We all want to enjoy Christmas, but no one likes ending up tired, sluggish and squidgy around the edges come January. I’ve put together this Christmas survival guide because though I may be a nutritionist, that doesn’t make me immune to overindulgence and Christmas weight gain.
For me, the key to not gaining several pounds over Christmas is organisation. I start thinking about my Christmas food shop early to make sure I remember to order all of the treats that I want to enjoy but don’t have a lot of excess food. This helps avoid major overindulgence as well as helping prevent food waste. Booking your food delivery in advance also means you avoid last-minute supermarket stress.
Indulge in healthy luxuries
Luxuries don’t necessarily have to be unhealthy. Consider whether there are healthy foods that you really enjoy. A seafood platter with crab, lobster, crayfish and scallops with homemade lemon mayonnaise and fresh dill is a favourite in our house.
Make sugar swaps
It’s easy to end up eating a lot of sugar at this time of year. I make healthier versions of classic Christmas favourites, such as mulled wine sweetened with xyliol instead of sugar. It’s easy to use xylitol as a substitute for sugar in recipes like cranberry sauce too – no one will notice the difference!
Don’t buy too early
Shops often stock Christmas foods months before the festive season. It can be tempting to take advantage of offers but ask yourself – if you buy it now, will it last until Christmas? Or are you likely to get tempted and tuck in before? I know I don’t have the willpower to resist so I have my shopping delivered just a few days before Christmas.
Another thing I do over Christmas is maintain my exercise regime. I have to workout first thing in the morning, otherwise, I’ll get cosy and not want to leave the house but the bonus is, you can guarantee the gym will be empty! I also enjoy some long walks in the countryside with family. Keeping active helps you avoid that groggy, sluggish feeling come January.
Break it down
One piece of advice I give my clients is to see Christmas as a series of events, not a month of gorging. Admittedly there might be a few more celebrations than your average month, but where many people run into trouble is through daily excess. Enjoy yourself when it’s time to celebrate and in between those times, aim to maintain your usual healthy lifestyle as much as possible.
Get Your Z’s
When you haven’t slept enough, levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin are increased and levels of satiety hormone leptin are decreased – not a helpful combination for keeping your appetite in check! Christmas parties can keep you up late but make time for a lie in, or take a nap, to help avoid overeating due to tiredness.
Have a plan for Jan
However good we try to be over Christmas, the temptation is everywhere and we are only human. It’s a good idea to have a plan for getting back on track in January. Set a date for when the celebrations end and things return to normal.
Don’t be tempted by faddy detoxes or crash diets that are likely to make you feel terrible and provide no long-term benefit. If you feel as though you could benefit from a plan to get you back on track opt for a sensible, science-backed approach. I’m planning to do the five-day fasting mimicking diet ProLon which acts as a reset to help optimise your health as well as refocusing your mind on healthy living again.
For further advice visit Nutritionist Kim Pearson
If you found A nutritionists Christmas survival guide helpful, you’ll find more healthy eating tips on our Nutrition channel.Last modified: December 13, 2021