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How to avoid Christmas weight gain

Christmas weight gain

We've got good news and we've got bad news... The bad news is we're likely to eat 3000 extra calories over the Christmas period, gain around 4lbs, and then take weeks to lose it again during the most depressing month of the year.

The good news, however, is that we asked blogger and nutritionist Suzi Grant, of Alternative Ageing to share her top tips for avoiding those sneaky pounds over the holiday...whilst still enjoying Christmas, of course!

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1. Start the day right

hot water with lemon

Start each morning with a drink of hot water and lemon to wake up your digestion. You'll get a large dose of Vitamin C to protect your immunity and it will help your system stay more alkaline before the acidic onslaught of the day's treats - which equals less bloating!


2. Fill up on protein

On Christmas day have a protein and nutrient-packed breakfast of smoked salmon, scrambled eggs or omelette and avocado or greens with (of course) the obligatory Buck's Fizz or two. Fewer calories than a fry up or sugar-loaded snacks and you'll be lining your stomach ready for the day.


3. Be alcohol savvy

Choose low alcohol wines. The lower the alcohol, the fewer the calories. A small glass of wine that has a 10-11% alcohol content could be saving you 59 calories compared to a wine in the 13%-15% range. Prosecco has a lower alcohol content than champagne, and it's cheaper!


4. Don't forget water

glass of water

The more you drink, the more you'll pile on the calories and the more you'll want to eat, so try alternating one glass of wine with one glass of water (or some non-alcoholic cocktails!) It will help you avoid that big afternoon slump, and the banging headache, and will reduce calories at the same time.


5. Change the way you snack

  • Swap salty peanuts, that encourage you to drink more, for unsalted fresh nuts.
  • Twiglets are less calorific than crisps.
  • Swap sweets for satsumas, your health (and waistline) will thank you for it!
  • Eat 70% cocoa dark chocolate rather than milk chocolate.
  • Olives are healthier and less fattening than snacks such as devils-on-horseback.
  • Take the icing off your portion of Christmas cake for fewer calories.
  • And just eat the bottom half of a mince pie or sandwich for even more savings!


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6. Be smart about Christmas dinner

red cabbage salad

When it comes to the big Christmas lunch, think meat and nine veg instead of meat and three veg. Take the skin off the turkey, have a couple of roast potatoes instead of a pile. Fill up with the good stuff instead of the starchy carbs and you'll be saving a heap of calories.


7. Eat slowly

Eat slowly and chew each mouthful really well. You'll eat less and feel fuller earlier. Wait half an hour till eating more. It takes your stomach that long to send a signal to your brain that it's had enough!


8. Avoid hard cheeses

cream cheese 

Cheese board alert! I find it very tempting and moreish, especially with red wine. Full fat hard cheese really piles on the pounds and isn't great for the heart, though soft cheeses (such as Boursin) are lower in calories as well as cheese made from goat, buffalo or sheep's milk.



9. Don't deny yourself

Your mantra for Christmas should be 'a little of what you fancy does you good.' Just think that less is more when it comes to Christmas foods like starchy carbs, fatty foods, sugary treats and alcoholic drinks and those pounds won't pile on. And if all else fails...


10. Get out and walk!

Walking at Christmas

Even if it's only 30 minutes of brisk walking, you'll burn calories. Join the NHS challenge to start the 10k steps a day challenge and any excess pounds will fall off quicker than any boring January diet.

So, ask Father Christmas for a pedometer to get you motivated for the New Year and have a wonderful Christmas! 

For more from Suzi, take a look at her blog Alternative Ageing.


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