How to Avoid Weight Gain at Christmas
The silly season is well and truly here. Christmas parties are in full swing and the weekend barbeques are sizzling up. But what should be a fun and joyous time for everyone can sadly be stressful and overwhelming, particularly for those managing their weight?
By following a few simple measures, you can absolutely enjoy yourself over the festive break without undoing all your hard work. In December and January, preparation is vital. If you can master the art of enjoying your Christmas celebrations without completely falling off the wagon, you’ll be laughing your way into the new year.
Whether you’ve just had a baby or the milk bar’s been open for a while, the festive season is not a time for drastic measures. Setting a goal of losing a certain number of kg’s over Christmas will only stress you out and rob you of your festive spirit.
Instead, enjoy this special time of year with your little one. But have an achievable goal in mind, such as to break even. You don’t need to lose weight, but why not aim not to put on weight. This way, come January and New Year’s resolutions, you’ll be a lot closer to achieving your end goal.
Here are our top five tips on how to enjoy the silly season without tipping the scales.
1. Plan ahead
As we said, if you want to come out of the festive season on top, preparation is critical. We know it’s a busy time of year, but there are plenty of easy ways you can get organised.
Hour of power
Every Sunday, spend one hour in the kitchen preparing for the week. This could involve chopping up vegetables for a couple of dinners, preparing your smoothie ingredients in individual freezer bags, doing a big batch cook up for the freezer or making chia puddings and overnights to make the mornings easier.
Click and collect your shopping
Over the festive season, dealing with crowds at the supermarket will turn anyone into the Grinch. So why not order from home? You can do your shopping while watching Love Actually, while also avoiding the heavily displayed mince pies and half-price boxes of favourites.
Stock the freezer
In the lead up to Christmas take time to cook in bulk batches and stock your freezer with some healthy and nutritious meals. It can be hard to get our daily veggies in when out and about over the festive season. So stocking the freezer with veggie-packed meals like curries, soups, or frittatas is a great way to ensure we’re getting something nutritious even on the days when strapped for time.
2. Take something healthy
Just because you’re going to a Christmas function, it doesn’t mean you have to take something unhealthy. There are so many healthy meals that are delicious too. And we bet your friends will be pleasantly surprised with a nutritious option on the table.
A bright coloured mango salad or some fresh prawns with a homemade sauce are sure to compete with the roast potatoes and Christmas pudding. But remember, it doesn’t mean you can’t indulge in some of the unhealthier foods too. It’s all about balance and making good decisions at each meal.
Here are some easy ways to keep the calories down:
- Avoid any bought sauces or salad dressings (they’re usually packed with sugar)
- Skip the bread
- Steer clear of soft drinks
- Limit yourself to one dessert or have a small portion of each one
3. Keep exercising
Sticking to an exercise regime during the festive season is one of the best things you can do for your body and mind. Going for a walk in the morning or when you can is a great way to break up the day. Without a healthy routine, the Christmas parties just start to roll into one, and it can all become a big festive blur.
We are far more likely to stick to healthier eating options when we exercise. So planning your exercise is a great way to keep your health goals top of your mind. For example, if you have a walk scheduled in the morning, you’ll be much less likely to have that extra glass of wine or piece of pavlova.
4. Be healthy during the week
The weekend festivities are inevitable. But sticking to healthy habits during the week means you have more calories to play with over the weekend. The way weight loss works is based on a calorie deficit. To lose weight, you must burn more energy than you consume. So, if you reduce your daily calories by 100 per day during the week, it means you have 500 calories up your sleeve on the weekend if you want to maintain your weight.
A great way to keep your calories down while ensuring you’re still getting all the essential vitamins and minerals is through a breastfeeding specific health shake like In Shape Mummy. In Shape Mummy provides organic vegan protein, along with probiotics, 25 vitamins and minerals plus galactagogues (herbs that support milk production). It’s the perfect antidote to your festive feasts.
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Knowing that you’ll have your nutritious shake each morning allows you to be a little more carefree at the celebrations. Especially when you add vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and your favourite smoothie.
5. Don’t drink your calories
Drinking soft drinks and sugary alcoholic beverages is a sure-fire way to throw out anyone’s daily calories. For example, one can of Coke contains 39g of sugar, that’s nine teaspoons of sugar. And, an average glass of white wine contains around 84 calories. So if you’re having a couple of drinks at a party, you can see how the calories add up quickly.
We’re not saying you can’t enjoy some drinks over the festive season with family and friends, but being aware of high-calorie and low-calorie drinks is helpful. Just remember, if you’re breastfeeding, you must wait two hours to feed after one standard drink.
Vodka soda with fresh lemon or lime is nice and refreshing and has low calories. Alternatively, you could opt for a light beer, red wine, or a margarita if you’re feeling particularly festive!
December is a time for having fun and letting your hair down. If you can make it through to the New Year at the same weight you were at the beginning of December, that’s a huge win. The key take-home is to enjoy your celebrations and family time but don't treat the whole month as a write-off. Instead, make healthy choices when you can and treat yourself when the time is right.
Join the In Shape Mummy Breastfeeding Support Group, and meet other like-minded mums and get health tips, recipes, and inspiration.
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