It's easy to gain two or three kilos over Christmas and New Year, and this is largely because we drop our guard, according to dietitian Julie Gilbert. With a bit of planning, you can breeze through the season without it registering on the bathroom scales. Look at your week and how many functions you have on, says Gilbert. If you have invitations to three or four Christmas parties or dinners, then go ahead and enjoy them, but build in a buffer. “There are 21 main meals in a week, which means you can eat really well and cut back on portions for the remaining 18 meals.”
On Christmas Day, sample the food, rather than stuff yourself silly, and deal quickly with any leftovers. People often get through Christmas unscathed, but come undone when faced with the cake in the fridge the next day, says Gilbert. “Send leftovers home with guests, or freeze food in small portions.”
Break with tradition
Why not spoil yourself with a champagne breakfast? “Each year, my family goes to a hotel,” says Gilbert. It’s great! There are no leftovers to pick on and it’s all over by 10:30am.”
The Christmas coronary
Is it time to cancel Christmas? It seems the holidays truly are a stressful time. When US researchers looked at cardiac deaths over a year, they found a third more in December and January than mid-year. The peak was put down to the emotional stress of the holidays and overindulgence across the Christmas season.