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'Tis the season to take care of your belly

Updated: Dec 15, 2021

We know just how easy it is at Christmas to over indulge, there's temptation round every corner and hospitality is at an all time high. A mince pie here, a glass of mulled wine there, a tin of Rose's to permanently graze from, eating Christmas dinner and all the trimmings with cold turkey sandwiches a few hours later. Familiar?

We ALL do it, me included and I'm not here to spoil anyone's fun or to make any one feel guilty. It's a time to let ourselves go a bit, enjoy our time off, be sociable and celebrate good times (Q Kool and the gang)...come on! It's just sometimes we actually don't feel too great for it, our bodies can suffer with bloating, lethargy, sore stomachs and as a result we start to move less. We are out of the usual routine, there's less structure to our days and it's very easy for it to snowball out of control.

So much so that on average, Westerners can gain up to 1 pound (nearly half a kg) from mid November to mid January which may not sound much, but the majority of people who put on weight are unlikely to lose it. Meaning the holiday period can actually be a key contributor to overall annual weight gain.

That said it's not an inevitable part of the Christmas holidays, there are plenty of ways to combat weight gain and to keep our eating and drinking habits in check so we can start the New Year rested, refreshed and not fighting the scales or our mindset. Here are a few pointers:

Remain active - make it social, catch up with friends by going for a walk, get all the family out for some fresh air or try out those new trainers you got for Christmas. Just keep moving and don't get into the habit of spending too much time watching TV sedentary on the sofa.

Portion size - eat what's on offer just reduce your portion sizes and chew your food mindfully. The slower and more mindfully you eat, the less likely you are to overeat, get indigestion or reach for second helpings before your brain and stomach have registered that you're full.

Drinks - go for low calorie mixers with your spirits or better still soda water, intersperse alcoholic drinks with glasses of water, drink slowly, avoid the extra sugary drinks on offer at cafe's and stick to regular teas/coffees, avoid marshmallows and whipped cream on your hot chocolates and keep hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day.

Pudding - are you full? If so, delay pudding and save it for later by which time you may find you've gone off the idea altogether.

Snacking - the one place you can control is your home environment (there's nothing you can do about boxes of chocolates in the office or being offered delicious snacks at a party). So at home, put sweets/chocolate/biscuits out of sight, even better put them in a place that's hard to reach. It's amazing how well it works, if they're not in front of you it can be very much out of sight out of mind.

Be aware - often we overeat unconsciously, we aren't even thinking about it. We pay no attention to what we are eating and drinking which is why much of our eating and drinking habits are automatic and therefore habitual. Just bring awareness to your day, notice if you're reaching for a snack or a calorie laden drink, ask yourself do you really need it. Just pause and be aware of how your body is feeling, is it hunger, is it boredom or is it a habit.

Even if you try only one of the tips above, it's one better than you may have done! Enjoy your holidays how you wish and I am always here to help in the New Year should the wheels fall off.

For help to address weight management and eating for health, please contact me to book your FREE 15 minute consultation or visit

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