The average person consumes 6000 kcal on Christmas Day and puts on 5 lb in weight over Christmas.
I don’t know if this is accurate (who records how much they eat on Christmas Day?) but I know the average person consumes a lot, me included.
My Christmas dinner starts with smoked salmon blinis and includes a turkey dinner, Christmas pudding, black forest gateaux, plus lots of champagne. In the evening there is always a bit of room for turkey sandwiches, followed by Christmas cake and Christmas chocolates and probably a few more drinks.
Generally over the Christmas break we eat more than we would normally. There are lots of tempting snacks around and the drinks cabinet is usually full. This is of course part of celebrating Christmas. It is a celebratory feast after all!
To someone who is wanting to lose weight this time of year can be worrying, because you know you are likely to put on weight, and this makes you feel bad about yourself.
You may not be able to avoid putting on weight, but you can avoid feeling bad about yourself by following these five festive tips:
Christmas doesn’t last forever
If the thought of putting on weight over Christmas sends you into a panic one thing that can help is to remind yourself of the bigger picture.
Everyone puts on weight over Christmas, but remember it is only for a short period.
When you adjust to your normal eating, the weight will naturally come off.
Enjoy what you eat!
This may sound obvious, but Christmas is a time when you can slow down your usual pace of activity, take time to eat, and really enjoy some delicious meals and snacks.
We spend so much time rushing around the rest of the year and may not take time to fully appreciate or enjoy our meals.
Now you have a little more time to eat and to listen to your body.
With practice this can become a natural control over what you eat and form the basis of good eating habits.
You can read more about this in my post on mindful eating here.
Avoid the scales
Don’t be tempted to weigh yourself over Christmas. Give yourself a break from the scales.
Salty foods and alcohol can affect weight dramatically and temporarily. It is best to weigh yourself no more than once a week, preferably at the same time each week, e.g. Sunday morning.
Perhaps the biggest source of extra calories at this time is snacks.
Chocolates, canapés, nuts, crisps, biscuits, cheese and biscuits, mince pies etc. Everywhere you look it seems there is something inviting to eat.
It is no surprise that we put more food in our mouths, simply because it is there.
This is part of Christmas and I wouldn’t suggest avoiding the treats and snacks, but I would encourage you to still have meals and keep your snacking to one or two times a day, instead of eating snacks all through the day.
Also tell yourself there is plenty of time to eat all this food. Chocolate has a long shelf life so you can spread the eating out throughout January!
Feeling that you have to eat everything before the end of 31st December is an example of black and white thinking that may not be the best way to help you lose weight.
So allow yourself a more flexible approach to healthy eating and allow yourself some ‘bad’ foods in January (meaning you don’t have to eat them all in December!)
You can read more about this approach to dieting in a blog I wrote about this here.
Keep eating the healthy foods
If you are eating more snacks and treats these foods can push the healthy foods such as fruit and vegetables out of your diet.
It is important to still keep the basics of healthy eating up during this time such as: eating your fruit and vegetables, ensuring you have some fibre in your diet, e.g. wholemeal bread, drinking plenty of water, eating three recognisable meals a day, and getting some exercise (Boxing Day walk?).
One practice I like to follow is to start the day with a mug of hot water and slice of lemon and have some fruit on my cereal.
These together will help you to resist snacks, keep you healthy (to fight infections), and help keep your blood sugar regular.
I wish you all a very Happy Christmas!
This blog was first published in December 2015 and updated in December 2016.