I might have just had the healthiest December ever!
The lack of Christmas parties and social engagements has meant that I haven’t drank more than normal or eaten out every night of the week. Whilst I have missed all the fun social interaction massively, I can’t deny I feel better for it; I am not hung over, sleep deprived or running on junk food!
It got me thinking about those few days over Christmas where we tend to sit about for days eating and drinking. The British Medical Journal found we typically consume 6000 calories on Christmas day alone and have an average weight gain over the period of 2kg. No wonder two thirds of the nation embark on a diet every January!
5 reasons why we overindulge
1 – We are seduced by all the Christmas food that’s available in December that we don’t get any other time of year. Take Quality Street for an example. Almost every household has a tin, would you choose them any other time of the year?
2 – We eat mindlessly. Surrounded by food and chocolate. It’s so easy to just keep popping the chocolates in your mouth while you are watching a Christmas movie. Ever reached into the box for one more only to discover you’ve ‘accidentally’ eaten the lot?
3 – Because of point one we have a scarcity mentality, i.e. ‘I must eat as much as I can as it won’t be around for long’.
4 – We resign ourselves to the idea that we are going to eat and drink too much and its ok because we will diet in January, and therefore if we are coming off the wagon we may as well do it in style!
5 – We sit more and are much less active than we would normally be.
So, if you are like me and would like to enjoy Christmas without feeling like you will pay for it in January, here are my tips…
1 – Don’t go crazy food shopping. Do you really need that box of biscuits/sweets? Most people will get gifted some sort of confectionary so you will probably find you have plenty.
2 – Buy yourself a little of something you love. I am not really a fan of milk chocolate and therefore can leave the Roses and the Heroes. However, I do love white chocolate. So, I will make sure I have a small bar of my favourite and really enjoy it.
3 – Fill your Christmas dinner plate with veggies first, leaving less room for some of the more calorie dense foods and carbs.
4 – Try not to have sweets and snacks lying around in bowls to prevent the mindless eating. If you have to go to the kitchen to find the crisps you might not bother and if you do, give yourself a sensible portion rather than taking the whole bag (you can always go back for more).
5– Stay hydrated. Normally I have a water bottle with me everywhere I go and drink about 3ltrs a day. However, it’s easy for that to be replaced with alcohol and tea! We often confuse thirst for hunger. Try and have a glass of water before you eat something.
6 – Get out for a walk after a big meal. Not only will this help to burn some of those excess calories but will also improve digestion and help prevent heartburn that so often occurs at Christmas.