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How to avoid temptation during Christmas

One common question we have received over the past few weeks is how to avoid undoing all your hard work during the festive period. The festive period is notoriously linked to overindulgence, food and lots of booze. It's the most sociable period of the year, with parties, gatherings, dinners and the big day itself!

Then there is Boxing Day, all the food gifted to us and then New Years. It is a lengthy period of temptation and the subconscious wanting to feel satisfied & fully satiated by all the goodies around us - cheese boards, mince pies, tubs of chocolates, nuts, crisps etc.

Many of you have contacted us asking for advice on how to avoid overindulging, so we thought we would compile a little guide to hopefully help you through the festive period. Some of these steps may work for some of you, some may find that they have their own routine to combat the festive cravings.

Either way, if you feel that you need a little extra support or advice from our team, then please do not hesitate to contact us by telephone or email. We would be more than happy to help. Likewise, the Facebook Support Group can be a great tool to get useful hints & tips from fellow slimmers.

Fill up with Protein, Vegetables & Fruit

Studies have shown that protein can fill us up for longer - it is one of the major classes of nutrients, alongside carbohydrates, fats, and others. Protein has also been shown to help decrease cravings and snacking due to the high level of satiety provided by protein.

Try to also keep up your intake of fruit, vegetables and salad over Christmas. Although salad is not usually associated with Christmas time, it is readily available all year round from most supermarkets.

Fruit & vegetables are easy to prepare for consumption and can be made very tasty with the right seasoning and cooking skills. Including some fruit and vegetables in your meals will help you to bulk up the plate with fewer calories. It’s fine to enjoy some of the bad festive foods we might not normally eat, but try to balance those foods with a healthy variety, including the nutritious plant-based foods the body needs.

Keep to THREE meals a day

We've always advised people to have 3 good meals a day to keep your body nourished and your energy levels sustained. Starving your body whilst using the medication can cause initial weight loss but that starvation will lead to the body craving foods it shouldn't be having once you stop the medication.

Over the Christmas period, it is important to stick to a good food regime, such as three balanced, healthy meals a day. This helps to keep your blood sugar levels constant. This means you’ll have energy for longer and won’t have to deal with those pesky crashes that can lead you to seek out sugary foods for a quick energy fix.

Make sure you're having a good breakfast too. As wholegrain toast is high in fibre, a non-digestible component that helps us feel full, it’s one of the perfect breakfast choice to see you through the morning. A high fibre breakfast means you’re less likely to be tempted to snack on a sugary pick-me-up before lunch, such as those chocolates that make their way around the office at this time of year! Meanwhile, almond butter is an excellent and delicious source of protein to help stave off hunger and keep you fuller for longer.

Buy Less

One of the most common things we all do when we shop is buy too much. It is common for us to bulk buy or grab multi-buy deals or promotional items which are thrown in our faces whenever we walk into a supermarket. The trick is to only buy what you need but that is easier said than done.

Prepare for your shopping trip by making a list of what you need. You'll need to think ahead for the week and plan what meals you want to have. That way, you then know what ingredients you will need and how much of each.

Avoid going to the supermarket if you haven't eaten yet or if you are feeling hungry. Studies show that we tend to buy more of the bad things we don't actually need when we shop on an empty stomach.

Try to be quick in the supermarket. Get in, get what you need and get out. It can be hard to have those blinkers on and to focus on what's on your list, but the less time in the supermarket means less time for temptation to grab you. And with Christmas here, there is so much variety of naughty but oh so tasty foods, that the blinkers will most definitely need to be on!

Avoid the TV Grazing

For many people, TV is an integral part of Christmas fun and relaxation with Christmas specials, the return of old favourites and so many Christmas movies to choose from! Sitting in front of the TV can be a huge trigger for overeating. When we're engrossed in what we are watching, it is so easy to pick and graze on snacks next to us. Whether it's a bowl of crisps, nuts, chocolates, sweets, cheese etc, we just pick it up and eat it subconsciously, without realise how many times we are putting our hand to our mouth.

Watching TV is a habit for many, especially in the evenings when energy levels are lower and we just want to relax after a hard day. Studies have shown that being more active in the evenings, much to our exacerbation, can help us avoid the munchies and the subconscious graze. Things such as playing a game, doing a project (puzzles, knitting, model building, batch cooking, reading etc), having a conversation with someone, or even removing any snacks present that you keep munching on to another room can really help avoid the grazing.

Whilst watching TV, try putting a smaller amount of food in a dish to eat whilst you’re watching TV, close the packet, put it away and then just eat what’s in the dish and don’t go back for more. Make it a point to engage others in conversation during adverts or after TV shows. You’ll then be distracted from the food

Don’t set unrealistic goals

The more we promise ourselves that we will never have indulgent snacks like mince pies or twiglets through the whole of the festive season, your brain will be so focused on those foods because it is almost like a taboo item it instinctively craves more. It will be the one thing you absolutely want and it will then become a matter of time depending on how strong your will power is before you will fall by the wayside and grab those indulgent treats.

The best method of coping with these urges is to realise that there is nothing wrong with having a little Christmas indulgence every now and then, but of course if you are eating lots every day you are going to run into trouble! Set realistic goals, like having one treat every few days, rather than restricting yourself completely or to once a week.

Also do not cut out a whole food group to uphold your weight loss e.g. carbs. We all love a good carb over the festive period, so have them in moderation rather than not at all. Completely restricting them will only make you crave them more.

Likewise with telling yourself "it's okay, I'll re-start the diet in January" - beware that by completely negating the hard work you have accomplished throughout the festive period will only make it so much more harder to get back on track in January. It is so easy to fall out of the good routine & habits but, as we are all aware, it is so much harder to get back into them!

As for the alcohol side of things? Just remember that, whilst alcohol does not directly interact with the medication, it can cause more of a strain on your body, heighten any side effects you may be experiencing, and alcohol contains lots of empty calories - meaning the calories you get from it are of no real benefit to your body's needs.

Avoid the Treats at Work

This can be a very tough one - if you work in an office or an environment where clients/customers bring you Christmas goodies, it can be so difficult to say no to the inviting tub of Quality Street or the semi-ravaged box of Celebrations. One client has even told us of a Pizza Day in the office on Christmas Eve!!

To get in good standing for resisting such temptation, make sure you're having your wholesome 3 meals a day, drinking plenty of fluids (as sometimes our cravings come out when our body is actually thirsty!) and have some healthy snacks to hand.

Eat before you go out

Before heading out, it’s can really help to have a quick but filling snack to prepare you for the night ahead. Something like a slow burning carb will do the trick. A slice of wholegrain toast with some peanut butter is a great source of slow release energy and will help you avoid energy slumps throughout the evening. Including a filling snack like a wholemeal, slow-burning carb as part of your ‘get ready’ routine means you can still enjoy a few treats on your night out but if you’re not hungry, you'll be less likely to overindulge on too many Christmas nibbles, whilst still having the fuel you need to hit the dance floor (or make it to midnight to see in Christmas day!).

Eating Out

This can be the biggie for a lot of us! When we go out, it's so easy to go for the high calorie options, more so if there is a cheeky 3 courses on offer at a discounted rate. Unfortunately, a lot of the time, menus in places do not always offer healthy options, and sometimes the "healthy" option isn't always as healthy as it seems. Avoid things that are creamy (these tend to be high in the bad fats) and avoid overly carby foods (think pastas, pizzas, risottos, rice dishes etc). Try to stick to proteins, vegetables and the healthier carb options if you are dining out.

Another useful tip is to drink a large glass of water before you order your food (if they take the drinks order first). Studies have shown that by drinking a large glass of water prior to a meal, you're less likely to be as hungry & eat as much. Some of our clients swear by sparkling water, as the carbonation gives them a sense of fullness.

Whilst these tips will not be for all of you, see if you're able to try at least 1 or 2 of the tips to see you through the festive period. It is the hardest time of the year, with temptation literally everywhere you turn.

Most importantly, please know that you are not alone with this over the Christmas / festive period. Many of you are going through this weight loss journey and we want to help you as much as possible to stay on the wagon. Inevitably, we will all have our little moments, but it's how we deal with those moments as a whole - during the moment and after the moment.

We will be here and we will be contactable throughout the Christmas and New Year period, so please feel free to message us anytime, any day if you feel that you need a little extra advice or support.

Have a fabulous Christmas and festive period!!

Much love,

The Slim Transformation Team

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