‘We're likely to eat a shocking 6000 calories on Christmas Day, as well as an extra 500 calories a day on the run up to the holiday, which starts earlier and earlier each year. By the time we reach New Years Eve, we could be wearing an extra 5lbs around the tummy! It then takes weeks to lose that extra weight, starting during the most depressing month of the year.’
Local Author, Nutritionist and Blogger, Suzi Grant, of Alternative Ageing, www.alternativeageing.net shares her top tips for avoiding putting on those extra pounds over the holiday, whilst still enjoying Christmas, so you don’t have to start the year feeling miserable on a diet or detox.
“Why put yourself through torture during the coldest, darkest, most miserable month of the year?Juicing green vegetables in January fills even me with dread, far better to save the detox for Spring when you are feeling healthier and happier."
1. Start the day right
Start each morning with a drink of hot water and lemon to wake up your digestion. You will get a large dose of Vitamin C to protect your immunity and it will help your system stay more alkaline before the acidic onslaught of the day's treats - which equals less bloating.
2. Fill up on protein
Have a protein and nutrient-packed breakfast of smoked salmon, scrambled eggs or omelette and avocado or greens with (of course) the obligatory Buck's Fizz or two. Fewer calories than a fry up or sugar-loaded snacks and you will be lining your stomach ready for the day.
3. Be alcohol savvy
Choose low alcohol wines. The lower the alcohol, the fewer the calories. A small glass of wine that has a 10-11 per cent alcohol content could be saving you 59 calories compared to a wine in the 13-15 per cent range. Prosecco has a lower alcohol content than champagne, but far more sugar. (The Co-op has a very decent champagne at £18.99)
4. Don't forget to drink water
The more alcohol you drink, the more you will pile on the calories and the more you will want to eat, so try alternating one glass of wine with one glass of water (or some non-alcoholic cocktails). It will help you avoid that big afternoon slump and the banging headache, and will reduce calories at the same time.
5. Change the way you snack
Swap salty peanuts, which encourage you to drink more, for unsalted fresh nuts. Twiglets are less calorific than crisps.
Swap sweets for satsumas, your health (and waistline) will thank you for it. Eat 70 per cent cocoa dark chocolate rather than milk chocolate. Olives are healthier and less fattening than snacks such as devils-on-horseback. Take the icing off your portion of Christmas cake for fewer calories. And just eat the bottom half of a mince pie or sandwich for even more savings.
When it comes to the big Christmas lunch, think meat and nine veg instead of meat and three veg. Take the skin off the turkey, have a couple of roast potatoes instead of a pile. Fill up with the good stuff instead of the starchy carbs and you will be saving a heap of calories.
7. Eat slowly
Eat slowly and chew each mouthful really well to eat less and feel fuller earlier. Wait half an hour till eating more. It takes your stomach that long to send a signal to your
brain that it has had enough.
8. Avoid hard cheeses
Cheese is very tempting and moreish, especially with red wine. Full fat hard cheese really piles on the pounds and is not great for the heart. But soft cheeses (such as Boursin) are lower in calories as well as cheese made from goat, buffalo or sheep's milk.
9. Walk it off
However, do not deny yourself. Your mantra for Christmas should be 'a little of what you fancy does you good.' If all else fails get out and walk, even if it's only 30 minutes of brisk walking, you will burn calories. Join the NHS challenge to start the 10k steps a day challenge and any excess pounds will fall off quicker than any boring January diet. So, download an app or buy a pedometer to get those steps in, even if it’s just three ten minute walks a day, and have a wonderful and Happy Christmas.