With Christmas just around the corner and the many eating (and drinking) occasions that accompany it, you have probably started to think about the few extra kilograms that generally come with this period. On average, Australians gain 0.8 – 1.5kg over Christmas time; and it’s not often easy to shift the excess weight once the New Year rolls around. So, what can you do to beat the Christmas bulge? Mid North Coast Physio’s Accredited Dietitian Katie Drury reveals her top tips to eat healthy while still enjoying the Christmas festivities.

 

Why is it important to remember nutrition over the festive season?

Research has shown that weight gain over the holidays usually occurs around the mid-section; and while a few kilograms may seem quite harmless and easily reversible, unfortunately the reality is this weight is not often lost. Carrying weight around your mid-section is associated with an increased risk of developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease, as well as increasing the load on your lower back which can cause or worsen existing back pain. Through implementing a few key strategies, you can decrease your risk of developing chronic lifestyle diseases and still enjoy the yummy foods that are available at this time of year.

 

What are some strategies that can be used to make Christmas eating healthier?

  1. Don’t skip breakfast: Instead, opt for a filling and healthy breakfast to start the day off on the right food, and avoid over-eating when it gets to lunch and dinner time. For example, eggs on wholegrain toast, a wholegrain cereal, such as Weetbix with low-fat milk or fruit and yoghurt.
  2. Stick to healthy plate portions: aim to have half your plate filled with non-starchy vegetables or salad vegetables (i.e. everything but potato, sweet potato and corn).
  3. Avoid Boxing Day over-eating by freezing leftovers on Christmas Day in individual portions that can be defrosted when required.
  4. Take time to appreciate the foods you are eating; put your fork down between bites and take notice of the flavour and texture of foods when you are eating.
  5. Drinking alcohol can add to the merriment of the festive season, but you don’t need to drink in excess to be the life of the party. Aim to have at least two alcohol free days per week, and try not to have more than 2 alcoholic drinks per day.
  6. Keep up your exercise over the holidays! Ask for a gym membership for Christmas- many local health clubs, like our friends at Coffs Coast Health Club, have 24-hour access even if they aren’t staffed over the festive period. Also, get outside on Christmas Day with the family for a game of backyard cricket or touch football between courses.

 

Who can benefit from seeking help from a Dietitian before and after the festive season?

 If you are someone who finds that you do so well with your weight loss goal throughout the year, then by the time it gets to the New Year you must start all over again as you’ve regained all or most of the weight you had lost. In this sort of case you often require more support and motivation to get you through the festive season, as well as education about healthier choices to make. In addition, through developing the skill of mindful eating and portion control, you will often find it much easier to continue your weight loss throughout the year.

 

If you would like to find out more about how a Dietitian can help you, call 1300 273747 to request a FREE pre-assessment appointment with Katie.  These appointments are strictly limited so call now to ensure you avoid the extra kilos in 2019.

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