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HJ Health’s Christmas Survival Guide!!!

On average individuals gain 5lbs over Christmas!

But rather than denying yourself all those festive treats, just follow this guide to avoid all the calorie pitfall

How not to overeat at a party

There’s little you can do about the food on offer at someone else’s do.

However, there’s plenty you can do to stop it turning into a calorie-fest.

If there’s going to be a buffet, have something small to eat before you go. Try a cup of vegetable soup an hour before you leave, or have a small snack like a slice of toast or a bagel. It is really important that you don’t arrive at the buffet table feeling really hungry.

When you get there, fill up half your plate with low-calorie foods such as chopped carrots, cucumbers, celery, grapes and cherry tomatoes. Then have a palm-sized portion of lean protein, such as chicken drumsticks (with the skin removed), ham or prawns.”

If there are sandwiches go for brown or granary bread, with fillings such as tuna and cucumber, chicken, or egg mayo, these are surprisingly low in calories.

Avoid sausage rolls, quiche, garlic bread and spring rolls. Also, avoid anything you can pick at, such as peanuts and buffet high calorie side dishes like mayo, potato salad, Thousand Island dressing and cheese.

Useful tips for a big meal

On Christmas Day, on average we eat 7,000 calories, this sounds incredible and makes me wonder where those calories come from.

Make sure you have a healthy, filling breakfast. If you don’t by midday you’ll be hungry and surrounded by tins of Quality Street and boxes of shortbread – not a good combination!

Instead, start the day with eggs, cereal, toast, fruit juice etc… a healthy start to a hazardous day.

Keep drinking water throughout the day – try to have at least two litres. If you don’t drink enough fluids, your body will mistake your dehydration for hunger and you’re likely to pick at all the fattening food on offer. It’s especially important to be well hydrated before your main meal, so drink a large glass of water before you sit down to eat. It’s the best way to stop you eating more than you want or need.

Christmas lunch can be very healthy; after all, it consists mainly of lean turkey and vegetables.However, it’s the extras that add up to big calorie totals.

Among the worst offenders are

  • Mini sausages -60 calories each, you can double that if they are wrapped in bacon
  • Yorkshire puddings – up to 100 calories for an individual one
  • Stuffing – 231 calories per serving
  • Roast potatoes 150 calories per serving of three small ones

You don’t have to say no, just have smaller portions.

Fill your plate first with low-fat Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots parsnips and skinless turkey, leaving less room on your plate for the treats.

How to avoid overeating on snacks

So you’ve survived your party buffet, then the main meal, and now what?

You’re faced with a mountain of mince pies, tasty leftovers, tins of chocolates and selection boxes to tempt you. Post-dinner Christmas grazing is often the biggest downfall for dieters

The main offenders are:

  • A mince pie alone can contain 240 calories, so it’s easy to eat close to 1,000 calories without even having another meal.
  • Cream on your pudding is 450 calories. Just have a tablespoon, which only has 135 calories.
  • The average chocolate bar contains 220 calories (a packet of Rolos contains 247 and a Crunchie contains 200), so eat just six or seven chocolates, which is roughly the same as a chocolate bar.

Once you’ve picked your seven chocolates, leave the tin alone.

Leave all the empty wrappers where you can see them, so you can see how many you’ve eaten

Turkey is a great food to snack on, as it’s almost impossible to binge on lean protein – studies show it fills you up more quickly than carbs and “switches off” your hunger.

And finally

Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without mulled wine or Bucks Fizz but alcohol is one of the main reasons we gain weight over the festive season.

Don’t forget the calories in alcohol.

Often we’ll say no to the chocolate or an extra slice of cake but happily pour ourselves another glass of wine when it contains more calories than the cake or the chocolate.

You don’t have to be tee-total over Christmas but try a few clever tricks to cut calories and reduce your hangover, too.

Drinking a glass of water between every alcoholic drink really helps reduce your hangover and calorie intake.

  • Lager – 280 cals per a pint
  • Cider -180 cals per pint
  • Baileys -180 calories and 8g fat per small glass
  • Champagne is much better – 111 calories, 0g fat per 200ml glass
  • Tia Maria – 131 calories
  • Mulled wine – 245 calories per glass (that’s more than a whole bar of Cadbury’s Fruit & Nut!) you’re best off just sticking to the one glass.


Five festive calorie swaps

Just a few switches from your usual festive feast will save you hundreds of calories and a few notches on your belt…

  1. On Christmas Eve: Swap a gin and tonic – 93 calories for a gin and slimline tonic – 53 calories.


  1. After dinner: Swap a serving of Christmas pudding with custard and brandy butter -587 calories for a serving of Christmas pudding on its own -330 calories


  1. Swap a mince pie – 240 calories for a slice of chocolate log – 185 calories.


  1. At the cheeseboard: Swap a 30g wedge of Stilton – 120 calories for a 30g wedge of Camembert 85 calories


  1. Swap a handful of peanuts – 180 calories for a handful of olives – 68 calories.


Most important tips

  • List the days you are out or entertaining – don’t let the days in between become excuses to slide into the slippery slope.


  • Remember how far you have come, don’t have regrets in January and set yourself back a few weeks or worse.


  • Enjoy yourself and feel better about the whole season with a few good walks, some wild dancing and getting out the Wii for a few games of tennis or 10 pin bowling.

If you would like help, support and motivation to lose weight on a one-to-one basis, please give me a call for an informal chat about my weight management program. I would love to help you reach your weight loss goals. 

For more information please visit my website page https://hjtherapies.co.uk/therapies/weight-management/


Have a wonderful Christmas and Happy New Year