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We've spoken to the experts to find out how the more strong-willed among us can fight that dreaded (but inevitable) holiday bulge...
Here are 11 expert tips that could actually work…
‘If you find your alcohol consumption really increases in the run-up to Christmas, aim to have at least two alcohol-free days
a week,’ says nutritionist Dr Sarah Schenker
, author of The Fast Diet Recipe Book
. ‘You can also apply this rule to other seasonal treats, including mince pies and chocolates.’
14 other ways you can prep your body for the party season…
2. ‘Try doing a “fast” day either side of Christmas Day and Boxing Day,’ says Dr Sarah Schenker. ‘This will help to offset your excess calorie intake over the festive period.’
3. ‘Make sure that you eat something satisfying before any Christmas parties you attend,’ says Dr Sarah Schenker. ‘This will stop you from overdoing it with the canapés and gorging yourself on fast food afterwards. Try a light meal that is high in protein to curb hunger without making you feel full. Houmous on oatcakes, or a few pieces of sushi are great options.’
4. ‘Forget the old adage that breakfast is the most important meal of the day during the Christmas break,’ says Dr Sarah Schenker. ‘Don’t feel that you have to start your day with a big bowl of cereal, especially if you know that you’ll be eating a lunch that’s bigger than usual. Try a high-protein yoghurt or a boiled egg instead. These will sustain you but will allow you to really tuck in later (within reason)!’
5. ‘Don’t keep tempting holiday treats like boxes of chocolate on display,’ says Belvita Breakfast‘s consulting nutritionist Fiona Hunter. ‘Hide them away so that you’re less likely to be tempted.’
6. ‘Treat the buffet table at Christmas parties with caution,’ says Fiona Hunter. ‘Studies have shown that the greater the choice of food on offer, the more calories you’re likely to consume. Limit yourself to 3 or 4 different choices and go for the crudités and other healthy nibbles first before you start on the high-fat crisps, dips and sausage rolls.’
7. ‘Try removing the icing and marzipan from your slice of Christmas cake,’ says Fiona Hunter. ‘This will save around 60 calories. It may not seem a lot, but every little helps!’
‘Think “damage limitation”
and try to limit overindulgence to Christmas day itself,’ says Boots
nutritionist Vicky Pennington
9. ‘Turkey breast is actually a really low fat meat, but try to resist the temptation to eat the fatty skin or smother it in creamy bread sauce,’ says Vicky Pennington.
10. ‘When making the gravy for your Christmas meal, be sure to skim the fat off the top of the meat juices,’ says Vicky Pennington. ‘It’s the little extras like this that soon add up to weight gain.’
11. ‘If you’re hosting a Christmas event at home, avoid putting the nibbles out until after your guests arrive,’ says Vicky Pennington. ‘That way, you’ll be too busy talking to start grazing.’