Did you know that on average, Australians gain 0.8 – 1.5kg over the festive season?
It might not sound like much, but researchers have identified that weight gained over the holiday period is rarely lost! Stay healthy this festive season with our Advent Tips.
Don’t go to parties hungry
The Festive Season is full of parties with an abundance of delicious food that is not always healthy. One way to avoid over-indulging is to make sure you don’t go to parties hungry. Try eating something light before a party to reduce your chances of snacking on high calorie party food.
Set realistic expectations
With numerous parties, events, lunches and dinners to attend, it’s important to be realistic. Don’t put extra pressure on yourself by trying to lose weight. Instead, focus on just maintaining your weight over the festive season.
Watch your portion sizes
With so much on offer during the holiday season, it’s easy to get excited and eat more than we normally do or should. Make sure you watch your portion sizes. Use an entrée size plate – that way you are sure to eat less.
Maintain your normal fitness routine
It’s easy to get carried away with the holiday season. Even if we are not taking holidays, we often adopt a holiday state of mind and let go of our exercise schedule. Try to stick to your normal fitness routine as much as possible, that way you will help to burn of any excess calories and you won’t have to start over in the New Year.
Drink more water!
At this time of the year, our alcohol and coffee intake often increases dramatically. Both of these are dehydrating, especially along with the warm weather. Make sure you drink at least eight glasses of water a day. This will stop you feeling tired, keep your body hydrated and help you feel less hungry. To help you start and finish your day with some hydration, keep a glass next to your toothbrush and drink a glass of water before you brush your teeth both morning and night. Just ensure you aren’t eating and drinking at the same time.
Don’t skip meals
Eat regularly and don’t skip meals, even if you have a party to attend. People who skip meals are more likely to overindulge when they arrive at a party and actually end up consuming more calories than if they just ate their regular meals.
Organise fun after-lunch activities
To help with digestion and start to burn of the excess calories, organise a simple, fun after-lunch activity such as backyard cricket or a visit to the beach. Your stomach and energy levels will thank you for it.
Continue to take your multivitamins
Just a reminder your BN multivitamins need to be taken twice daily – 1 in the morning and 1 at night. People who take their daily multivitamin/mineral supplements consistently have dramatic reductions in the risk of micronutrient deficiencies – particularly vitamin A, B12, D and iron.
Try to eat some fish-based meals
Fish is a good source of protein and contains many vitamins and minerals. Aim to eat at least two portions of fish a week including at least one portion of oily fish, such as salmon or sardines. Oily fish contains omega-3 fats that may help to prevent heart disease. Try a side of baked salmon as the centrepiece to Christmas lunch.
Avoid sugary food and drinks
Sugary foods and drinks, including alcoholic drinks, are often high in calories and can cause “dumping syndrome” as well as contribute to weight gain and tooth decay. Swap drinks with added sugar for ice cold water with fresh lemon/lime and ice. Or if you really feel like something sweet, splurge on the delicious stone fruit available at this time of year rather than candy canes and cakes.
Find alternatives to cocktails
Cocktails can pack on a calorie punch when prepared with high-calorie mixers such as juice, fizzy drinks (which all bariatric patients need to avoid) and sugar syrups.
Try this light Cosmo as an alternative: 1 shot citrus-flavoured vodka, 1 splash ice cold water, 1 splash cranberry juice, juice of 1-2 lime wedges. Shake well and strain into a chilled martini glass over crushed ice. Yum!
The lead up to Christmas is busy and when you end up eating on the run, it’s easy to eat too quickly. Stop to eat and eat slowly to let your fullness signal register. It takes up to 20 minutes for the body to register fullness. Put your knife and fork down in between each mouthful to help you slow down. Remember, even 1 mouthful too much can cause strong pain and discomfort.
Sneak your fruit and veg into a breakfast smoothie
It is recommended that we eat at least 5 portions of different types of fruit and veg every day – which is easier than it sounds! Why not try starting your day with a smoothie!
In a blender or Nutrabullet add ½ cup of frozen mixed berries, ½ a frozen banana, a handful of baby spinach leaves, ¼ avocado, a scoop of protein powder, a serve of ‘Super greens or reds’ (Can buy in the health food isle of your supermarket. Nature’s Own do a Super greens + reds powder for only $20) and a good shake of cinnamon.
Cover in water and blend. You have just had two serves of fruit, 2 serves of veggies, protein, a healthy fat, plus the added bonus of some super greens and reds to start your day.
Switch to ordinary coffee
Fancy coffee drinks often pack several hundred calories, thanks to whipped cream, sugar and syrups. A cup of regular coffee has a small fraction of those calories. And when it’s brewed with good beans, it tastes just as great.
Focus on the foods you already know you like
When you have a big spread of food in front of you, focus just on what you already know you like. Humans love variety and at the Christmas feast, you may be tempted to sample every dish. Don’t do it! As you will know from past experience, there’s usually only a few things that you will really like. So don’t fill yourself up trying everything, just focus on eating the foods that you will really enjoy and save yourself the extra unwanted calories.
Make sure you take food with you that you can eat. If you can’t have alcohol (liquid and puree phase) then make yourself a healthy low cal Mocktail so that you don’t feel like you are missing out. Don’t go out on an empty stomach and pace yourself, there’s no rush, you can enjoy the leftovers for the next few days so don’t try to fit in all your favourite foods in one day.