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6 ways to survive Christmas indulgence

Christmas is notoriously the time to over indulge, but don’t let this be the green light to lose sight of your slim transformation. You can still enjoy all the festivities of the season and get through the Christmas period without too much impact on your health and waistline. Here are some ideas to help you on your way.

1. Keep on moving. We know that every Christmas special under the sun will be shown on the TV, but you do not need to plonk yourself on the sofa all day long. Encourage the whole family to go out for a walk at some point, ideally after dinner to aid digestion. The more activity, the better, so take along any new outdoor gifts like bikes, scooters, footballs or Frisbees or play old-fashioned games. Remember, you can always use ‘catch-up’ to watch your favourite TV programmes.

2. Set yourself a drinking limit goal. If you are firmly entombed at home over the festive period, those alcohol units can really mount up. Mulled wine on Christmas-Eve, Bucks Fizz with breakfast, wine with dinner, Baileys, brandy… the list goes on. So, do try to keep tabs on how much you are drinking and intersperse alcoholic drinks with soft ones (ideally sugar free) and drink up on the teas. As mentioned in the previous blog, set yourself a goal for how many drinks you will have and take your time when drinking them.

3. Slow down when eating. Recent research suggests that we consume around 3,000 calories in our Christmas dinner, more than the entire recommended daily intake for a grown man!

This huge feast not only contributes to weight gain but also to indigestion and heartburn (not to mention lethargy for the rest of the day, reducing the chances of you burning much of it off). Instead of gorging yourself on a Christmas dinner, eat a normal-sized meal and then take a 20-minute break to see if you are still hungry (it takes this long for the brain to register that the stomach is full). The chances are, you will realise you have had enough food.

4. Eat fruit. Let’s be honest, most of us get through the entire Christmas period by eating no more fruit than the satsuma in the Christmas stocking. It just does not really feature on the Christmas menu. But at this time of late nights, overindulging and partying, it’s more important than ever to get your vitamins and minerals, to help you stay in good health. Ensure that your Christmas shopping list enables you to fill up the fruit bowl and get your recommended daily portions of fruit and vegetables. (And no, mulled wine does not count as one portion!)

5. Think before you eat. Christmas is a time of plenty with: nuts, chocolates, mince pies and cheese straws. It would be rather Scrooge-like to suggest that you should not eat any treats over the festive period, but rather than mindlessly popping whatever is in front of you in your mouth, spend a moment thinking about whether you really want it, or are you just eating it because it is there. Taking a moment to think can make a huge difference to your calorie in-take.

6. Be a hygienic cook. If your Christmas duties include cooking the dinner, you will not be delighted to read that, according to the Food Standards Agency, December is one of the most common months for people to get food poisoning.

To minimise the risks, do not leave food out all day. Put out small amounts at a time, so that what is on the table has just been cooked or has just come out of the fridge. Ideally, try to use any leftovers within 48 hours or freeze them. As for the turkey, always defrost it in the fridge, allowing 10 to 12 hours per kilo and do not wash the bird, as this can spread bacteria around, which will be destroyed by cooking anyway.

With fewer food choices and quantities out, you will also be less inclined to snack and over indulge. This will help with the calorie intake and ensure good food hygiene.

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