- A new bicycle or tennis racquet.
- Some exercise videos or a Swiss Ball.
- A six month gym membership or membership to the local golf club.
- A dozen sessions with a personal trainer.
- Some rollerblades.
- A set of dumbells for working out at home.
Tip 3. Allowing ourselves some indulgence days.
Christmas and holidays are meant to be enjoyed; a happy time to spend with close friends and family.
Part of that enjoyment comes from eating and drinking our favourite foods and drinks and it would be a real shame to deny ourselves some of these simple pleasures.
Having said that, balance is the key to really enjoying the festive season and this includes balancing out our meals each day and balancing our 'good' and 'bad' days each week.
Having one indulgent day per week is usually OK, even if we are trying to lose weight.
So if we think that the whole of December is the most dangerous time for us, we can allocate 4 days within that month where we can let our 'hair down' a little and enjoy the good stuff.
If we were to allocate, for example, Christmas day and New Years Eve as two of those days, we still have two others to allocate to enjoying an office party or get-together with friends and we'll still be right on track.
Tip 4. Playing with children and their new toys.
Christmas and the holidays are an exciting time for children.
Why not tap into their natural enthusiasm at this time of year by getting really involved with them.
Just as we can ask for presents that are 'activity based', so too can we get others, especially children, presents that encourage physical play.
For example we can take our children, our nephews and nieces, or our friends and neighbours kids to the park on Christmas day to:
- Fly a kite.
- Play cricket, soccer, baseball or football.
- Throw a Frisbee around.
- Ride our bikes.
- Or just play on the swings and roundabouts.
Why not take the dog as well, they love being around us and are sure to
get into the spirit of any activity we chose to do to have fun.
Tip 5. Don't let our exercise routine slip.
The end of year holiday season may be a time of catching up with old friends and family mixed with a little overindulgence, but it shouldn't be a time when we have to give up completely on our regular exercise routine.
Sure, we'll all be very busy during December shopping for presents, cards and festive foods, making plans for BBQ's, Christmas lunch and dinner and New Years Eve, and catching up with people during the week and on weekends, but these things needn't interfere with our healthy habits, like exercising.
If we exercise in the mornings, there aren't any good excuses not to continue to do so before the rigours of these hectic days begin (other than a hangover and lack of sleep from partying the night before!).
If we like exercising throughout the day or in the evenings, and there are now some festive activities competing for the same timeslot, perhaps we can make allowances for this by changing when we exercise and perhaps how we exercise - like exercising in the mornings and increasing the intensity so we can burn the same amount of energy during a shorter workout - just until all the festivities are over.
Tip 6. Planning active get aways.
If we are lucky enough to be in a position to take a break from work by getting away with family and friends during December, and we don't want to come back heavier, we can try planning an active holiday where we can:
- Walk a lot when we get to our destination by exploring our new surroundings on foot instead of in a car.
- Do activities we don't usually do, like swimming in a hotel swimming pool or body surfing at the beach.
- Visit a gym with reciprocal arrangements with our fitness club or pay for a casual workout (about $15).
- Hire a bike and explore the surrounding neighbourhoods.
- Take our runners with us and jog or walk around the local running tracks or botanical gardens.
For more weight loss travel tips see our article on weight
loss and travel.
Tip 7. Catching up with as many friends as possible at once.
Catching up with friends for dinner or lunch and a few drinks is one of the most enjoyable aspects of the holiday season.
The problem is, the more friends we have, the more individual catch ups we need to do and the more potential overindulgence opportunities we need to successfully negotiate.
To help minimize the impact of this problem, we can try to catch up with as many people as possible at once, so that instead of having five or ten get-togethers throughout December, maybe we can get away with two or three.
If you'd like to try this here are a couple of great ideas:
- Send out email invitations for catch-ups with friends which are quick and easy.
- Invite friends who live in the same area to an all-in-one get-together, even if they don't know each other.
- Invite friends over to your place instead of meeting them out at a pub or restaurant.
- Send any leftover goodies home with guests so you won't be tempted to eat them until they're all gone.
Tip 8. Don't be unrealistic.
Being unrealistic about our weight loss goals during the silly season is one of the biggest mistakes we can make.
Setting lofty goals and then failing to achieve them will only inhibit us from moving forward next year because it can cause us to get depressed and possibly give up our weight loss efforts altogether.
If we are realistic and expect to put on a few kilos over December and we do, that's fine, we'll be a bit more disciplined and work a bit harder in the coming months.
Tip 9. Don't let holiday treats become unhealthy habits.
Letting ourselves go a little during December is one thing, developing unhealthy new habits or reinforcing unhealthy old habits is entirely another.
Remember, if we are indulging in December, it will be on special treats, not everyday staple treats.
To help us prevent treats becoming staples during the holidays, we should try to:
- End each meal feeling comfortable and perhaps still a little hungry rather than bursting and having to loosen our belt or change into clothes with an elastic waist.
- Eat smaller portions of a larger variety of foods.
- Make the bulk of our eating healthy foods like turkey and vegetables, rather than on cakes, biscuits, chocolates, ice-cream and the like.
- Recycle or give-away any chocolates or sweets we receive as presents.
- Don't over-purchase things like potato chips, biscuits, chocolate, lollies, puddings and ice-cream which you'll still be eating in February.
Tip 10. Drink plenty of water and keep a close eye
on portion sizes.
Allowing ourselves to taste whatever we want in smaller portions so we don't feel deprived is a great idea during this time of the year; so is drinking plenty of water to keep us feeling fuller and properly hydrated.
Here are few specific tips to help us all in this regard:
- Don't just eat to please others - eat only what and how much you want, not as an obligation to others for cooking our favourite foods.
- It's not always a good idea to skip meals prior to a dinner out or a holiday feast. Being overly hungry before a meal can cause us to eat a lot more than we normally would once we do sit down at the table.
- Try not to pick at foods before or after a meal. The things we're all likely to pick at are those things that will add the greatest amount to our waistlines. Try to eat only at the dinner table.
- As always, chew food slowly and enjoy it. Try putting your fork down and talking to others between bites.
- Stop eating as soon as you begin to feel physically full.
- Manage emotional eating. Christmas can be a time of high emotions, including stress, anxiety, unhappiness, joy and optimism, all of which can have strong associations with food. If you think or know you are likely to feel strong emotions during this period and you have a habit of turning to food in order to help you cope, have an action plan prepared.
- Before eating any meal or going out for a couple of drinks or to a party, simply drink a glass or two of cool, refreshing water.
I know the title of this article is the "top ten silly season weight loss tips", but this bonus tip is probably the most important of all.
Whatever happens to our weight during December remember this: Putting on a kilo or two during the silly season isn't the end of the world. We just need to get back on track as soon as possible after December is over without being to judgmental and hard on ourselves. The really important part is to never give up on our goals and stick to the course as best we can for the long-term.
Christmas, or the "silly season" as it is affectionately called, is a particularly perilous time for those of us who want to lose weight.
In this article we provided our top eleven weight loss tips for the holiday season so that many of us can maintain our weight loss momentum, maintain our weight in an acceptable zone for the holiday period, or at least minimize the 'weight gain damage' so that come January 1st, we'll have a few less kilos of weight loss attached to our New Year's resolution.
Good luck with your weight loss over the holiday season and thanks for visiting weightloss.com.au.
© Copyright Ultimate Weightloss.
This article was written by Scott Haywood.
Scott is the editor of weightloss.com.au. Scott has developed an expertise in fitness and nutrition, and their roles in weight loss, which led him to launch weightloss.com.au in 2005. Today, weightloss.com.au provides weight loss and fitness information, including hundreds of healthy recipes, weight loss tools and tips, articles, and more, to millions of people around the world, helping them to lead happier, healthier, lives.
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